It’s important for brands to be in the hearts and minds of customers. After all, that’s how we help to guide people into buying products and services.
It’s easy to think that once your brands out there, people will always keep you top of mind. But brands don’t tend to grow like that. They grow brick by brick, message by message until there’s a collective idea of what they stand for.
Here’s a few reasons why we think brand building is an important part of any marketing strategy, and how it can help you grow a stronger business.
What is a brand?
Depending on who you ask and what day of the week it is, it can be hard to find an answer that everyone can agree on when it comes to defining what a brand is. While the wording might change slightly from person to person, here’s how we like to sum it up to keep it clear and consistent.
“A brand is a company’s essence. It’s everything you are, from your people all the way through to the services you offer. When it really comes down to it, it is your promise to your customers.”
We think the most important part of that definition is the promise.
A brand should be the tent pole for everything that people can expect when they choose to interact with you, not just when they buy or use your service. It’s a feeling. A feeling that tells you that you are making the right choice, or that a product or service is going to be worth your time or money.
If you can communicate that to your audiences effectively, you’re on to a winner!
Why is brand building important?
Brand building is important because it helps to build a collective image that everyone can agree on when people think of your business — whether they are your current customers or potential new ones.
Let’s take the supermarket category as an example. All supermarkets sell food, but not all supermarkets make you feel the same way. We can see this in action when looking at Marks & Spencer’s or Waitrose who are seen as more premium brands. There’s a good reason for that. Their campaign messaging and in-store experience constantly work towards making people see the brand in the same way — building a collective understanding of why they are different.
What to keep in mind while brand building
If there’s one thing that everyone can agree on, it’s that we’re all busy. Whether it’s work, friends or family, we’re living in a world where we’re always having to be ‘on’, meaning our attention is always being pushed and pulled into different directions.
Successful brands know how important it is to respect the time and attention that people give them.
If you haven’t read it yet, you might enjoy Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman which has been doing the rounds in the advertising and economics world. It gives a fantastic account of how people think and how brands can help to influence people.
He sets out that most of our time is spent in what’s known as ‘system one.’ In fact, we spend about 95% of our thinking here. This system is all about those lightning fast decisions that we have to make everyday. Things like your morning routine, solving 2+2 and reading text on a billboard all fit into this category. It’s the little things that don’t require you to think too hard or need much concentration.
The rest of our time is spent in what’s known as ‘system two.’ We spend about 5% of our thinking here. These are all of the things that require you to take the time to really think things through such as giving someone your phone number or solving 17 × 24. This system makes sure you are making logical and accurate decisions.
By understanding that people are usually not in the mindset of thinking slow, it’s important that everyone has a collective understanding of what your brand is — even if they haven’t bought from you yet. That means developing comms that reach people at both the awareness and conversion stages of your brand’s customer journey.
There are two key takeaways from this:
1) Focusing on awareness means that people might know about your brand, but they might not have enough information to really take the time to weigh up if your product is the right choice.
2) Focusing on conversion means that people might logically want your product, but they haven’t seen enough reasons to believe that your brand offers a better solution over another.
That’s why it’s important to have a balance of the two in order to give people a collective understanding of what your brand stands for consistently.
The mark of a strong brand is when everyone has a collective idea of what it stands for or its brand promise. This is something that has to be communicated over a long period of time, and not just rely on direct engagements to make sure that the majority shares that idea of the brand, rather than a minority.
Brands that take the time to build a consistent brand are more likely to grow and be successful in the long term — even if that means less growth in the short term. By keeping this in mind you’ll have a blueprint of what your brand needs to do to be successful with brand building. If you need any help or would like a chat about your brand, get in touch here.