When it comes to marketing your business, one of the most important things you have to do is define your brand. Your brand exemplifies who you are as a company, what you value, what differentiates you, and who your audience is. Without clear branding, all of your integrated marketing communications are simply less effective.
According to Business Dictionary, branding is “the process (of creating) a unique name and image for a product in the consumer’s mind, mainly through advertising campaigns with a consistent theme. Branding aims to establish a significant and differentiated presence in the market that attracts and retains loyal customers.” This “unique name and image” should be the center point of your marketing strategy and should inform all of your marketing messages.
In fact, branding is one of the first things a new business owner should begin to do when working to establish their identity in the marketplace and attract a loyal consumer base. The reason for this is because branding doesn’t happen overnight. The most recognizable brands in the world didn’t just sit down at a table, decide on their brand, and wake up the next morning an instant success. Branding takes time. It requires the building of trust with your customers and a strong reputation in your industry. It requires having a great product and even greater customer service. Branding encompasses everything your company says and does, and therefore, takes careful, long-term cultivation.
Take Apple for example. Sure, their products are great, and this certainly contributes to their brand image. However, the reason why so many people connect with the Apple brand and loyally purchase their products is because of the lifestyle Apple communicates through its brand. Apple has branded itself as hip, cool, and cutting-edge. Apple advertisements feature fun music, bright colors, and artsy graphics. They cater to the young, as well as the young at heart. As a result, people don’t just buy their products for the products, but for the image that goes along with them
We can also look to Jimmy Buffett and his biggest hit, Margaritaville, as an example. Margaritaville started out as just a simple, catchy tune. But, there was just something about it. Something about the images and emotions in the lyrics, in the vocals, and in the music that resonated with people. Now, nearly 40 years later that song is more than a song; it is an anthem to an aspirational lifestyle. The song has spawned at least 30 restaurants, casinos, and resorts. You can buy all kinds of merchandise carrying the Margaritaville logo. The Margaritaville name alone generates around $4 million annually. Buffett took this one song, a song that evoked thoughts of warm, sandy beaches and ice-cold margaritas, and created a huge multi-million dollar brand surrounding it. He offered consumers the complete Margaritaville experience, and as a result, created an internationally recognized brand.
Remember, a successful integrated marketing strategy will bring in the customers, but having quality products and services will keep them coming back. These two elements combined are the makings of a successful brand. For more information about branding your company and incorporating that brand into an integrated marketing approach, contact us today.