Just a single red C, the swoosh of a black tick or the hint of a yellow bag and we instantly recognise these brands. Every day millions of consumers choose to buy fizzy drinks from Coca-Cola, goods from Selfridges and sportswear from Nike over thousands of (often cheaper) competitors. Why? Because these three brands have a strong brand image that many people aspire to, a reputation for quality and we’re probably more familiar with their logos than our own family’s birthdays.
In fact, some of the most well known and loved brands no longer even use their business name in their branding, they are recognised simply by their image:
But what is branding, and why does it matter?
The origin of branding is pretty simple, the first branding examples were cattle in the 17th century when farmers used a branding iron to literally mark out their cows from the neighbouring farm’s.
So, if everyone brands their products and businesses, what’s the point?
Isn’t the world overcrowded enough with logos and adverts?
Well, the point is that by building a brand you’re giving your business an aspect that people can remember, identify with and even aspire to.
As a business, you’re not just selling your customers your product, you’re selling them your whole brand experience.
For example, if your business was Hotel Chocolat, you’re not selling the cheapest chocolates, you’re selling a luxury experience – clean, sophisticated branding with a shop full of artisan chocolates and polite attentive staff, products that will make a prized gift or a personal treat to be savoured.
And, once your customer has left the store, not only will they walk down the street with the gift wrapped chocolates, feeling positive about their experience, their Hotel Chocolat branded white paper bag will make passers by jealous, or inspire them too to visit the store.
Having a good product or service isn’t good enough if you want to stand out.
People like products but love brands, so if you want to be chosen over your competitors and remembered for the right reasons then having a strong brand is key.