Branding – Conscious branding (branding strategy)
Every company and every product has a brand. The difference between market players is whether they make a conscious effort to build a brand. Many people tend to confuse the concept of branding with marketing. However, this idea has several pitfalls. For a business to succeed, the foundations need to be laid. The real marketing can only come afterwards. In this article we will cover the branding process and the basic branding tools.
This brings us to the definition of branding. Brand building is a conscious process of giving meaning to a brand (whether it is a product, service or company name). The purpose of brand building is to make our brand easily identifiable and to give consumers a reason to choose us from the myriad of competitors. Part of the strategy involves choosing values and consciously overcoming the emotions that prevent people from buying (or employing or supporting). Our brand is also a promise to offer solutions to stakeholders’ problems and build loyalty towards our product.
Of course, brand building is not only emotional and psychological, but also has legal (eg trademark) and practical dimensions (image, appearance, advertising). However, the first step is always to define what makes our brand special and, ultimately, what values our business stands for. Without a sense of mission, it is not worth starting a business: if our sole purpose is to make money, it is easy to forget that economic activity is ultimately a social mission. The most important purpose of business is to solve customers’ problems, and in doing so, of course, we also make a profit. Moreover, as entrepreneurs, we also have a responsibility to our employees and suppliers: as managers, we do the right thing when we seek the satisfaction of all those involved in the life of the company. Customers, partners, suppliers,
Brand awareness and brand recognition
Brand recognition is part of brand awareness. It is the extent to which consumers can identify a brand without seeing its name. So it is based on the logo, slogan, packaging. It may sound silly at first to be concerned with such things, but there is a serious purpose to articulating the mission. All elements of branding and later marketing will be subordinated to the mission.
Identifying the values and distinctiveness of the brand is often referred to as the USP, which is short for unique selling proposition.
“What makes the product unique in the market and what extras does it offer compared to competitors?”
If it’s a people-centered and personal experience, it needs to be communicated. If the product represents high quality, then it should be emphasized. Equally, price can of course be an advantage if the aim is to break into the market with affordable products. But be careful: the values attached to the brand are very difficult to change later. A cheap product is unlikely to become a premium brand.
The mission of a company can easily be eroded if we do not stick to our values. A good brand does more than just communicate through advertising: successful brands stay true to their values in everyday life. It takes a very long time to build a brand through conscious branding tools. But to destroy it, a single day can be enough.
To understand the transition from Web 2 to Web 3, we need to see the continuity of the Internet’s history.
In the Web 1 period (1991-2004), users were passive users. Website owners created content that users consumed. Online content rarely changed, did not reflect daily activities, and sometimes did not change for years. This was partly due to a lack of expertise and a low degree of interactivity of the tools.
Web 2 (2005-2020). This decade and a half was the era of centralised services run by large corporations, where the money to be made on the web was made by big companies such as Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple. Some call this the write-read era of the internet, referring to the computer code that allows not only viewing files but also editing and opening them. Users can not only consume content, but also edit and produce it, which they can then publish on Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr, as well as other online forums and marketplaces. Although we had the ability to share content before Web 2 (think of the early internet forums), the rise of social media has taken this to new heights. The simplification of the process made instant content sharing available to the masses, and the masses were so large that the quantitative change over time led to a qualitative change.
Web 3 (2020- ). If Web 2 is the read-write era of the Internet, Web 3 can be seen as the era of read-write-ownership: instead of using free technological platforms to share and consume content, for which we pay with our data, we can become active participants in the management and operation of protocols as users. We will not be mere customers and products in the eyes of large companies, but shareholders with a say in the development of technology.
Training Exercise. During the simulation exercise, we will actively intervene to control when participants can provide feedback in the situations they receive, how they can do so, and occasionally interrupt them.
We need to incorporate the effects of Web 2 and Web 3 transformation into the design of our own branding and marketing campaigns and take into account the soft skills that we may have in our organisation and what else we may need.
Important questions to ask are whether a Google Ads or Facebook ads fit better with the strategy, whether there is a justification for building an Instagram profile, whether a LinkedIn presence is necessary, whether we need to cut into SEO, whether there is a large enough database to integrate email marketing into the communication strategy, and so on.
Many factors can influence the choice of tools and channels, for example, Google works on the basis that potential customers already know some information about the brand, while Facebook is mostly based on interest, so it is definitely worth starting to promote a new brand on that line.
Training exercise. In the case of external price requests, it is a natural phenomenon in the market to have as many professionals as there are offers: in principle, the costs of advertising and professional staff should be taken into account. It is therefore important to check here what exactly these offers include.