What is a brand?
Brand is a value that can be converted into the additional profit for a company. How does it happen?
During communication with a target audience a company tells positional customers about the product or service – at meetings, in advertising materials and in media. Confirmed by visual content these stories form a mindset in people consciousness.
Step by step the brand springs through each new contact between a company and its business partners and clients.
Brand is an association that appears in the mind of your target audience when they hear the brand name or see its logo. And your sales depend strictly on the strength, lasting impression and positivity of these associations.
Why does this picture evoke lasting associations with feast, birthday, gifts and sweet cakes?
Most of us have tried cakes and can say with complete certainty that cakes are sweet. Also we know about the tradition to light candles on the birthday cake and to give. Therefore it is clear that our associations are based on a logically sound basis.
The battle for people’s mind
For a successful birth of a brand we recommend starting with positioning – answering the question “what kind of associations should appear in the minds of target audience when contacting our product / service?”
Positioning is effective if it’s based on a basis of a deep understanding the psychology of a given target audience: who they are, what are their demands and motivation, how they use products or services (from the search up to utilization).
“Personally I am very fond of strawberries and cream, but I have found that for some strange reason, fish prefer worms. So when I went fishing, I didn’t think about what I wanted. I thought about what they wanted.” Dale Carnegie
Also we should remember about the modern features of perception, for example increasingly widespread use of mosaic thinking. Thus, your communications should be easily perceived by people who think mosaically.
There are good reasons why Natural Science Comic library is a bestseller now –this kind of information is much easier to understand for modern schoolchildren than multipage text.
Therefore branding is an important basic element of strategic marketing. Within a company’s’ understanding of the concept of products and services, a key competitive advantage is using positioning that is fixed and as the base and as the filter for producing all advertising materials.
If the positioning is so effective, why doesn’t it work as a magic wand?
Although we perceive any given event immediately, and what is more, the object is evaluated on both conscious and subconscious levels, however a lasting impression is formed gradually, step by step. You need to act many times to earn trust, but unfortunately just one faux pas will be enough to lose everything. That’s why we should be very attentive to verbal, graphic and video messages directed at your current and potential clients.
Crafting positioning and its delivery to the target audience are always fruitful, but the results are usually only seen after a while. A brand owner needs some time to build strong associations in the mind of a target audience. The result is guaranteed, but we need to be patient. The most common mistake is to change the positioning before the result becomes apparent.
Without an agreement within a company concerning the meaning of “our brand is…” representatives of the target audience will receive inconsistent information. Even if all this information is positive, it will represent mixed data.
A simple experiment one can to try is to: ask managers in your company to think of one sentence “our brand is…” remembering to mention benefits and compare the results. You’ll get different answers. If the ideology of the company or brand is fixed, the answers will be similar.
Otherwise after this test you’ll discover that different team members communicate opposing values and positions, that will lead to a questionable perception of communications by target audiences and their efforts and results will come to naught.
Contradictory messages neutralize each other by the same principle as oppositely directed force vectors in physics. To make it worse activities such as these destroy the trust of target audiences in any further communications «they don’t know what they are talking about”.
Consistency and clear ideological basis, those are provided due to branding and positioning, are the key to marketing communications success.