In the past, branding referred to a tangible label used by a product to differentiate it from its competitors. A company’s brand could be defined or improved through a single advertisement.
In today’s competitive market, branding requires an extended effort to create an identity that resonates with consumers. Companies that succeed in establishing a powerful brand gain a competitive advantage over those that do not.
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What is a Brand?
A brand is the identity of a business. It is the thing that customers form relationships with over time. The brand is created through a series of experiences and learning, and dictates the beliefs and feelings that customers have about a business.
Strong brands clearly and consistently reinforce what the business stands for. The effort to influence customer perception to create strong, and valuable brands is known as branding.
What Do Today’s Customers Want from Brands?
A study by Wunderman surveyed 2,000 people in the United States and United Kingdom to assess what today’s customers want to see from brands. Data shows that customers seek brands that understand and adapt to their unique needs, align with humanistic values, and are committed to the customer experience.
The explosion of digital media and online shopping has created an increasingly competitive market where consumers have more power than ever to choose the companies that they want to give their business to. This competitive market has empowered customers to measure brands against each other, which means having a strong brand is more important in attracting customers to your business. In particular, customers seek authenticity and wantedness.
Below, you will find out ways to strengthen your branding through concepts of authenticity and wantedness.
The Importance of Authenticity
Brand authenticity is created when a business is honest about its mission and values. Consumers want to choose brands that reflect who they are and, in a way, reflect an extension of how they view themselves. Building authenticity is an important factor that can help your business be successful, not only for branding, but with your customers. Brand authenticity can earn your business a great reputation in the marketplace.
According to Wunderman, 89 percent of customers are loyal to brands that share their values. A business should spend time developing a brand that aligns with a broad consumer base while maintaining a solid mission statement.
The Importance of Wantedness
Wantedness is the degree to which a brand dedicates itself to earning a customer’s business across every consumer touch point. This concept sets a new standard for branding that develops a level of trust between a company and its consumer. Marketers should not only focus on developing customer loyalty to their brands. Data suggests that brands also need to demonstrate a commitment to exceeding customer expectations in order to earn loyalty.
A well-known example of Wantedness is Zappos. Tony Hsieh, the founder of Zappos, famously said that "Zappos is a customer service company that just happens to sell shoes." There are numerous anecdotes about how hard Zappos worked to exceed customer expectations. This undoubtedly helped the company reach its level of success.
Successful brands develop meaningful relationships with customers. Wunderman’s data highlights that consumers want to engage with brands that set new standards for meeting expectations. The study shows that 79 percent of consumers want a brand that is able to communicate that it understands and cares about them. The best way to emulate this is by delivering a company identity that makes customers feel wanted.
How To Communicate Your Brand
In order to strengthen your company’s identity, you will need to carefully communicate your brand. According to the study, 56 percent of customers will be more loyal to brands that show an understanding of one’s lifestyle, wants, and needs.
Without a thoughtfully crafted brand identity, consumers will not have a clear understanding of your company’s vision or long-term goals. A brand should convey relevance to a consumer in order to capture the customer’s interest. To develop an effective brand, you company should have consistency among the three elements listed below.
|Visual Imagery||A strong visual branding system will improve how a company communicates to its audience. The design of your brand can influence how valuable your brand is to customers.|
|Mission and Values||A well-crafted mission statement serves as a framework for establishing the brand. For customers, it can be what sets your company apart from the competition.|
|Voice and Tone||A standard of communicating with customers will allow you to build meaningful relationships with your customers. Commmunication at all touchpoints should be consistent and aligned with company mission and values.|