3 Reasons why branding is totally worth it
People often ask me what the point is of branding, why all the fuss and investment in time, resources and column inches in all those damn marketing gazettes. My answer is really quite simple; branding that works will become your greatest advocate and most valuable and effective sales tool. Why? Because it generates levels of the one thing in your customers that no other marketing, media or promotional activity can replicate or match. Loyalty.
Loyal customers unthinkingly make repeat purchases, are more willing to accept higher prices and stay around even if you cock it up (the emissions scandal did horrible damage to VW’s reputation but we still kept buying the cars).
So how do we become brand loyal in the first place?
Brand loyal means at the point of purchase, we don’t consider the alternatives to ‘our’ brands – we buy blind, and broadly speaking there are three key triggers that create this loyalty.
1. Human nature
Humans are by nature lazy and risk averse and brands work as a purchase on speed dial while reducing the risks we all associate with spending money.
And big part of brand communication is all about reminding us how great we are together, of the good times we’ve shared, the satisfying experiences, because the best brands know how much we value the security that comes with consistent and repeatable quality, with knowing what we are going to get. And consumers confident that a great experience will be repeated, are loyal consumers.
2 A shorthand identity
Modern brands work as badges that help us communicate much of what we want to say about ourselves to the world. Brands used to be about status, but status expressed by and large as wealth – but today, modern brands help us express so much more.
To put my anthropologists hat on, brands today are symbolic units that we are use, along with other symbolic units drawn from career, music, fashion, religion, etc, to create the picture we want to portray of ourselves. Brands now deliver value not just by the products or services they represent, but by the meanings they generate for us. They help us express who we are and what we stand for – they are in effect, our identity shorthand to the world.
3 The tribe
At the heart of successful branding lies a sense of community and the ability to be part of something larger than yourself.
Today’s tribes, the sneakerheads, slackers, data traders, kerchinging sixties and next-gen eco warriers are clearly defined and targeted by the brands wanting to play on shared passions, purchasing power.
Building a brand tribe is not an easy task, but it’s seriously beneficial. Tribes have no logical geographical or cultural limitations, are the largest and ripest market for product or portfolio extension and members generally become passionate and loyal brand ambassadors.
Media fragmentation has meant the modern consumer is a much flightier and unreliable creature, able to shop around at the click of a mouse. Which is precisely why the loyalty we can effect through great products and effective branding generates commercial benefits on a scale still unmatched by any other marketing activity.
For when the job is done –the fish is hooked.