In a simple language, brand building is about communicating with the brand’s customers, prospects and the influencers. What is communicated with them and how it is done is the rest of branding exercise.
The internet is inundated with articles and papers on how to build and nurture a brand but an apt definition comes from the renowned marketing gurus of the world – It is a voyage of building a corporate soul and infectiously communicating it inside and outside the company to all your partners, so that your customers truly get what your brand promises.
A brand conveys an emotion, an identity, the benefits, a social message and the ability to make the audience imagine or get assured of THE PROMISE, the product or service that it represents. A brand manager or brand custodian’s sole objective is to keep the brand always in a recall mode of the audience, which is achieved by advertising about the brand’s products or services in magazines or newspapers or technical journals. It is also done through social events like sponsoring a musical concert or a sporting event. But the most important job of a Brand Manager is to ensure either the product or service that the brand represents is in no way offends the feelings of its audience in terms of usage or inference of a message that is not socially well appreciated or accepted.
A brand is considered a winner when two crucial moments of truth happen at the hands of its customer- firstly by selecting a brand among the many that offers similar products or services and secondly by using that product or service to verify the promise made by the brand about that product or service. If the promise is not fulfilled, the customer is dissatisfied and consequently the brand earns a bad name and it is a huge challenge for the marketing persons of the company to employ methods to restore its image as a performing brand. A consistently non-performing brand quickly vanishes from the market with low sales of its products or services.
In a highly globalised environment and in a hyper competitive market, a successful brand needs to constantly establish its status as a performing brand and the communications that go out from the organisation seek to re-affirm its promise and continue to keep the positive image in the minds of the customers. Brand names or logos alone do not sustain the position of the brand in the market place. It is how well the brand is oriented or the lack of its orientation tells you if the brand is a winner or not. Brands differentiate, reduce risk and complexity, and communicate the benefits and value a product or service can provide.
Both B2C and B2B companies need to build their brands for sustenance and longevity of business. It should never be taken as a sub-sect of marketing. A brand being an asset of the organisation, it is vital that the top leader conceives a holistic approach to building a brand and ensures a strategy towards executing that approach to win more customers. Brand management is a portfolio of the Chief Executive with a senior leader of his/her team focusing independently on it. This is the first step towards successfully creating a brand. It is crucial to align brand and business strategy, and it can be effectively done if the brand is monitored and championed closely by the top management of an organization. A start-up with a VC funding has a low gestation period and hence the founder or CEO needs to focus on the messaging from Day 1 to its intended customer segment and the message needs to highlight a solution to a problem and how that solution differentiates the brand from its competitors. The faster the reach of that message, the quicker is the sales graph going up.
A good brand promises the benefits, attracts more customers by constantly communicating those benefits and creates a sense of pride among its internal and external partners. Bigger corporates get valuated on their brands by 3rd party agencies and Brand valuation is an important parameter in the performance metrics of the organisation for the stock exchanges, competitor analysis and investors.