A great brand should be seen as the ultimate goal of marketing, as once a recognisable and well-respected brand image has been established, it will deliver extra value and increased sales for many years. Of course, the products and services associated with the brand have to be top-notch, but a strong brand can give a company a definite edge over its competitors. There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to creating a fantastic brand image, but there are 5 guiding principles that form the basis of most marketing strategies.
Identify the Customer
A company should define itself, and its products, by the markets it supplies. Who is going to be the potential customer? It is essential that a brand message is targeted to a specific demographic, or – in some cases – a group of demographics. If a company doesn’t know who will buy its products, how can it be expected to create a message that will resonate?
Identify the Benefits
Too many companies concentrate on marketing a list of features. A far more effective strategy involves concentrating on the benefits to the customer. Most customers will already know why they are buying a particular product; they will not necessarily know why a particular brand should be chosen over others that perform the same function. Once the benefits have been ascertained, the message needs to be communicated.
Create a Visual Identity
Companies have very different approaches to the visual branding of their products and services. Some leading toilet cleaner brands have used uniquely designed containers to distinguish their products from competitors. The famous golden arches of McDonald’s tell customers that the world’s most famous burgers are on sale. The red and white of Marlboro cigarettes almost make the product recognisable without the need for any wording. Packaging design plays a large role in the successful branding of consumer goods, and it is something that must be perfect right from the start of a branding campaign.
Stay on Message
Consistency is one of branding’s most powerful tools. People like to know exactly what to expect from a brand and sudden changes in emphasis and message can spook consumers. With the target customer in mind, the voice of the brand must never waiver from the core message.
Some of the most successful marketing campaigns have attempted to form very personal relationships with the public. In the UK, the Fairy washing-up liquid commercials of the 1960s attempted to talk directly to housewives. The Bisto adverts of the late 20th century went a step further, as they introduced a whole family which the British public could relate to. Social media is the modern forum for developing relationships, as it puts companies in direct contact with their customers. It allows the development of products to be guided by the very people who buy them. Listening and responding to customers in this way will ensure that the brand remains focussed on its target audience.
Of course, branding campaigns will differ greatly between different industries, but these basic principles will form the basis of most successful branding strategies. However, modern-day branding is an exceptionally complex process, and companies will often benefit from investing in the services of an experienced branding agency.
Davison Williams is an award-winning creative branding agency based in London. We provide Innovative Online Digital Solutions, POS & Packaging for food, drink, lifestyle and leisure-related companies. For more information about branding, please visit: http://www.davisonwilliams.com/