The Starter Guide for Building your Brand
Branding: Laying it Threadbare
Branding is the practice of marking or symbolizing a product, thus, making it easily identifiable. It makes your product – and consequently your business – easily recognizable. In fact, the concept of branding originated in the Indus Valley when farmers branded their livestock – presumably, so that owners could easily identify their stock.
Since then, branding serviceshave evolved into a veritable science of precise positioning and monitoring.
Branding plays a pivotal role in the success of a business. It is the reason why names like Google, Coca-Cola (Coke), Parle-G, and McDonald’s have become words of common parlance. It is the secret behind the success of names like Wal-Mart, and Amazon. A well-built brand helps get recall value, garner trust and create associations with consumers.
How is Branding done?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, but you could divide the process into two steps -
- Create a product/ service that you believe has relevance for your target consumer.
- Position your brand in the minds of your consumers as the best option for them, for that product or service.
- The first step involves creating a service that is relevant to your intended target consumer. This service has to have a price where consumers like to buy the product, and you can expect to (eventually) make money.
- Then you have to ensure a channel of distribution which will allow consumers to access your product/ service.
- And then, maintain a consistency in the communication of this product and service to the target consumer.
When all the above are done regularly and consistently, your service/ product over timestarts to develop into a brand. A symbol that denotes assured delivery.
Brand Strategy and Positioning
A good marketer (or a branding agency) helps you reach the “consistency”you need to establish your brand. They help confirm that the product/ service is relevant to the target audience you have in mind. They help you create consistent “symbols”- brand name/ colors/ font/ logo that make it easy for your brand story to register with the consumer and create-
- A distinctive position in the mind of the consumer, and
- Distinguishing your product from other similar products in the market
Branding agencies, take you further to media agencies (offline or online) who then help you figure out which is the best medium for you to use to spread your brand’s story among the TG faster, and in the most economical manner. Digital agencies, for example, specialise in promoting your brand on digital mediums (mobile, e-commerce sites, social media platforms).
Having implemented your branding strategy, you must assess its effectiveness. To this end, market research agencies gather data about consumer response to your efforts. For example, you may want to look at how many people shared their experience or expressed their opinion about your product. This tells you how – and to what extent – your strategy is effective.
The data collected through response monitoring is analysed and interpreted to understand consumer behaviour, likes, dislikes, and desires. Your branding strategy may then be tweaked – or in rear instances – discarded in favour of a completely new plan.
Cost of Branding (consumer FMCG product)
How does on decide what’s a good marketing spend for an early stage company?
Early stage companies have one unique feature that more established brands do not have. Its called flexibility and the ability to experiment. And seek their sweet spot.
<<Mature brands have this as a constraint. They can never venture too far away from their sweet spot>>
Therefore what young brands need to do is spend just enough to get feedback on whether they are reaching their sweet spot. Young brands need more “feedback”. Spending more on speaking to early consumers and figuring out what is working and what is not.
As your build your business, your brand will get built. It will be a strong one or a weak one. This depends on one key factor. Whether you have been consistent in every element of your business vis-a-vis the consumer.
Ensuring you have the right help to determine this is a very smart decision. Use the right agencies and you will get a phenomenal bang for the buck. You will need it. Good luck.