For many entrepreneurs, branding is a something that they farm off to an advertising company. Or in some cases, their nephew or friend who happens to work in a design company.
What comes up is a logo and some nicely done brochures and business cards. And perhaps a website.
Most people think that’s what branding is about….the biggest decision on branding is choosing the colour of their logo.
If that is how you have been doing branding, I’m sorry to inform you…but you’ve been duped!
Branding is so much more than that.
Branding is about what your company name means when people talk about it. It’s also about what market you serve and what benefits you are providing to your market.
Take a moment to think…what is the strongest benefit you are providing to your market? Which is the market niche position do you want to occupy? Have you incorporated all these into your brand?
Let me ask you a question: does you brand evoke an emotion?
In the 1980s, Pepsi was killing Coca-Cola in the “Cola Wars”. Coca-Cola decided they needed to do something drastic to win back market share. They made a decision to change the formula and taste of Coca-Cola. It became sweeter and was supposed to taste more ‘harmonious’.
The result was 400,000 phone calls and letters that expressed disappointment and anger! There were protest in the US Southern states as they saw Coca-Cola as a fundamental part of their regional identity. There were lawsuits by interest groups and even bottlers that were angry with the new formula who intended to boycott Coca-Cola.
People didn’t see it as the ‘real thing’. The executives at Coca-Cola had totally miscalculated the emotion that was attached to Coca-Cola.
In less than 3 months of the launch of New Coke, Coca-Cola was forced to reintroduce its old original formula.
This is the true power of a brand: when there are emotions attached to your brand, and your brand stands for something. Even a US Senator called the reintroduction of the original Coca-Cola formula “A meaningful moment in US history.”
Strangely enough, Coca-Cola regained its market share after that fiasco and became firmly entrenched as the market leader over Pepsi. In fact, it served to remind the American public just how much Coca-Cola meant to them.
This illustrates the power of a brand when it means something to your customers.
Back to you…does your brand mean anything to your customers? Does it invoke any emotion?
Perhaps your brand is strongly tied to a city, region or country. Perhaps could mean a lot to people of a certain age group.
Or maybe your brand could mean something within an industry; you could be the maverick in the industry like Apple. Or your brand could be a status symbol for the young and successful like BMW.
Whatever it is, you’ll need to make your brand meaningful to your target audience. Otherwise you’ll just be another pretty logo that’s relegated to deep recesses of your audience’s subconscious mind…never to be found again.