BRANDING ABC – ANSWERS FOR ALL YOUR QUESTIONS
When people start a new business, they try to provide the best plan by putting the work and effort into it. One of the biggest things that takes time into starting a business is branding. However, not every business has a good plan or a strong brand, but a well branded business is always a good business.
In our world, everyone can realise brands and what they are doing in this world. For example, a grey apple with little removed part is known as the company that produces phones and computers. Another example is the yellow “M” in a red background that represents one of the biggest chains of restaurants in the world. Recognizing these companies by anyone is coming up along with the application of the branding into their process. The branding process can sometimes be included while doing a business plan, sometimes it’s totally okay to start planning for a brand later. Since it’s taking a lot of resources, especially time and money, most of the small businesses are creating a brand afterwards. But, maybe, a good understanding of the branding can save a lot of resources and make it even more efficient.
There might be a misunderstanding of the term of branding because it’s not just a way to know big companies through logos and marketing, and it’s not a way for companies to promote themselves. The branding actually goes far beyond that. Branding is what builds trust and safety between the customer and the business owner. Furthermore, it’s a way to represent companies’ values, missions, and visions.
A good understanding of branding is one of the factors of what determines if business is going to stay longer or shorter. And the reverse can backfire on the plans of the business. That’s why it’s good to answer such important questions like “what really is branding?” To get the basics of the term by itself. Then comes the understanding of the reason to answer the question of “Why”. After covering the base area comes the technical matters, and it answer the question of the “How”, how the branding is done?
WHAT IS BRAND? HOW ABOUT BRANDING?
“Building a brand is a lot like building a house” starts Chiaravalle and Schenck in their book Branding for dummies (2007, 4). Also, Lindeback (2019,1) has named the whole book with the same sentence and Cockburn (2015) has written the whole LinkedIn post with the same title. Even though the actual process might look very different, the same principals exist in both building processes: everything begins with a dream, the dream follows a plan and a role dividing. In both processes, the foundation matters – it has to be strong and well built. (Chiaravalle & Schenck, 2007, 4; Lindeback, 2019, 6-7)
Brand can be built for the company, product, service or even a person and it can be built for the fresh new action or rebuild it for an already running idea. Brand is a build promise, image, idea, or vision the consumers believe in. The promise is based on what you or the company stands for and what makes you unique. It is something which creates the emotions, reason to trust, consume or buy as well as a message, you communicate forward. At the end, it is about building a relationship between the company, person, product or service and the consumer. (Chiaravalle & Schenck, 2007, 10–11.)
Brand appears in many ways. You can see it – as logos, colours and visual images for example in the social media or the stands in the shopping mall. Many times, the brand is attached to the elements you can see, because it is seen in the concrete as well as it is a powerful way to create images. That’s how branding is seen, it is just the tip of the iceberg and the seen part of it. But in fact, the logo and visual identity are the face of the brand. (Chiaravalle & Schenck, 2007, 11.)
If the logo and visual identity are the face of the brand, there is much behind it. The brand is a combination of the values, mission, vision, and the things it is standing for. Branding is the promise that the person, who buys, consumers or users get from it. It is actually not the product, service, or thing you are selling or saying, it is the idea of believing. (Chiaravalle & Schenck, 2007, 7-11)
In the business world, branding plays a big role. From the perspective of consumers, they are staying more loyal which makes them buy it more often. Loyalty is only one positive impact of it since good branding increases the feeling of its benefits. And the third positive effect is its marketing itself by consumers. (Chiaravalle & Schenck, 2007, 11-13) From the perspective of retailers it can help them to trust the selling by buying more in since they know that the brand will be sold. It is not only knowing that the service or products will be sold, but also the marketing and attraction of their own business might increase also because of a well-known brand. (Chiaravalle & Schenck, 2007,12)
Well branded brands help, maybe the most, the owner itself. Brand helps increase the company value while investors get to know the company better, retailers trust the selling and consumers are marketing it itself. It also helps to find good employees since the applicants also base their knowledge of the company to the brand. It also helps to sell new products and launch brave offers as well as stand out from the mass. (Chiaravalle & Schenck, 2007, 11-13)
WHY BRANDING IS IMPORTANT?
Branding is critical to a business because of its overall impact on its company. Branding can change the way people perceive a brand, guide new business, and add brand value, but it can also backfire if done wrong or not done at all. And one thing to be clear about is that reputation is built whether a company does something about it or not. The results can be good or bad. (Dandu, 2015)
Understanding and using branding means taking the initiative and trying to control how that reputation looks like in the marketplace. That`s why it`s a good idea to consider branding from the very beginning of any business. Contrary to popular belief, branding isn’t just an expensive marketing tactic used only by big brands. Conversely, branding has a lot to do with common sense and is highly dependent on the main market and the level wanted it to be. Because branding involves a consistent combination of different competencies and activities. Furthermore, costs can vary widely from case to case. A high level of consultants and full implementation will, of course, cost the business more than anything below this level. Likewise, the branding of an international multidisciplinary business can be much more complex and resource issues more important than, for example, a local business. There is no one size that fits all approaches. (Dandu, 2015)
Branding is important when building the business of the future, and a well-established brand can add value to the business by giving you more influence in your industry. This makes it a more attractive investment opportunity due to its strong market position.
When there is a strong brand in the market, consumers begin to trust the brand, begin to see that the brand has a strong reputation and influence, the brand begins to have value, and becomes an asset when the brand has value. And assets with monetary value, and companies these days are looking to buy or invest in other companies with strong brand values. (Jones, 2021)
The result of the branding process is the brand, which includes the reputation and values associated with the brand. A strong reputation means a strong brand, which translates into value. This value can mean influence, premium, or part of the mind. A brand is a business asset with monetary value and should appear separately on the business balance sheet as it adds to the overall value of the company. This is a controversial topic and a difficult task for many companies but giving a brand financial weight is just as important as the brand itself. This is called “brand valuation”. (Jones, 2021)
Once a brand is firmly established, word of mouth is the most effective and best way to promote the company. A good brand has no problems with referral business. Strong branding usually means that consumers have a positive impression of the company and are likely to do business with the firm because of their familiarity and perceived credibility of using a reputable name. (Jones, 2021)
A positive reputation puts potential new customers into contact with a brand they already have a positive connection with, making them more likely to buy from that brand than their competitors. Thinking of human reputation, it takes precedence over brand reputation. Once a certain brand awareness is established in the market, an uncontrolled distribution chain begins. Word of mouth conveys awareness and further enhances or damages a brand’s reputation. (Jones, 2021)
Employees with good brand associations will maintain that recognition among the customers and partners with which they interact. It can also lead to better leadership, more engagement, and better products and services.
Working for a brand that is reputable and highly respected by the public makes working for that company more enjoyable and rewarding. When employees work for a company with a strong brand and truly represent the brand, they are more satisfied with their job and feel prouder of their work. (Jones 2021)
Branding is about finding the right way to gain and maintain a certain level of trust between a company and its stakeholders. This is done by making realistic, achievable promises that position your brand in the marketplace in a specific way, and then delivering on those promises. Simply put, keeping our promises builds trust in the hearts of our stakeholders. In a congested market, trust is especially important because it can differentiate between intent (thinking of buying) and action (actually buying). (Jones 2021)
The more you trust your brand and the better you recognize it, the stronger the brand’s reputation, and the brand itself. Therefore, A brand’s reputation depends on the level of trust customers can have in it. (Chiaravalle & Schenck, 2007)
The essential part of the company is branded regardless of how big or smaller companies. Branding will provide more ideas, uniqueness, and views of the world. Company growth depends on the brand. Not only that, the impact of customer patterns and their behavior has also been affected. The brand is one of the valuable assets of the company. Therefore, one cannot and should not seize the opportunity when presenting a brand to the world. (Chiaravalle & Schenck, 2007)
BUT HOW? THE PROCESS STEP BY STEP
The branding process requires a lot of work as well as planned tactics. According to Chiaravalle & Schenck (2007, 30) the process can be divided into eight steps which are: decide what to brand, do your research, position your product or service, write your brand definition, develop your name, logo and tagline, launch your brand, manage, leverage and project your brand, realign your brand. (Chiaravalle & Schenck, 2007, 30)
1) The first step in the branding process is to decide to do the branding and define what to brand. Is it a service, product, company, person itself or just a name? As well as choose the tactic? (Chiaravalle & Schenck, 2007, 30) Brand architecture is the term for the relationship between the business and the brand. The main idea of it is to wrap up the main principles and elements in the same packet, which is easy to handle and understand. And it includes three main tactics of the branding and most of the brands choose one of these tactics. The types are called parent-dominant brands, parent-endorsed brands and parent-silent brands. (Chiaravalle & Schenck, 2007, 30-32)
Parent-dominant brand is the case where the whole branding follows the rules of strong brand identity of the roof organization. That strategy fits well if the company has limited marketing resources and budget or if all the products or services are able to stand for the same values and brand image. Parent-dominant is a long-term tactic which builds the profit and brand for the whole business, not for the single item. (Chiaravalle & Schenck, 2007, 31)
Parent-endorsed brands mean the tactic where the product or service has a strong roof brand in the back, but they hit the markets with their own brand identity. The brand is in the product itself, but the company’s brand is giving strong support in the back and increases the plausibility of the brand. This type fits well if the business has budget and department resources to build multiple brands as well as mid- or long-term brand building process where the visibility and power is made both, to the individual products as well as the whole company. Strength of parent endorsed brands is the product or service targeting more personal ways to the consumers and desired audience. (Chiaravalle & Schenck, 2007, 31-32)
The third tactic is called parent-silent brands where the product or service is owned by the roof company but using their own and separately built brand. This tactic is the most expensive as well as the most laborious since it requires the work to build the whole brand itself and there is no power of the bigger brand in the back. Focus is in the item, product or service. (Chiaravalle & Schenck, 2007, 32)
2) The second step in the branding is to do market research. The first stage is to find out, analyse and observe what is happening in the markets including the target group, competitors and the area overall. The second stage is to get to know the product or service you have by focusing on what makes it unique, how it works and what are the needs or problems or the consumer’s it solves. (Chiaravalle & Schenck, 2007, 33)
3) Step three is to position the product or service to the markets. Positioning requires developing and analyzing what makes your product or service different from the others from the perspective of the customer. To find the position in the markets, you have to find out the answers to four questions. What are the needs of the customers which your service or product will answer? What is the difference between you and the others in the markets? What makes you unique? And how to make sure that the consumer chooses you? (Chiaravalle & Schenck, 2007, 33)
4) The fourth step is to define your brand. It is a statement of what the brand offers, why you offer and what the benefits of it. Definition is an important part of the branding because it is the seen cover and the promise of your brand. The inside of the brand consists of the culture, values, mission, vision, leadership, management, and the things the brand stands for. The outside of the brand is the name, visual identity, slogan, marketing, advertising, employees, and customers. (Chiaravalle & Schenck, 2007, 34)
5) The fifth step of branding is to develop the face of the brand – the name, logo and tagline. The name is the most visible element of your brand, and it encapsulates the brand in it. The logo represents the same elements as the name, and it is also the most visible part of the brand. It is a visualized version of the mission, vision, and values of the brand. By the tagline or the slogan, the main message of the brand can be said. The combination of these three elements creates an important part of the face cover or the brand. (Chiaravalle & Schenck, 2007, 35)
6) Step number six – launch your brand. Launching is shared in two actions: internal launch and external launch. In the internal launch the brand introducing is for employees and the owners of the brand. The presentation or the launch should answer the questions: how this will help our business and where the money has gone and how it brings to us? Internal launch is also for major customers and the business partners, so the inside group of the company. Where the internal launch means to present the brand for the inside group of the company, the external means that the brand of the product or the service will be presented for everybody and in the public. (Chiaravalle & Schenck, 2007, 36)
7) Step number seven is brand management. In the management phase, you take care of the brand and make sure that it has followed the strategy, and everything is realized in the brand as wanted. The same values, tune, message, image must follow everywhere the brand is as well as the quality of the brand should stay stable to make the brand credible. The brand management has to be consistent, and it has to be started from the beginning of the branding process. (Chiaravalle & Schenck, 2007, 36-37)
8) The last step is to keep the brand updated. Realign of the brand is needed because of the changing time, trends and cultural aspects or the changes of the fashion, design, and style. The brand has to look not only as the brand of yours based on the values and mission but also easily understand the customers and nowadays consumers. So, it has to be up to date for the time and the surrounding world we are living in. Another perspective to update is the tone or values of the brand. If the mission and the message of the brand changes, the brand has to change with it. (Chiaravalle & Schenck, 2007, 37-38)
Branding is about finding the right way to gain and maintain a certain level of trust between a company and its stakeholders. Therefore, a brand’s reputation depends on the level of trust customers can have in it. Brands can be built for companies, products, services, and even people, for new behaviours, or for ideas that have already been launched. Ultimately, it is to build relationships between businesses, people, products or services and consumers.
Loyalty is only one positive impact of it since good branding increases the feeling of its benefits. From the perspective of retailers, it can help them to trust the selling by buying more in since they know that the brand will be sold. It is not only knowing that the service or products will be sold, but also the marketing and attraction of their own business might increase also because of a well-known brand. Brand helps increase the company value while investors get to know the company better, retailers trust the selling and consumers are marketing it itself.
In fact, the logo and visual identity are the face of the brand. If the logo and visual identity are the face of the brand, there is much behind it. The brand is a combination of the values, mission, vision, and the things it is standing for. When there is a strong brand in the market, consumers begin to trust the brand, begin to see that the brand has a strong reputation and influence, the brand begins to have value, and becomes an asset when the brand has value.
Additionally, A strong reputation means a strong brand, which translates into value. A brand is a business asset with monetary value and should appear separately on the business balance sheet as it adds to the overall value of the company. Also, once a brand is firmly established, word of mouth is the most effective and best way to promote the company. Word of mouth conveys awareness and further enhances or damages a brand’s reputation.
From an employee’s point of view, working for a brand that is reputable and highly respected by the public makes working for that company more enjoyable and rewarding. Finally, Company growth depends on the brand. The brand is one of the valuable assets of the company.
Chiaravalle, Bill., Schenck, Barbara Findlay. 2007. Branding for Dummies. Wiley Publishing. Indiana.
Cockburn, John. 2015. Building a Brand is Like Building a Home. LinkedIn. Read 14.4.2022. Link: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/building-home-like-brand-john-cockburn/
Lindeback, Roger. 2019. San Jose State University. Course CA9471. Read 14.4.2022. Link:https://www.free-ebooks.net/advertising/Building-a-Brand-is-Like-Building-a-House/pdf?dl&preview
Kristopher Jones. 2021. The Importance of Branding In Business. Forbes. Read 15.04.2022. Link: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2021/03/24/the-importance-of-branding-in-business/?sh=6bfbb6f067f7
Redu Dandu. 2015. What Is Branding and Why Is It Important for Your Business?. Brandingmag. Read 15.04.2022. Link: https://www.brandingmag.com/2015/10/14/what-is-branding-and-why-is-it-important-for-your-business/
Written with Vilma Pekkala and Tommy Karvinen.