A brand is first and foremost a promise to the customer. It is intended to cause the appropriate customer to prefer the products and services associated with that brand.
Over the years, marketers have become more and more creative about how they build those perceptions. It’s no longer just about product value – it includes lifestyle issues, fashion, links to TV shows and famous people and so on.
In the end, branding must do one thing, and one thing only. When you see the logo, or the name, or the designs associated with a brand, you must be more likely to buy the products and services associated with that brand than previously. This means that real branding takes place inside your head. It’s a psychological function that makes a link between an identity and your actions. Remember Pavlov’s dog? He trained it to salivate when he rang a bell. Branding is a similar activity.
But there’s more. I firmly believe that the most successful businesses create real value. They have a great advantage. Rather than having to spend vast amounts of money to advertise a product of dubious utility, they can use the product experience as a key part of the brand. Apple Computer is one company that does both. By exercising strong control over the design of the product, every experience with the product builds the Apple brand.
We do not provide graphic design. There are many firms offering branding implementation, and I can point you to some with whom I have direct experience. Most, however, do not offer a rigorous process through which to understand the core values of the company, from which the brand must be constructed.
Here’s an illustration that may help you to understand how we approach brand development. As stated in our mission, we focus on helping clients create real value, and communicate that value more effectively to clients. Branding is both about understanding the value we create, and about communicating it succinctly, and in a way that increases business.
We are successful when we create brands that enhance the business in ways consistent with the real value offered. This is the only way to create a sustainable advantage and a loyal community of customers.
You will find more information about our approach to branding in the white paper Brand Magic on this site.