Introduction to the basics of Branding

A Brand is how a company defines themselves and how others define the company. A brand has three primary functions and they include;
1. They stand out thus helping consumers choose from other choices.
2. They reassure the consumers that they have made the right choice with the product or service that they have purchasing.
3. They encourage the customers to identify with the brand through their engagements hence brings about customer loyalty.


For example, Blue Band is a brand in Kenya many people identify with, this is because it has of its consistency of quality thus eases the choice from other margarine products, its reassurance of making customers know that they have the right product and also on its engagements since many customers identify with it from its time of production when it used metal cans until date.
Brand Identity
Brand identity is everything the company wants the brand to be seen as. An identity is the visual appeal that is used to represent a company. Brand identity combines both the visual aspect and how the company is perceived by others. Its role is to express an idea or feeling without saying it directly about an asset. For Example, a brand + Identity = logo Thus facebook, twitter, instagram, cocacola.

Through a brand identity, one can recognize a brand and differentiate it with others and combine its idea and meaning together. For example Coca Cola Company brings out the fun factor in their drinks thus their brand identity.
Reasons to invest in Brand identity
1. It makes it easier to manage the perception of a company thus differentiating it from its competitors. This makes it easy for the customer to buy due to its easy name or its distinctive package design.
2. It makes it easy for the sales force to sell through making intelligent and effective identities that seeks to communicate the Company’s Unique Value Proposition. This sends a strong signal to the customer on the focus of the company.
3. A strong brand identity makes it easy to build brand equity through increased recognition, awareness and customer loyalty, which in turn helps make a company more successful.
Branding
This is a mark that indicates ownership through distinction. A company uses branding to build awareness and extend customer loyalty. It seizes the opportunity of choice from any other competitive brand that a customer may take by its quality perceptions.

Stakeholders
The key stakeholders include employees, target audiences, the competitors, consumers, the community, the experts, and the government among all others. They help the brand be more than just a name and maintain its reputation.

Brand strategy
It defines positioning, differentiation, the competitive advantage and a unique value proposition of the company. It is a road map that guides the sales and marketing team to sell more. A brand strategy is developed by a team that includes the CEO, marketing, sales, advertising, public relations, operations and distribution.

Cross cultures
Many companies tend to use a lot of stereotypes to sell their products and hence destroy their image in the process. A company has to know how to respect people’s culture by embracing their ideologies and bringing that feel of sense in their products. For example in Kenya, a lot of dialect is used to make people purchase their products but sometimes they go on ahead and define a lifestyle that is just stereotyped thus making the target audience feel that it is targeted for either a higher social class or a lower social class depending on their perception hence losing the mark.

The Big Idea
This is when an organization narrows its focus around their strategy, communication, values, behavior and functions. It helps a customer know the Unique Value Proposition of a company in a nutshell thus making easier choices. For Example, Kenya’s Cooperative Bank big idea is ‘we are you’. So any form of advert tries to bring together how the company is connected to the people from their idea that is simplified in a sentence.

Customer experiences
It is very important to make the customer feel satisfied after using the product or service because this defines the minds of a customer. Brand builders ought to think beyond selling to make an engaging experience with their customers that cannot be stolen from a competitor.
The principles of designing a strong brand experience are availability, social connections, available customer information, connections through worldview and lastly a simplified and natural way to interact with the customers.

Brand Architecture
It is how different brands of the company are represented within the company. It is important all contrasting elements to help a company grow and market more effectively. This is inform of the company’s intention, its value proposition, its objections all under one umbrella represented within the different brands they manufacture in the company. For example, Unilever Company has a lot of products that do not associate with each other but they serve a function in the company on how they are represented. Unilever has products that go from beauty products like fair and lovely to detergents like Omo and sunlight and also cooking products like Know, Royco, Blue band and many more others.

Names
A company should have a name that is easy to communicate with the customer about the brand and communicates with them at the same time. With the right name, a company can be able to reach beyond their target audience because of the value of what the name stands for. It has to have to meaningful, distinctive and sustainable. For example, Airtel Company, a line subscription, had a lot of names before it settled on its current one. Its name changed from Vodafone to Celtel to Zain then lastly to Airtel. This change of names can really destroy the company’s sales because the customers become affected and decide to change to another subscription that looks organized.

Taglines
A good tagline makes the company distinct because it brings together the Company’s brand essence in a simplified way. A company may use a tagline to jolt an action, to describe their products, to classify their company and many more. The difference between the big idea and taglines is that The Big idea tries to mould the customers’ perception on how the company is about inform of their products while the tagline tries to communicate with the customer on a personal level to purchase the product.

Staying on message
This is what a brand should always communicate to the customer. It brings together positive customer experience, cross culture respect, big idea and taglines together in one language. The tone and the message should be clearly demonstrated whenever the product is presented. Staying on the message is mostly a combination of what the customer knows about the product, how it makes them feel and why they cannot get enough of it from the company’s point of view, and it is maintained throughout their distribution.

– Maggy Dota, Creative