According to a recent study from Deloitte Digital, 76 percent of consumers who said they felt a relationship with a brand said they continued to use that brand for four years or more because of the trust they have in it. In other words, brands were able to make an emotional connection with their customers that lasted for years. When the consumer sees a new product or service, almost 60 percent of them are more likely to buy the new product from a brand they already like.
What is driving these consumers to have such trust and loyalty to their favorite brands? How are brands able to establish themselves as a favorite in the first place? In addition to delivering quality products and services consistently, successful brands work hard to develop these positive emotional reactions through branding.
What is Branding?
More than simply assigning a name and designing a logo, branding is a strategy for helping people to quickly identify products, services and communications from a particular company. It’s the process of giving meaning to organizations and companies and the experiences their customers have with products, services and employees. Branding is a promise that you make to your customers and defines what sets you apart from the competition.
Branding may be a process meant to influence buyers, but it affects employees and other important stakeholders by building the company’s reputation and distinguishing the experience of working for or with an organization from others. It helps define expectations for customer- and public-facing employees and provides guidelines for the look, feel and tone of company communications.
What Branding Can Do
As businesses and consumers choose how and where to spend their money, some questions come to mind that must be answered before a confident decision can be reached. First, who are you? People can be wary about doing business with a company with which they are unfamiliar. Brand recognition helps people quickly identify which company is connected to the product or service they are considering.
Next, people must also feel they can trust an organization before they are ready to spend money. A polished, professional and consistent look and feel on communications such as a company’s website, social media profiles, advertising and product packaging helps to convey that the company is legitimate and starts removing trust barriers that may exist.
Worth a Thousand Words
Another critical question that must be answered before consumers and businesses are ready to make a purchase decision comes down to brand values. People are more discerning than ever in this area, and almost two-thirds of global consumers in one survey said they prefer to purchase from brands whose purpose reflects their own values and beliefs. Almost three-quarters want more transparency surrounding issues such as safe working conditions, animal testing and product sourcing. Sixty-two percent preferred brands that are focused on improving the environment. Lastly, almost half no longer did business with a company following a moment of brand disappointment.
In other words, people want to know that part of what they’re buying includes the brand doing good in the world beyond that single transaction. Steering clear of hot-button issues may have been the advice for brands in the past, but today’s consumers are more likely to view such silence as inaction. How, then, can companies summarize all the points that their consumers are interested in without attaching a full white paper to every product, blog post, web page and advertisement? With branding, of course!
By defining the values you want your organization to represent and creating a consistent set of visual representations for the company, you can start weaving the details of your brand’s value into a story that satisfies your audience and positively connects with their emotions. Over time, those positive emotional connections will become a shortcut for the long list of questions and roadblocks, and ultimately, the visuals that are associated with your brand will be a shortcut to those emotions and answers.
In essence, branding allows you to tell a story of a thousand words in an instant.
Is Your Branding Working?
The ultimate goal of today’s organizations should be to build a community through branding and marketing. In that community, consumers, prospects, employees and stakeholders all interact with the brand in a way that’s meaningful to them to bring about positive results. The guidelines of that community and the interactions are dictated and supported by the organization’s branding. When it’s done right, each segment of the audience should feel a bit of pride in being aligned with the brand’s core values and be ready to join the brand’s journey.
Whether you’re building a brand from the ground up, rebranding for a fresh start or hoping to rejuvenate your brand and breathe new life into it, branding should be a focused, deliberate process that’s supported by research. Branding is more than choosing colors that seem nice and picking from a few logo mock-ups; it’s the process of making a promise to your customers and stakeholders, and then following through.
Wingspan Communications has a proven track record for helping brands build emotional connections with consumers and stakeholders at all levels. Whether you need help with one piece of the puzzle such as research or product naming, or are ready to dive into a complete branding package with brochures, websites, social media, and PR let us be your trusted partner as you craft an image that people will be proud to stand behind.