Now more than ever, consumers are bombarded with advertisements. Simply drive down your local highway and take notice to the number of billboards, flip through your favorite magazine and you realize that more than half of the pages are advertisements, surf the net and you find yourself closing pop-up ads that appear from no where. Companies are offering free consultations, free samples, or rebates; anything to entice the consumer.
Companies are forced to develop new marketing tactics to attract new prospects and keep existing customers. The old myth that consumers can be fooled seems to be making this task even more challenging. Obviously, as marketing media techniques become more prevalent consumers are even more wary of advertising.
Several years ago companies did not have the competition they have today. In the present day, we are not only competing with the business down the street but we are battling with a world market. This brings me to branding. For some companies they know, understand, and live by it. For others it is foreign, and trying to figure it out seems overwhelming. What companies need to realize is that branding can make the difference in a roller-coaster economy. Companies with a strong branding presence will not experience the pain that others suffer and will find greater prosperity during the good times.
So what is a brand?
There are many different definitions of a brand. The American Marketing Association (AMA) defines a brand as a "name, term, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of them intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from one another”.
In essence, the “Brand” is the reputation, reliability, quality and respect your company earns from the public. Branding involves consistency in your presentation and message, allowing customers to become familiar with your logo and slogan (if you have one).
A testament to this is the “Golden arches” of McDonalds. You’re driving down the road and up ahead in the distance your eye catches the arches. Before you can even read the words, you know immediately that it is McDonalds. If you did not notice the “Golden arches,” I am sure that your little ones would begin screaming out “I want a happy meal”.
Branding is not only about getting your target audience to choose your company over the competition. It's about getting your prospects to see you as a consistent and reliable foundation; the only one that can satisfy their need(s) and/or provide a solution to their problem.
A strong brand is priceless as the fight for consumers intensifies day by day. It's vital to spend time researching, defining, and building your brand. After all, your brand is the source of a promise to your consumer. It's a significant piece in your marketing communication and one you do not want to abandon.