Branding is one of the marketing methods necessary to increase the value of a product and to gain recognition. It is very important to differentiate our products from other companies’ products and to make efforts that are unique to that company. This time, we will also explain the points of branding along with the benefits of branding.
- What is branding What is branding
- Benefits of branding Benefits of branding
- Employee branding is also effective Employee branding is also effective
- Steps to successful branding Steps to successful branding
- Branding measures Branding measures
- Utilize marketing research to improve branding Utilize marketing research to improve branding
What is branding
Branding is a marketing strategy that consumers have a certain image about their products and services and increase their existence value in the market. Once the image permeates the market and many consumers remember it, the product or service becomes a “brand.”
I am sure that our readers also have specific images of companies, products, services, etc., such as “When you think of tomato juice, you think of XX” or “When you think of Japan’s best coffee, you think of XX.” Brand is what most people think of in these specific keywords. It is also known and trusted by the majority of the market.
“Branding” is a measure to establish a solid position in the industry and to be recognized as products and services that are trusted by more people.
Why Branding Matters
The reason why branding should be emphasized is “to differentiate from other companies and make it easier for consumers to choose”. Without good branding, you can’t avoid competing with a variety of competitors. For example, instead of “buy (your company’s product),” you may think “buy pudding” or “choose a cosmetic dermatologist,” and as a result, your company’s products and services will be less likely to be selected.
If your branding is solid, more consumers will look to your company’s products and services, saying, “Let’s buy XX pudding” or “Let’s go to XX beauty clinic.” Branding is important to simplify consumer choice and make it easier for them to choose your company.
Importance of small business branding
If you do branding, there is a possibility that you can gain high brand power regardless of the company size or capital strength. If you can establish a position as a brand, your “brand power” will increase and you will be more likely to be trusted by more people. In recent years, there have been many cases in which even small local businesses have become brands that are supported both domestically and internationally.
In promoting branding, the size of the company, the amount of capital, the advertising budget, etc. do not matter much. Small businesses should focus on branding because it can be done regardless of money or size. If you do your branding properly, there is a good chance that you will have a brand power comparable to that of large companies.
However, even if small and medium-sized companies use the same branding methods as large companies, good results will not be obtained. This is because large companies use their capital strength to appeal to the “mass”, while SMEs need to approach a narrower “niche” market. By emphasizing quality rather than quantity and firmly appealing only to targets who are likely to love you deeply, you will be able to build a strong brand.
Benefits of branding
The advantage of branding is that it becomes easier to be recognized by consumers, and as a result, sales are improved and stabilized. Here are five benefits of branding.
Improving consumer awareness and favorability
Branding makes it easier for more people to recognize you. This is because there are more scenes that can be recalled in the form of “When you say 〇〇, 〇〇”. The more awareness you have, the more likely you are to be selected naturally, which in turn will increase your sales.
If the people who purchase your product or service feel that it is good, your favorable impression in the market will increase. Many consumers make repeat purchases and spread the word about the company through word of mouth, which increases the value of the brand and can be expected to lead to even more customers becoming fans.
Increase sales and profits
If branding increases awareness and favorability, it will also lead to increased sales and profits. By increasing both recognition and favorability, the market recognizes that the brand is well known and trusted.
If you have a certain brand power, it will be easier to stabilize sales. It simplifies consumer choice and keeps you coming back for your products instead of comparing them to your competitors. It is also possible to acquire core fans and improve brand power and quality while promoting two-way communication with customers.
Differentiation from competitors
If the image of “〇〇 = 〇〇” is established in the market, it will be easier to differentiate from competitors. For example, “high quality coffee shop = Starbucks” and “cheap and delicious hamburger chain = McDonald’s”.
If we can achieve differentiation, even if there are new entrants, our presence will become unshakable.
Improve customer loyalty
Another benefit of branding is the increased customer loyalty and the prospect of continued use. Customer loyalty refers to how much consumers trust and are loyal to a company’s products and services.
Improving customer loyalty will increase the likelihood of repeat purchases of your products and services, leading to more stable profits. You can also expect that your customers will advertise your products through word of mouth, which will naturally increase your recognition.
Improving recruiting power
Apart from sales and profits, there are also benefits such as improved recruitment capabilities. This is because the higher the brand power, the easier it is to gain the trust of job-hunting students. For job-hunting people, not only the size of the company, but also whether it has stable profits and how much the products and services are trusted are important criteria for making decisions.
If you do branding and strengthen your presence in the market, you will be a company that will be easily selected by job hunting students. It will be easier to acquire excellent human resources, and you will be able to plan and develop even better products and services.
Employee branding is also effective
Some of them may not be able to differentiate their products because the specifications are not much different from the products and services of major companies. In such a case, it is effective to differentiate by “people” in the company.
For example, if a sales representative visits a customer, would you prefer to buy the product from a person who is enthusiastic and has a wealth of product knowledge, or a person who is sluggish and only gives vague answers about the product? Differentiating with “people” and planning branding is, in other words, empowering human resources within the company. Let’s transform “human resources” into “human assets” through human resource development and build a relationship of trust with the target layer. Rather than the brand power of individual products and services, we aim to increase the reliability of the entire company and brand the company as a whole to improve its value.
Employees are the face of the company. This is especially true for out-of-office employees who have many opportunities to meet face-to-face with business partners. The demeanor of employees is the most effective medium for communicating the brand power of the company itself to the outside world. Developing employees who are trusted by business partners and have a good image from many people, in other words, human resource branding, can lead to an increase in corporate value and differentiation in the market.
Steps to successful branding
When it comes to branding, it is important to take the right steps. Below, we will explain the specific steps to promote branding by dividing them into six steps.
Clarify target consumers
If you don’t have a set target, you can’t decide who to appeal to. First, think again about who your product or service is designed for.
If the target consumer is clear, it will be easier to devise the value that the company should provide and the message that appeals to the consumer. In addition, analyzing the worries and anxieties that target people have may provide hints for improving products and services.
Clarify your company’s strengths and points of differentiation
If it’s an existing product or service, figure out what your strengths are compared to your competitors. It is also important to look at consumer reviews and reputations when identifying strengths. You may discover strengths that you might not have noticed if you were just an insider.
You can find your company’s strengths through industry research and analysis of competitors, even for products and services that have no users yet. If you clarify the points of differentiation, you should be able to see what position your company should be competing in.
formulate a brand concept
Let’s formulate a brand concept based on the “target image” and “company’s strengths and points of differentiation” that have been clarified so far. A brand concept is almost synonymous with a brand mission, and represents the value provided to customers.
For example, Disneyland’s brand concept is “Kingdom of Dreams and Magic”, and the value of its existence is to cast a spell on customers and provide them with a surreal experience that makes them feel as if they have come to the Kingdom of Dreams. Dyson, which is famous for vacuum cleaners, has a brand concept of “the only vacuum cleaner with unchanging suction power”, and the value of the product is that it achieves stable and high functionality.
Think carefully about your brand concept, as it is the core of your product or service.
develop a brand strategy
A brand strategy is a plan for achieving branding. It also includes targeting and differentiation, concept formulation, and brand identity formulation. Since the concept has been decided so far, it would be a good idea to think about “developing the brand identity” and specific marketing measures.
A brand identity is something that shows the direction, values, and worldview of a brand. Specifically, we will formulate in detail the characteristics of the brand, its role in the industry, its symbol, logo, and the value it provides.
It is also called brand identity and is generally organized using a framework called “brand identity prism”.
Execute brand measures
Once the brand strategy is solidified, it’s time to implement the measures. There are various methods for brand measures, such as advertising and marketing, SNS account management, real events, and distribution events.
The first step in branding is to get consumers to recognize the brand. You can establish a position as a brand by getting people to recognize your company’s products and services and building trust little by little. Let’s implement measures while thinking about what kind of reaction would be correct from a long-term perspective, not a short-term one.
Measure and improve effectiveness
Once you have implemented your branding initiatives, it is time to measure their effectiveness. We collect information such as how many consumers purchased the product, what the repeat rate was, as well as user satisfaction and word of mouth, and use them to measure the effectiveness.
In order to measure the effect, it will be necessary to set specific numerical targets at the brand strategy stage. By analyzing how many percent of the targets were achieved for the measures, it becomes clear what points should be improved in the future and whether there are any new measures to be implemented.
There are various things that should be done as branding measures, such as unification of design and utilization of SNS. Below are three specific examples of branding measures.
Unification of product/service logos and designs
Logos and designs for products and services must have a unified view of the world. For example, if your homepage and social media posts are popped with warm colors, but your products and services are cool with cool colors, your impression will be disjointed without a sense of unity.
By unifying logos and designs, you will be able to efficiently improve the recognition and favorability of companies, products, and services. A sense of unity in graphic design is very important in order to clearly articulate the worldview and effectively appeal to the target audience.
Advertising and marketing activities that appeal to the target
Advertising and marketing activities will become basic measures to improve awareness of products and services. Specifically, web advertisements, SNS advertisements, TV advertisements, street vision advertisements, sales promotion events, etc.
Depending on the size of your company and your budget, different methods can be used. However, if the target is clear, it is possible to appeal to only the target people, so marketing activities should be possible without a large budget. Especially for SNS advertisements and online events, even if the budget is small, marketing can be done efficiently by narrowing down the target audience.
Information dissemination through SNS and word of mouth
Recently, it has become important to disseminate information through SNS account management. Many companies use SNS to achieve two-way communication with customers, collect word of mouth and reputation, and use it for their own business.
The advantage of running a social media account is that it can be done on a low budget, and it is easier to get closer to your customers and understand their needs. In order to get more people to know and build a relationship of trust, measures using SNS accounts are indispensable.
Utilize marketing research to improve branding
By utilizing marketing research, it is possible to grasp the detailed needs of consumers and the specific image of customers, to what extent their brand has penetrated the market. By interviewing consumers through Internet surveys, group interviews, etc., it is possible to conduct comparative surveys with competitors and verify the effectiveness of measures. Since it is possible to identify data that leads to consumer understanding of the brand, it will be possible to contribute to the improvement of the brand value of the company’s products.
In addition, by conducting marketing research, it can be used from the policy planning stage to after the policy is implemented, so the product brand can be enhanced while rotating the PDCA cycle. First of all, it is important to research and clarify the current brand issues. Below, we will explain how to conduct a “Brand Recognition/Usage Status Survey” to investigate the extent to which a brand is recognized and used in the first place. Please refer to it.
Branding is very important to clearly show your company’s strengths and build a relationship of trust with consumers. The point is the management’s vision, and if the vision is blurred, the effect of branding will also fade. First of all, the management himself should clarify what direction he wants to go, and then cooperate with the employees to establish a unique brand.