The importance of good branding cannot be understated. Branding can initially make a company, or save one from total collapse. From prospering local businesses to global mega-corporations, the development and evolution of successful a branded image is one of the most coveted and guarded secrets in the world of business. But is there really a secret?
There is no secret recipe for successful branding. Every brand is different and each case needs to be handled as such. Once your company finds its niche, only a perfectly balanced combination of dedication, patience, and vision can grow your brand. The combination of these three things in balance can bring success, but too much or too little of either could spell disaster. Dedication is crucial. Many brands develop an image and don’t evolve it. This can work, but only on rare occasions where a brand becomes cultural, either locally or on a larger scale. Let’s make a hypothetical example.
In this example a hamburger restaurant is the company. We’ll call it Randy’s Burger Palace. Randy’s starts in a small town and quickly becomes successful. They use quality, taste, and family as their main marketing attributes. Initially, business is going well and they are busy every night. However, after a while, business begins to decline as new competition surfaces in town. Wanting to be as successful as possible, Randy’s hires a branding and marketing agency to help develop a strategy and branded image. With the help of the studio, Randy’s learns what builds a successful brand. They need to remain dedicated to their image of taste, family, and quality. Many restaurants when faced with competition will attempt to garner more profits by using less expensive ingredients in their food. By doing so, they flout taste and quality. They can rely on family for a short time, but with declining quality and taste, they will quickly lose the family sector of the market.
What can Randy’s do? The simple answer is reinvest. This is where vision comes in to play. The restaurant is already known for quality, taste, and family. But by reinvesting, Randy’s can carry its success into other markets. Let’s say Randy’s has a vision of regional success. It is very important not to try to grow too quickly. Patience is important for any brand. By opening a second location in the same town, the chances that business will occur is doubled. At this time, a second location is a safe bet as they already have regular customers that are familiar with their product. By doing this, the competition is also put as risk as they do not have the same recognition as Randy’s, the original hamburger restaurant.
At this time, dedication and patience are key. Both locations must provide the same product with the same service that Randy’s is known for. This takes a good deal of dedication as quality can suffer between locations. Patience, in this case, is waiting for the opportune moment to open a third location while promoting existing locations and extensively marketing the brand using its attributes. When possible, Randy’s ought to open a third location in a different town that is still close by. Randy’s hires the studio to conduct market research to see where the majority of its out of town customers come from and open a location there. If Randy’s does not receive much outside business, the studio researches where their patrons go and advise Randy’s to open a location at the destination. By being dedicated, Randy’s now has three locations and is on its way to regional success. By repeating these steps in other markets, Randy’s will grow into a recognizable regional brand. This is patience.
There are many factors that play a role in the longevity of a brand, from catchy phrases and jingles to socially conscious practises. A company’s branded image needs to reflect everything that the company stands for, and the company has to match this with its practises or it won’t be as successful. Branding can make or break a company, just as in the hypothetical example above, by sticking to their brand image, Randy’s was much more successful than they would have been had they failed to maintain their marketing attributes.
Branding is also crucial in attracting customers. A professional logo can attract plenty of attention. Unique and creative imaging are key in constructing a successful brand. An example of professional branding comes in the form of a project of Deskree Studio, TAM. TAM is an online European marketplace. Deskree Studio designed a logo, marketing strategies, and brand identity for the now successful e-commerce marketplace. Unique logos and marketing strategies play a key role in the success of a business. New customers are drawn in by unique visuals and catchy copy, which have translated into the success of the brand overall.
Targeting a specific market is also a key feature of good branding. Many businesses operate within a niche, but they rely on word of mouth to gather attention and new business. This can be due to poor branding. Professional branding agencies understand what needs to be done to market to niche customers. Deskree Studio’s Sir WineBot is an excellent example in niche branding. The team at Deskree Studio successfully created, designed, and launched a product to the market that was met with immediate interest, garnering plenty of attention at the Collision conference in Toronto. The niche target by Sir WineBot is tech-focused individuals who enjoy wine but do not know much about it. By employing relatable humour, a unique logo, and interesting copy, Sir WineBot was picked up by several prominent businesses.
By aligning branding to your company’s image, campaigns are inherently better suited for success. If your company is environmentally-focused, its branding should reflect this important attribute. How your company presents itself is crucial to its success, and branding is essential to this outward presentation. Many factors come into play here, from colour perception to the tone of advertisement. The individual sounds that make up your company’s name can have an effect. Knowing your audience and how to present a business is critical. Extensive market research ought to be conducted to allow for the greatest chance of success.
Branding should make your company stand out. It is very easy to get lost in the mix considering the degree of competition in the marketplace. Major companies understand this as well and work hard not to rest on their laurels. Take for example the American soda giants Coke and Pepsi. These corporations consistently release new products, designs, and advertisements to stay relevant in a crowded market. These companies stay true to the perception of their brand, and market to their specific audiences. For example, Pepsi debuted in 1898 and is perceived to be a drink for younger people, although the brand is almost as old as Coca-Cola which released in 1886. These brands have been going strong for well over a century, cautiously altering their image to stay relevant. Personally, when I think of Coke, I think of the 1950s, Marylin Monroe, Elvis, Chevrolet Bel Airs, and Route 66. When I think of Pepsi I am reminded of the 1990s, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, melty delivered pizza, and staying up late to play video games. Coke is tradition and Pepsi is youth, and these brands have done a commendable job keeping up that perception. That is dedication.
So branding probably makes up 90% of the difference between Coke and Pepsi. They are similar companies, founded in the same time period, they produce very similar products, and they service the same overall domestic market. It all comes down to branding. PC vs Mac is another example. Do you remember the PC vs Mac commercials from the mid 2000’s starring Justin Long? If not, watch this one on YouTube. In the days when internet viruses spelled the doom of humankind, Mac was marketed to be virtually immune to viruses, which undoubtedly led to an increase in sales. How about Xbox and Playstation? iPods and Mp3 players? American cars vs Japanese imports? Domino’s vs Pizza Hut? It all comes down to branding.
Logos are an invaluable player in how a brand is remembered and perceived. Pepsi’s logo has changed many times over its lifetime, read this article from Inkbot Design if you are interested in finding out more. With each iteration, Pepsi is made new again, ready to attract a new generation of consumers. But Coke’s logo has remained the same since its inception. Brands can be easily identified by their logo alone. McDonald’s Golden Arches, Twitter’s Bird logo, Instagram’s Camera logo. These logos are used to solidify brand recognition, a phenomenon that can be seen across history. Symbols are used to convey a sense of meaning, and we associate meanings with these symbols, and they are ambiguous enough upon inception, nothing else will ever be associated with them save for the image the company wishes projected. Designed to be “memorable but meaningless”, logos have always been used to represent brands, and they do a fantastic job of it.
But perhaps one of the biggest boons a company can receive is when their name becomes synonymous with an action or a type of product. Kleenex is a brand known for their facial tissues. We refer to facial tissues as Kleenex. Jell-O is fruit flavoured gelatine, but every fruity gelatine is referred to as Jell-O. But perhaps the most well known is Google. “Google” has become a canonized entry in the English language, and many others I am sure. When brands work their way into every day use in a language, the effects of their presence can be felt for years of not decades. And in the case of Coca-Cola, potentially centuries. This is vision.
Every successful company has three things in common. Dedication, patience, and vision. There is no secret to becoming a success on the market, all you need is time, dedication, and a plan for the future. By relentlessly pursuing goals, large companies have come to dominate the market. But all in all, it comes down to how a company is branded. Branding makes all of the difference, it can make a company an initial success or it can save a company from total failure. Branding can immortalize a company through language and imagery, and it can make a brand synonymous with a product or service. For successful companies, branding is everything. So before your company sets out into the world, consult the experts first.