A Brand vs A Product
The definition of a brand is an answer many people would generally give to the question, “What is a product?” A large percentage of people are guilty of a lack of precise awareness of what a brand is or what distinguishes a brand from a product.
Simply put, a brand is what distinguishes a bottle of water made by company ‘A’ from thousands of other bottles of water from different companies. It is what you recognize and instantly relates to as “different” when you pick one blue jean amongst others. So what is branding in a more professional sense?
American Marketing Association defines a brand as a name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that identifies one seller’s goods or service as distinct from those of other sellers.
On the other hand, a product is anything offered to a market to satisfy a want or need, including physical goods, services, experiences, events, persons, places, properties, organizations, information, and ideas, according to Kotler & Keller, 2015. Think of a phone, a toothbrush, a hotel stay or a flight ticket.
A brand communicates the idea or image consumers have in mind when they think about a company’s product, service, or activities, both practically (example: my phone is expensive) and emotionally (example: the car makes me feel classy). Therefore, a brand is created not just by the physical features but also by the connections the consumers develop with the company or its products.
Understanding the basics of branding
Jay Baer, the co-author with Amber Naslund of The Now Revolution, says, “Branding is the art of aligning what you want people to think about your company with what people actually do think about your company. And vice-versa.
Essentially, branding is the process of creating and shaping a brand in the consumer’s mind to give meaning to specific products, services or companies. The main – if not sole – objective of branding is to attract and retain loyal stakeholders by delivering a product that is always aligned with the brand’s promises.
A company will not be perceived as distinct without the basic branding elements. Although they start with, these elements do not end with the brand’s logo, slogans, and other recognizable marks owned by companies. Knowing the importance of branding will help in understanding the basics of it.
Why is Branding Important?
Branding is the engine oil of the car. The extra spice you sprinkle in the dish. Without them, all might work, but disaster and bad reviews are just around the corner, waiting for their moments. Contrary to popular belief, branding is not a tactic used only by big brands. It is the details and how much work is done to increase your brand’s reputation.
Branding is critical to your business for the overall impact it makes on your company. It drives how people perceive your brand and how it increases your brand value as a new business. The engine oil poured in the wrong place can drive wreck business value.
Branding is important for;
Increasing business value: A brand’s strong reputation translates into value, which could be in the form of influence or price premium,
Generating new customers: Strong branding improves positive impressions and referrals, which is one of the best forms of marketing, and
Improving employee pride and satisfaction: No one likes to be associated with mediocrity, and solid branding effectively eliminates that.
However, there are things -some say golden rules- about branding and marketing that you must pay attention to for every startup. You can learn some tips from our article on marketing for startups.
5 Key Elements of Branding For Every Startup
Target Market: The first thing about crafting the branding of your startup strategy is understanding who you want to experience your brand. It is important to clearly identify your audience and make sure they connect with the details of your branding strategy. You need to constantly dialogue with your audience and build their feedback into your product development.
Story Behind: Selling your story is another key element if you’re interested in building a successful startup. However, people may not easily understand who you are and what you do. Yet, a compelling story gets you selling an experience before selling a product.
Language and image: A refined language can easily define what you do and who you are. Your company name should deliver your message to the public and, more importantly, should protect your company’s reputation. Visual branding components (fonts, logos etc.) contribute to the image and purpose of your startup company. A good example of how visual branding components serve as good representatives of your startup is the MailChimp logo, which suggests fun and quirky brand that aims to be friendly with its audience.
Being memorable: You should always create memorable elements for your brand. This allows your brand to stand out because while most brands can offer great service, not all can come up with unforgettable experiences.
Message: Brand message communicates the values and key differentiators that define the brand. Every brand has a fundamental core brand message that declares why the brand matters. Your audiences have to see your brand message as relevant regardless of what form they take.
Branding is the art that defines the uniqueness and value of a brand. For your startup, you need to understand your audience and communicate in simple messages the way you care about their problems and how you plan to solve them. Hopefully, this helps with branding your startup and learning to maximize the customer experience with your brand.