Marketing 101: Branding

 

MARKETING 101: Branding

You’ve heard about marketing, most people have. It’s pretty important in business.

It’s that voodoo that companies use to get people’s hands in their pockets and spending mindlessly like some sort of zombie consumer. Kind of.

But it isn’t black magic; It’s psychology.

This series of blogs aims to inform and educate to help you have an awareness of your own marketing and how you can use it to your advantage.

We’ll start with branding.

Brands. Do we own them or do they own us?

Branding has become very powerful, there’s no denying that, but it isn’t new. Back in the Middle Ages farmers started burning a symbol into their livestock to show ownership.

Time has moved along but the practice is still the same; producers are marking their products.

I’ll be using Apple as an example in this blog, not necessarily because of a love of their products but through admiration of what they have achieved.

A company once on the brink of financial extinction has been turned into the success that it is today largely through branding.

Why is branding so powerful?

Think about it. We’ve all felt that pull of the latest shiny new thing.

We don’t really need it. But we want it.

You know that feel good dopamine hit you get when you unbox the latest phone upgrade and the disdain you feel for your poor old phone that was providing that very same feeling not that long ago.

Ironic? Yes; but also completely intentional.

You see, we buy with emotion, not logic. We buy on the perceived promise that owning a brand will bring us happiness and status. We look for brands that will define us and reflect what we aspire to be seen as.

A brand is more than a logo. Yes, this is a huge aspect but market positioning, image and ethos are what really grab people and build loyalty. And people are loyal.

Again, look at Apple.

“OMG have you seen the latest *insert Android phone here* ???”

“Nah, I’m iPhone all the way”

And it isn’t just tech companies that build brand loyalty. Think about your weekly food shopping. I think it’s fair to say that we regularly buy the same items. Is it down to the taste or what we like to see when we open our cupboards?

Once upon a time products were successful because of their quality, reputation and performance, but now it’s common for substandard products to do just fine thanks to clever market positioning and intelligent branding. I won’t name names but we all know a few.

Before I finish I want to share another example with you; Burberry.

Although very successful, their brand image took a bit of a knock through no fault of their own and despite their market positioning.

Once a product famously worn by upper-middle class females, they became less of an aspirational brand when the so-called ‘chavs’ and football hooligans of the noughties decided to adorn themselves in their famous check.

Proof that consumers still hold some power? Possibly.

Take home points

1) A brand can make or break a product’s success.

2) Branding uses psychology.

3) We purchase with emotion and not necessarily with logic.

4) We seek out brands that we think define us and who we identify with.

5) A brand is more than just a logo.

Well, I hope that sheds some light on branding. Even an awareness of its power doesn’t make you immune to it.

I say that because I’m sat here typing on my brand new shiny MacBook…

 

We buy on the perceived promise that owning a brand will bring us happiness and status. We look for brands that will define us and reflect what we aspire to be seen as.

A brand can make or break a product’s success.

We purchase with emotion and not necessarily with logic.

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