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6 Reasons Branding is important in Marketing

People often get confused between marketing and branding and assume that they are one and the same. Although they fall under the same tree, they lie on different branches. If you are looking to start your own business or you are hoping to strengthen your brand awareness, then this article is for you. Grab yourself a cuppa and a biscuit and begin to understand the differences between branding and marketing, but also why you need one in order to strengthen the other. If growing your customer base and expanding your brand recognition is one of your priorities right now, keep on reading and let’s get into the nitty gritty of the relationship of branding and marketing.

First and foremost, to remove any confusion, let’s get on the same page:

What is branding?

Branding involves developing and implementing a number of identifiable features to your business so your consumers can associate themselves with your business. Branding increases the recognisability of products and services amongst your consumers, giving you that competitive edge within the market.

Creating a bridge between your products and your ideal customer that helps to shorten the buyer’s journey to choose your products without any kind of hesitation, branding is vital for marketing activities. It helps to define how customers recognise your brand.  Typically comprising of a name, tagline, logo or symbol, design and brand voice, it also refers to the underlying values of the business and overall experience a customer undergoes when interacting with a business — as a customer, supplier, social media follower, or a mere bystander.

What is Marketing?

Marketing is the way you communicate your brand, products, and services to the public in order to convert leads into customers. Analysing consumer behaviours and the commercial management of a business helps to attract, acquire and retain customers, through instilling brand loyalty by satisfying consumer needs and desires. Marketing is the tangible execution of your brand to build engagement and drive sales.

Branding improves your marketing practices:

The definition of branding depicted above, illustrates that  branding is far more than a businesses logo and slogan. And this is true. Your brand should leave a positive belief about your business when consumers think of your products or services. This perception also increases the business’ value and increases your business’ recognition amongst your consumers. System 1 believes that a brand should have an emotional impact on a consumer. Relying on the 3F’s, Fame, Feeling and Fluency, they believe that a brand should play on consumers’ mental shortcuts to ensure that a business’ products and services are the obvious, automatic and default product of choice.

Taking advantage of these mental shortcuts, branding can be one of the most important elements of your business when generating sales leads. Using both a branding and marketing strategy to target and influence your customers, both new and existing, branding can help your business to increase its share of voice within the marketplace. Using branding to improve your marketing strategy can help your business to generate sales.  This in turn will mean that your business will have a competitive advantage within your industry and ensure that your brand is your customer’s first choice when looking for the products or services that you offer. Relying on the 3 F’s depicted by System1, we can see the importance of your branding when marketing your product offerings.

6 reasons why branding is important in your marketing:

Branding and Customer Recognition 

Developing a brand that has a level of fame or fluency amongst your target audience helps to build strong customer recognition. This is important when developing your marketing materials as you want your product and services to be the automatic choice amongst your customers. Having a recognisable brand means that consumers are far more likely to opt for your products in comparison to a less recognisable brand. Having strong foundations of branding for your business is vital. This is how your customer will begin to recognise and associate with your brand.

In order to develop the foundations of a strong brand, there are 2 essential elements that will increase your brand recognition. Without strategically planning these elements, your brand, and in turn your marketing, will fall flat.

a.) Brand Messaging:

It’s important to focus on your brand messaging, as these messages communicate who you are and what your purpose is in order to speak to your ideal clients. Ensuring that you have a consistent brand message and voice so new and existing customers immediately relate to what your business values are, and how engaging with your business can benefit them, is the ultimate goal here. That recognisability and emotional connection assists in communicating to your customers and it is what separates you from your competitors.

b.) Brand Identity:

In order to grow your brand’s recognition, it is essential that you have a strong brand identity. Having a distinguishable and cohesive brand identity means that your customers can automatically identify your brand at first glance. This visual representation that your brand identity (Logo, Tagline, Font etc) illustrates is important as it is a way to effectively communicate your business’ values and messaging to your customers. Think of these as a visual cue that will help customers to recall your business. Implementing it consistently throughout your marketing materials will improve the likelihood that your brand will be remembered by your audience, but also that your marketing is consistent. Brand consistency aids in developing customer brand recognition.

Having a strong brand identity is the key to unifying behaviours, actions and communications amongst your customers. Each plays a role in communicating competitive advantages, product/services quality, competitive advantages, and operational efficiencies.  So, it is of great importance that your business has a consistent brand identity as it resonates with your audience, guides your marketing, and enables your sales force to sell more.

Branding & Competitive advantage

Having a strong, recognisable brand which has a consistent identity throughout your marketing activities, helps you to differentiate yourself from competitors within the marketplace. This is advantageous when penetrating the market and lends a sense of credibility, as well as a competitive edge to your company. In order to do this it is important that you implement the same brand guidelines throughout your marketing materials both online and offline. If your branding consists of the colours white and teal green, and you use Lato, size 12 in white font, with a crown logo,  you should implement this throughout your marketing. This credibility and recognition increases your brand awareness and in turn will differentiate your business from other competitors in the market, giving you that competitive edge to boost your sales.

Branding and Customer loyalty & Shared Values

Your customers are your best allies when it comes to fortifying your brand. In today’s world where perception determines your brand’s value, creating a brand that has recognisable features and delivers upon their values instills brand loyalty amongst consumers. According to the Harvard Business Review, 64% of consumers say that sharing the same values with a brand is the primary reason they have a relationship in the first place.

Having an absolute brand means that when customers interact with your marketing the fame, feeling and fluency associated with your brand lends to a greater level of customer loyalty. Customers are attracted to businesses with brands with which they share common values. When building a strong brand, you need to convey these values in order to evoke an emotional connection with your customers. Brand loyalty often lasts a lifetime and even transfers to future generations. This is exactly the kind of customer loyalty that every business wants their brand to instill.

Similarly, when a brand elicits this sense of loyalty amongst a customer, the more inclined they are to refer family and friends to purchase from the brand.  Acquiring recommendations, reviews and social proof is what your brand and business needs in order to grow and expand. Running referral campaigns can be really beneficial to increase and strengthen your customer loyalty whilst fortifying your brand’s social proof. Giving that little bit of an incentive can go a very long way when growing your brand awareness.

Branding and Customer Retention

When you have grown your brand to a relatively recognisable point amongst your target audience, your marketing practices become increasingly more beneficial in terms of generating sales leads. It’s important to realise that branding aids the retention of existing customers as it keeps customers engaged with your brand and marketing materials. This customer experience influences customer retention. Effectively implementing a brand strategy means that you can manage your customer’s experience and journey, keeping them intrigued and engaged, so that they repeatedly return to do business with your brand. A strong brand brings customers back around to the purchase funnel after an initial interaction with your business.

Developing a brand with customer retention in mind is of utmost importance. Loyal customers can become your best advocates as they share their experience with your brand with their wider social circle. According to Customer referral expert Grace Miller, 92 percent of potential leads trust personal recommendations more than any other kind of marketing. Considering this, we can see the importance of your brand not only being distinguishable from competitors, but also that it lives up to its value propositions. The better the experience a customer has with your brand, the more inclined they are to recommend your products and services to other potential customers. This is where a referral campaign would also be incredibly effective. Marketing activities such as this help to increase brand awareness, build trust and credibility, as well as strengthening customer loyalty and relationships to ensure repeat business.

Branding and Trust within the marketplace.

We have seen above how branding can benefit your business in terms of generating interest and conversation around your marketing and business as a whole. However, it is really important to note that a strong brand also evokes a sense of trust within the marketplace as well as amongst your consumers. Building a strong brand helps to determine how your customers perceive the quality of your products and services and the likelihood that they will purchase from you. Through implementing your business’s brand strategy throughout your marketing activities, you enhance the level of credibility of your brand amongst your customers, along with your competitive edge, and recognition within the marketplace. The practices go hand in hand. And with this, as customers begin to trust your brand’s offerings the ease of purchase becomes increasingly more likely.

Having effective branding, mixed with excellent content marketing helps to establish your business as an expert in your industry. This is beneficial as it instills confidence and trust in your business amongst the general public, meaning that they know that your product offerings are recommended and of high quality.

Using your brand to generate a greater share of voice within the marketplace is another way to evoke trust within your business. Utilising your branding throughout your marketing strategy is the best way to grow your share of voice.  Engaging your customers with your branding and clever content, which can then be shared and spoken about with your customers can be an effective way to increase your brand awareness and position yourself as a credible expert within your industry.

Branding and Brand  Equity

Brand Equity refers to value that a company generates from a product with a recognisable name when compared to a generic equivalent.  Through marketing activities, businesses can increase their brand equity by making their brand more memorable and recognisable.

Here branding can do ten fold for your marketing and generate business by establishing yourself as the leader in the market, meaning that, regardless of whether customers have used your product or service before, they are more inclined to purchase from you as they are aware and educated about your brand. It is the reason we as consumers will pay more for panadol from a branded company such as GSK in comparison to a generic or store owned brand that we may not recognise. Despite being identical products, we are more likely to purchase from the brand that we know and as a result of branding and marketing we “trust” more.

Without having strong brand foundations such as brand messaging, identity and values, business marketing strategies such as advertising and messaging would not have the same memorable and instantly recognisable effect. This is what is known as a positive brand equity and through maintaining the initial brand values of a reliable quality product, this equity is bolstered by loyal customers who know and trust the brand.