What Is A Brand and Why it is Important for Your Business?

“Brand” is one of those words that everyone in business and marketing uses, but not everyone actually understands.

People often confuse logos, slogans, or other recognizable marks owned by companies with their brands. While these terms are often used interchangeably, they are distinct.

The former are marketing tools that companies often use to promote and market their products and services. When used together, these tools create a brand identity, which is just one element of what constitutes a brand.

A brand is considered to be one of the most valuable and important assets for a company. In fact, many companies are often referred to by their brand, which means they are often inseparable, becoming one and the same.

Coca-Cola is a great example, where the popular soft drink became synonymous with the company itself. This means it carries a tremendous monetary value, affecting both the bottom line and, for public companies, shareholder value.

In what follows, we’ll bring clarity to the concept by exploring different definitions while finding key components in the definitions that hold true.

Only by understanding what a brand is can you put this powerful tool to work for the growth of your business.

Definitions of Brand.

Wikipedia defines a brand as a name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that distinguishes one seller's goods or service from those of other sellers. Though this definition is quite popular, it's incomplete as it only reduces a brand to just visuals and tangible elements which are used for recognition and differentiation.

Another common definition that misses the mark also is the dictionary version which defines a brand as a product, service, or concept that is publicly distinguished from other products, services, or concepts so that it can be easily communicated and usually marketed.

However, we find the definition that best captures what a brand really is. This definition is given by Marty Neumeier.

In his book, The Brand Gap, Marty Neumeier states that a brand is a person’s gut feeling about a product, service, or company. It’s a gut feeling because we’re all emotional, intuitive beings, despite our efforts to be rational. It’s a person’s gut feeling because in the end the brand is defined by individuals, not by companies, markets, or the so-called general public.

Each person creates his or her own version of it. While companies can’t control this process, they can influence it by communicating the qualities that make their products or services different from others.

When people interact with your product or service, they develop a set of feelings derived from the experiences they had with it. If your product or service is helpful, they feel grateful. If your product or service is entertaining, they feel amused. If your product or service is premium, they will feel confident. Also, if your product or service is crappy, they will be pissed.

So, a brand is not what you say it is — it is what your customers say about your product and service. It is how they feel about it. It is your mission statement from the customer’s perspective.

Why is developing a brand important?

Nowadays, people have too many choices and an abundance of similar products and/or services in the same category. All these offerings have a similar quality. A similar set of features. Fall in a similar price range. When you take these facts into consideration, beating the competition seems like winning a lottery ticket.

So, how to persuade the customers that your product or service is the best out there? Well, first of all, you should know where the buying decision comes from. It comes from our subconscious mind. And if you build a brand that makes people feel good and confident, you’re on a roll.

We tend to base our decisions on trust. And that is why building a brand is important. Customer-oriented brands (or customer-obsessed brands) have a substantial customer relationship history which enables them to influence their minds based on previous experiences.

Having a brand long enough builds the trust, and the trust makes buying so much easier. The trust that I’m referring to consists of reliability and delight. In order to build trust, your product or service has to be robust and reliable, but also sophisticated enough to delight your customers and make them go “wow, I want that!”.

Having a strong brand gives you a better starting position in the market. It is more likely that the customers will choose you over a no-name product since they’ve developed a set of feelings as an association with your brand (hopefully a set of positive feelings). Ultimately, building a brand is a long game which has the highest return on investment.

Having a strong brand will get more people to buy more stuff from you for more years to come at a higher price.

Read that again, there’s a lot going on in a previous sentence. Here’s a breakdown of this statement…

If you have a brand that resonates with your customers, they will talk about it to their friends and colleagues. Word of mouth is like wildfire, the best marketing you can get. This attracts more people.

If you have a range of different products/services and customers are happy with the ones that they’ve tried out, there is a big chance that they will try more of your products/services. This means that they will buy more products from you.

As I said, there are so many offerings which drive your customers into analysis paralysis. They’re overthinking and over-analyzing before making a buying decision. In order to avoid this dreadful feeling, they are likely to stick with the brand they trust and will buy from them for more years to come.

If all these ingredients are in place, paying the premium price will not be a problem for your customers. Based on their previous experience and their gut feeling, they will be sure that buying from you is their best choice. The higher price buys them not only the product/service but also the ease of mind. And that feeling will subconsciously justify buying at a higher price.

Are you ready to build a solid brand that will help you build trust with customers and enable you to sell more of your products/services? Get in touch to find out how we can help you.