What is branding?
In today’s oversaturated world of too much choice and too little time, the competition for a customer’s attention—and wallet—is fierce. Most products are similar in features and quality, making it hard to convince consumers to try, buy and re-buy. Yet, in spite of the odds, there are some companies that do inspire loyalty beyond reason. Passionate and emotionally driven, this type of loyalty is triggered by one main thing—branding. But what is branding, really? And why is it so important?
Branding has been around since 350 A.D and is derived from the word “Brandr”, meaning “to burn” in Ancient Norse language. By the 1500s, it had come to mean the mark that ranchers burned on cattle to signify ownership. Simple and easily identifiable, these symbols bore all the hallmarks of the modern logo. Yet branding today is more than just a look or a logo. It has come to signify the emotional “gut feeling” reaction a company can elicit from its customers. And with the advent of the Internet, branding has become the key to cutting through the clutter.
Why do you need branding?
Brand or be branded—if you don’t actively define your brand, the market will do it for you. And it might not be pretty. Therein lies the main incentive to intentionally brand your business, but here are a few more for good measure:
Branding helps you stand out from the competition
If you’re a designer in the market for a new laptop, do you find yourself immediately browsing the Apple Store online? As a brand, Apple has spent almost as much time cultivating their image as they have perfecting their beautiful interfaces and intuitive features. You choose a Macbook without doing any research because it’s your perception that there is no real competitor on the market. Why? Because Apple’s ‘I’m a Mac’ campaign has already convinced you that they’re the obvious choice when it comes to personal laptops. Which just goes to show that when customers have several options, branding helps them solidify their decision.