7 Elements Of A Brand
What Is A Brand?
A brand in itself is very complex. There are many aspects that go into creating a brand, both the tangible and intangible.
The word “brand” is a very common word used today. Some associate it with a tangible product, while others associate it with something intangible, like a logo. Essentially, a brand is a combination of elements that differentiates your products and services from your competitors.
“Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.”
Seth Godin, CEO of Amazon
Having an effective branding strategy is vital to establishing a brand with a positive reputation. The brand becomes the face of your company, representing your products and services. It evokes a sense of credibility and gives your consumers a reason to buy your products.
So What Makes A Brand?
As straightforward as it sounds, a brand identity is how people identify the brand. When they see the brand, they can immediately recognize it and associate it with the relevant products and services.
A brand identity can take many forms, such as the brand logo, brand name, slogan, etc. These visual cues trigger a reaction in people. It may be an experience, an emotion, or a perception. A powerful brand identity will allow someone to know about your brand without having to have a direct experience with it.
Take a look at McDonald’s.
Its iconic golden arches accompanied by its red lettering is easily recognized by many. The jingle “I’m lovin’ it!” and the logo are all part of a strategy that builds a strong brand identity for McDonald’s and are important elements of the McDonald’s brand.
The brand perception or image is how people perceive your brand in their minds. With perception comes a series of expectations.
How do you want people to perceive your brand?
The perception that people have of your brand needs to be in line with what you want them to see or think. Simply fulfilling their expectations is not enough, you need to exceed it. It is often difficult to change the brand image once the perception of your brand becomes set in stone.
Take a look at the Ferrari.
People perceive the Ferrari to be a luxury sports car manufacturer known for its exotic car models. Ferrari will not produce budget cars as that will dilute its brand image and existing customers will not take it too kindly. Once the perception of the brand is established, it becomes difficult to change.
Like humans, a brand needs to have a personality. A brand personality is a set of emotional and human characteristics connected to the brand. It is an important element of a brand as it can help to bring the brand to life. People connect and relate to emotions, not just the physical product itself. Being human allows brands to forge strong relationships with their customers.
By establishing a personality for your brand, it shapes the way people feel about the brand and how they interact with it. When a brand’s personality is in line with that of a consumer, the consumer is more likely to become a loyal customer and that is something that companies should try to aim for.
For instance, Victoria’s Secret encompasses a seducer personality. It is known for its bold lingerie and seductive advertising.
Victoria’s Secret has a brand personality that is associated with beauty, sensuality and intimacy, building a connection with like-minded consumers.
Positioning is the way the brand is positioned or placed in the market. A distinct brand positioning clearly identifies which segment of the market the brand is targeting. It is an important element of a brand that needs to be solidified early.
Having a clear positioning statement sets the brand apart from its competitors and communicates its message to the target audience clearly. An effective brand positioning strategy will help to target your customers better and increase your competitiveness, maximizing your brand value and equity.
Coca-Cola is a very successful example when it comes to brand positioning. Coca-Cola positioned itself using values such as happiness, friendship, and fun. It differentiates itself from other brands of soft drinks, becoming the popular drink that we all come to know today.
Brand equity is the value that is derived from the perception and experience that people have of your brand. In order to have a positive brand equity, it is important to provide a positive experience and perception. In other words, people have to think highly of your brand.
Positive brand equity has the ability to increase the value of your brand, and this can generate more sales for the business, such as opening up opportunities for a product line extension.
For example, Coca-Cola has extended its product line from the regular Coca-Cola to multiple flavors such as the Cherry Cola and Coca-Cola Zero. The corporation wanted to introduce new flavors to its consumers and it has the ability to do so due to the positive brand equity associated with it.
The introduction of new products under the same brand name will receive better responses in the market and people will be more inclined to purchase it due to the positive perception associated with it. As such, building a strong brand equity is important for business in the long run.
What kind of experience do you want for your customers when they use your product or service?
A pleasant experience is definitely what companies should aim for.
A brand experience is the experience that your consumers go through when they use your product or service. A good brand experience will keep them coming back for more, while a poor one will not only drive them away, but create a negative reputation for the brand.
Creating a unique brand experience allows you to differentiate yourself from your competitors.
Look at Build-A-Bear Workshop. This is not an ordinary teddy bear seller. It allows buyers to customize their own teddy bear, building a soft toy that is unique and special to each individual. Such a unique brand experience brings customer engagement to the next level, creating an experience that is enjoyable and unforgettable.
7. Value Proposition
A value proposition is a promise of values to your customers. It tells your customers what you are offering, why they should be loyal to you, and how you are different from your competitors. It is a really critical element of your brand.
Having a strong value proposition helps to convince your potential customers on why your products or services are of higher value than similar products offered by your competitors. You may know how good your brand is, but your potential customers may not. The value proposition is a good way to communicate this value to them.
A good value proposition should:
- Be easy to understand
- Clearly communicates the benefits of your products/services
- Have a differentiating point between your brand and your competitors
- Portray how you can help your customers resolve their problems
In a saturated market with multiple brands competing against each other selling similar products, it is important to differentiate yourself from your competitors, and establish the elements of your brand. Having an effective branding strategy is the start to creating a brand with a positive reputation. Do take the 7 brand elements highlighted into consideration when mapping out your strategy.
As a consumer, you have many choices to choose from. More often than not, you tend to go with the brand that you are most familiar with or the one that you trust the most. Intuition and emotions play a part in decision making.
When a consumer perceives your brand in a way that corresponds with what you want them to think, you have succeeded in creating a brand that is effective. The factors mentioned above are all important variables that go into the making of a successful brand.
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