Not too long ago, we thought of branding as the particular design or symbol that a company uses to advertise its products or services. However, this is a significant understatement of what branding is all about, as it’s a lot more than just the visual identity of a business.
That being said, if you were to ask people on the street about branding, they would probably still point out only the visual aspects of it: logo, colors, name, packaging, etc. But for marketers, the concept of branding has evolved over the last few years.
Nowadays, branding is considered vital for any company. Not only is it the first thing that makes an impression on your potential customers, but it’s also a way to set expectations to all of your clients as to what your business will be all about. It offers you a chance to distinguish your brand from all your competitors by making it clear why your products or services are the better choices.
That’s why building a brand is more than just creating a recognizable visual identity. Your brand should be a part of all your advertising campaigns, the way you deliver customer service, your social responsibility programs, and more. In reality, all of these elements work together in order to create the cohesive and unique face of your company.
But in this blog post, we will discuss more than just what branding is. You will be able to learn all about product branding specifically: what it is, why it matters and how you can make sure that your company has it.
Let’s get started.
What is Branding?
The concept of branding is not an easy one to explain. In order to have a good understanding of it, you have to have a decent grasp of marketing, business, and human resources. Branding is a vast concept, so it’s hard to find one definition that’s 100% correct and encompasses everything it represents. Nonetheless, let’s try: Branding is the process of identifying, creating, and managing the actions and assets that help shape the perception of a particular brand in the minds of stakeholders.
What often leads to misunderstanding is the fact that most people reduce the definition of branding to only one of its elements: the visual one. By doing so, they fail to grasp the whole concept of branding and connect all the different elements that it contains.
Our concept of branding divides it into various elements that give it a deeper meaning. Here’s a brief explanation of the different parts of the whole concept:
It’s a Continuous Process
Branding is a process that never ends. Your customers, the market, and the company are constantly evolving, so your brand has to follow along to keep pace.
It Needs to Follow a Structure: Identify, Make, Manage
A structure has to be followed when it comes to branding. First, you have to identify what your brand will be to your stakeholders. Then you have to make a strategy in order to position yourself accordingly on the market, and then comes the consistent management of the whole process.
It Aligns Your Assets and Your Actions
Your brand positioning must be turned into assets (visual content, products, ads) and actions (customer support, experience). Those two together create the idea of what your brand is in the mind of your stakeholders.
It Creates Perception
This is the reputation of your company, the association that each individual has whenever that person thinks about your brand. That’s why the “brand perception” is a result of the whole branding process.
It Helps Build Relationships With Your Stakeholders
Your stakeholders are not just your clients. Those are also your employees, shareholders, and business partners. Each of these groups of people interacts with your brand differently and has its own perception of the company.
Why Does Branding Matter?
Having recognizable branding is vital to a business because it has a significant impact on the whole company. Branding changes the way people think about your brand. It can help drive more sales and increase your company’s value. However, it can also have the opposite effect.
You have to remember: your business gets a reputation whether you do something about it or not. This can result in either a good reputation or a bad one. By understanding branding, you can take control of the perception of your company in your stakeholders’ minds and thus shape its reputation to your liking. This is why most marketers recommend that you consider branding before your business has even started operating.
Don’t let yourself be fooled by people who say that branding is a marketing tactic only for big brands. In reality, it’s the opposite. Branding is not always expensive and the activities and assets it involves vary from case to case. There is no “one size fits all” approach here.
If you own a multi-niche business with a ton of products, the process of creating a brand will be more challenging than if you’re the owner of a local store that sells a limited amount of items. If you want to have a high-quality implementation done by renowned professionals, it will cost more than if you do the branding strategy with a team of in-house marketers. That’s why it’s impossible to diminish branding as only a marketing tactic for the rich. How much it will cost you is up to you, but regardless of what you have to pay for it, branding will surely be a worthy investment.
Good Branding Can Increase a Company’s Value
An established brand can increase a business’s value and give it more leverage in the industry. This is especially important for start-ups, as it makes the company more appealing to investors especially if it has already established its place on the market.
Any company that has a recognizable brand has a strong reputation as well. That also translates into value. As you know, the brand itself is a business asset that holds monetary value and thus must have its place on your company’s balance sheet, as it can increase the overall worth of the business. The process of giving financial weight to your brand is called “brand validation,” and it’s sometimes as important as the branding itself.
Good Branding Helps Find New Customers
Having a good brand is excellent for finding new customers. A strong reputation precedes any proper brand, which generally means there’s a positive feeling about your company amongst potential customers. This makes them more likely to do business with you, as your name will be associated with trust and dependability.
It’s important to remember that once your brand has been established in the market, it’s hard to change its reputation and stakeholders’ perception. That’s why you must begin taking all the right actions that go into creating a good brand image from the start, as it will be difficult to change it in the future.
Good Branding Creates Pride and Satisfaction in Employees
When you have a company with a strong, recognizable brand, your employees are more likely to feel like an important part of the business and take more pride in their work. Furthermore, hiring new employees will be a much easier job, as people will want to work for a reputable company and apply for positions independently. A strong brand image will also help you attract high-profile employees that are excellent in their fields.
What is Product Branding?
Now that we’ve covered the basics of branding, let’s talk more specifically about what product branding is.
All in all, it can be described as the application of the branding process to a particular service or item. The idea behind it is to create a recognizable identity for a specific item by associating it with a specific design, a distinct symbol, and a memorable name.
Doing product branding can be incredibly complex if you decide to go the long route and do focus groups, test out multiple designs, and so on. However, it can also be extremely easy if you decide only to choose a name and a logo and pick a packaging color.
No matter which route you choose, product branding is undoubtedly something you have to do, especially if you want to create hype around a particular item.
Why Does Product Branding Matter for Your Business?
Strong branding always makes a difference. In the case of product branding, you want to do it because it is a great way to make more sales.
By having product branding, you will be able to distinguish your product from other ones on the market while advertising it to your target audience that you believe is interested in the item. This will result in more sales for your company and hopefully create a product that starts having a cult following around it.
On the other hand, if you choose not to invest in product branding, you risk ending up with many poorly defined products that will just blend in with the rest of the offerings on the market. This will affect your sales and revenue in the future.
All in all, branding, advertising, and marketing are all ways to make a reputable, recognizable brand that can turn in a profit. The same applies to a product – by spending money on branding, you’re investing into making a product that’s distinguishable and has the potential to sell well.
Some Examples of Successful Product Branding
We’ve talked enough about what branding is, by definition. Now let’s take a look at some real-life examples that will give you an exact idea of what good product branding looks like.
Apple’s Macbook Pro/Air Line
When it comes to great marketing, Apple can serve as an example. That’s not without reason: they sell many products and earn a ton of money doing so.
The Macbook Pro and the Macbook Air are terrific examples of incredible product marketing. Let’s see why that is:
- The word “book” implies that you’re buying a laptop, not a personal computer.
- The “Air” part suggests that the laptop is thin and lightweight, while “Pro” implies that the product is professional and thus has a heftier price tag.
- The “Mac” tells you all about the company that produces the product. You know you’re getting an Apple, not a PC.
This is the impression the customer is left with, only with the words part of the branding process. When you add in visual elements, slogans, and so on, the product becomes even more attractive.
Starbucks’ Packaged Coffee
Like Apple, Starbucks is another company known for its excellent marketing. The brand is instantly recognizable and beloved by many, so it’s impossible to miss out on their products whenever you see them in your local store or the supermarket.
That’s because they manage to do product branding incredibly well. They differentiate their products from everything else you see in the supermarket aisle, thanks to the association with the Starbucks brand. Basically, they’re telling you, “buy our products and experience the taste of your beloved Starbucks drink at home”, and that helps rake in a ton of sales.
A lot of business owners tend to underestimate the power of branding. However, its main purpose in marketing is to establish trust between your company and its clients while building loyalty and creating a solid reputation amongst stakeholders.
If you’re considering starting a new business, one of the main things you need to consider is branding. Ask yourself questions:
- What do I want my brand to look like?
- What target audience do I want to attract?
- What is the purpose of the company?
- What reputation do I want to have in the industry?
By getting the answers, you will start to have an idea of what you want your brand to look like and stand for. This will help you create products, market them, and establish a structure in the company.
Product branding is a similar process. You just have to apply it to only one item or service you’re currently working on and want to release into the world. Consider whom the product is for, why you’ve created it, and how it aligns with the rest of your brand. This will help you choose the right target audience for your item and thus generate more sales and higher profits. That’s the main reason why product branding is so vital for any business: it makes your goods different from all the other ones in the market and gives an incentive for customers to want to choose your brand over a competitor’s.