CORPORATE BRANDING STRATEGIES; GETTING THE BASICS RIGHT!

Every organization by conventional business practice must have a distinct identity. The elements that

feed into the identity of an organization; and by extension its products and services goes beyond a

graphical design or a logo. A logo; often mistaken by many as the BRAND only forms a visual piece or

graphical representation of the actual brand. The brand really refers to the general expectations of

anyone who associates with organizations, products or services.

Technically speaking, your brand represents the set of expectations that your customers or consumers

have for building a relationship with your organization, product or service based on what you promise to

deliver. It means defining the brand, positioning the brand and delivering it. This includes developing a

promise, making that promise to your target group and maintaining it. The expectations that consumers

have of your organization must ideally be founded on what you expect of yourself; in terms of efficiency

and efficacy- as this is almost your safest bet to customer satisfaction. Your brand defines who you are,

what you do, why you do what you do, who you do it for and ultimately what benefits or satisfaction

your target group derives from it.

So we know that a brand is more than just a name or a logo. It is actually the general idea or complete

image that consumers have of an organization, product or service and the association or connection

they can make with such, aligning their needs with their expectations and the reputation of the

organization, enabling them to trust the quality of products and services that the organization offers.

Modern marketing and business development demands that corporations attach a great deal of

importance to Branding and Brands development because this feeds into the perception of consumers

about the business which ostensibly influences their behaviours and actions in relation to the

organization’s products and services. So by inference, a strong and trusted brand almost invariably

translates into increased patronage or conversion, culminating into high returns on investment. Brands

are revenue and profit drivers but are quite different from products.

A brand is an accumulation of emotional and functional associations and

relationships that consumers establish with organizations, goods or services. A

brand plays a multiplicity of roles including representing a promise to the consumer

as far as efficiency and performance go, shaping the expectations of the consumer,

providing assurance about the uniqueness of what is being promised and

differentiating and protecting an organization, product or service from others with

similar characteristics on the market.

Building a strong brand fundamentally depends on a mix of factors that could be categorized generally

into what I christen the four key elements of brands management (or C4) being; Creativity, Consistency,

Commercial viability and Customer satisfaction. We will discuss how these variables interact with each

other, the most effective marketing communications strategies and the varied channels, vehicles and

tools that can be employed and deployed to produce a strong, trusted and competitive brand; but let’s

get an understanding of some basic concepts of BRANDING, BRANDS MANAGEMENT and BRANDS

DEVELOPMENT.

So what is Branding and why does it even matter to your business?

We understand by now, that a brand is an assortment of memories in the minds of customers

representing values, ideas, images and symbols associated with an organization, product or service

indicating superior benefits and uniqueness. It serves among other purposes, as the link between the

four key elements of a business entity; the customers, employees, management and shareholders.

Branding refers to the process involved in assembling the various marketing mix medium into a whole,

giving your brand an identity; which creates a perception of quality and a sense of need to your target

group and subsequently communicating with strategic tools, vehicles and channels, to allow them easily

distinguish between your brand and others from your competitors and effectively compelling them to

choose you. Branding not only offers you and opportunity to capture your customers with your brand

name and establish an emotional connection with them; geared towards building customer loyalty, but

also creates a mental image of an experienced and reliable business, product or service based on the

message you convey in an attempt to persuade them to patronize your product or service.

It is all about netting the niche market for your product or service and developing confidence in current

and prospective customers that your alternative represents nothing short of a unique solution to their

problem.

Delving into brands management and development involves the appreciation of how essential it is to

understand and appropriately apply some basic concepts in developing strategies, techniques and

tactics to improve the competitiveness and performance of your brand. If you are going to achieve any

success with your brand, your management and development strategy must be clear, consistent and

coordinated. You don’t want to begin a campaign without a distinct identity, definite direction and clear

objectives, well thought out plan of action and systems, processes and mechanisms to evaluate impact

and appraise performance of marketing communications tools and channels. To put it bluntly, it will be a

complete waste of time and resources.

…to be continued.

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