4 Keys to Successful Branding | Simplemachine Designs
A brand is no longer considered what companies tell a consumer it is. Instead, a brand is what consumers communicate with each other. Companies can no longer create a branding concept and blindly implement it without considering several external factors including beliefs, competitors’ efforts, customers’ associations and emotions. Developing a successful brand is a major undertaking that includes a variety of tasks and elements that must be completed in order to click with consumers.
Although there is no magic recipe that will turn your business into a brand, following these four key points can help with successful branding.
#1 Key – Brand Positioning
To be successful, a brand must be clearly positioned within the consumer’s mind. Positioning can occur with product attributes, benefits or beliefs, and values. The easiest is through product attributes such as focusing on a large engine or fancy colors on a car brand. Unfortunately, attributes are the least desirable level of the three positioning options because competitors can copy them and customers are not really interested in attributes, only benefits.
A better positioning option is to focus on the benefit of the product or brand. For instance, a car brand should highlight the technical product attributes less and promote the benefits to the consumer: fuel efficiency, lifestyle choice, fast transportation, etc.
The most successful brands surpass attributes and benefits and focus on beliefs and values to target an emotional level. Brands like Mini and Aston Martin do not focus on tangible attribute but on the excitement surrounding the brand, thus making them “cool.”
Brand positioning is the foundation of the three other decisions. Therefore, the process should also include creating a brand mission statement and vision of the brand’s purpose. The promise of the brand to the consumer must be easy and honest to build credibility and authority on the subject. Consumers do not want to feel like they are being ripped off.
#2 Key – Brand Name Selection
The most obvious key to successful branding is the brand name and this is a difficult task. The process begins with reviewing the benefits of the product, proposed marketing strategy and the target demographic. The brand name must align with these three details so that it appeals to the consumer. Brand naming is part instinct, part science, and part art; all of which improve with experience.
Luckily, there are a few guidelines to help with brand naming including:
• Alignment with the product’s benefits and qualities
• Easy to remember
• Distinctive so that it differentiates from other brands
• Extendable so it can expand into other product categories
• Translatable into foreign languages
• Legal protection and capable of registration to protect the company
Although these guidelines have held fast over the years, preferences change constantly. The decade of quirky names like Google and Yahoo! is over. The modern style is creating brand names that have meaning, making it difficult to create new names. In addition to selecting a brand name, it must be protected and identified with a specific product category like Kleenex, Q-Tip or Jeep. Companies must be careful because once a trademarked name becomes part of the regular language (genericization), it will no longer be protected.
#3 Key – Brand Sponsorship
Branding decisions transcend deciding on just brand positioning and name as brand sponsorship is also critical. There are four brand sponsorship options available:
- Manufacturer’s Brand. A manufacturer’s brand is a product or collection produced by the company and sold under the company name. For instance, The Estee Lauder Companies selling Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair or Estee Lauder Nutritious Radiant Energy Night Mask.
- Private Brand. Another option is the manufacturer could sell to resellers under their own name. This is commonly referred to as a store brand, which becomes more popular during recent economic difficulties. Store brands are found at grocery stores across the world and target the less brand-conscious consumer.
- Licensed Brand. A licensed brand licenses names, symbols, celebrity figures or characters to sell the product. For example, children’s products seller uses licensed character names from Star Wars, Disney and Hello Kitty on clothing, toys, and other products.
- Co-Brand. The final sponsorship option is for two companies to join forces and create a co-branded product. Essentially, the two companies are utilizing their established brand names on the same product or set. This provides many advantages including, appealing to a broader consumer base and practically doubling brand equity.
#4 Key – Brand Development
The final element in successful branding is development. For brands that are developing, a company has four options:
- Brand Extensions. A brand extension utilizes an existing name but combines it with a new category. The existing brand name gives the product fast recognition and acceptance by the consumer and saves your company on the advertising costs behind creating a new brand. Of course, you run the risk of confusing the consumer since the image of the main brand is still being used. The other challenge is if the extension fails, the consumer attitude toward other products with the same brand name could be harmed.
- Line Extensions. Line extensions are extending an existing brand name into different colors, sizes, forms, flavors or ingredients. This is a cost-effective method of introducing new products into the lineup. However, line extensions could cause consumer confusion and the brand name could be overextended thus losing its meaning.
- Multi-Brands. Within larger organizations, multi-brands are common and involve marketing a variety of brands within a specific category. The Estee Lauder Companies market several fragrance brands to establish specific formulas and features that appeal to a vast consumer segment. This allows the company to capture a larger market share.
- New Brands. In many instances, new brands are required when the appeal of existing brands fades. In this instance, a new brand name is required along with advertising, packaging and any other feature that differentiates from the competition and other brands within the company portfolio.
These four branding decisions are related in order to create a powerful brand. Positioning, naming, sponsorship, and development must be in line with one another for the entire strategy to click. For more information on building your brand, contact Simplemachine today!