“Branding is about taking something common and improving upon it in ways that make it more valuable and meaningful” (Bedbury, 2002).
Branding is not just a logo, tagline, jingles etc. it is an intangible concept. A brand is a guarantee of quality, a promise, it represents origin, performance and benefits. A brand is the totality of perceptions; from everything you see, hear, read, know, feel, think etc. about a product, service or business. It holds a distinctive position in customer’s minds based on past experiences, associations and expectations. A brand reduces the decision-making process.
A brand is emotional, has a personality, and captures the hearts and minds of its customers. Great brands survive attacks from competitors and market trends because of the strong connections they forge with customers. (Michael J. Critelli of Pitney Bowes)
A brand reduces the decision-making process. It acts as a short-cut of attributes, benefits, beliefs and values that differentiate and reduce complexity. Without trusted brands as benchmarks, consumers would be overwhelmed with information and choice.
Research shows the power of branding. The financial market performance of 23 of 30 German DAX companies were compared and the results showed that companies with strong brands recovered significantly faster from the stock market “slump” after the American terrorist attack 9/11, than weaker brands. This shows that strong brands provide companies with higher return.
A brand that can successfully manage the promise of quality can lead to the power to command a premium price among customers and a premium stock price among investors. Not only can earnings increase, but downturns can be cushioned (Khermouch et al., 2001).
Brands need to form strong relationships with their customer (Keller 2003; Aaker/Joachimsthaler 2000).
The most neglected marketing opportunity in the B2B arena is the building of a strong brand (Hague 1996).
For successful enterprises, the full understanding of branding is necessary to stay competitive (Malaval 2001; Hague 1994).
Hardly any company neglects the importance of brands in B2C (Kotler and Pfoertsch 2007).
To be successful in both B2C and B2B worlds, a holistic branding approach is needed. This should cover everything from the development and design to the implementation of marketing programs, processes, and activities that are intersecting and interdependent. Marketing and brand management will be critical to a company’s success (Kotler and Pfoertsch 2007).
Brands cannot be created through some fancy advertisements, it is a long-term investment not aimed at improving short-term sales. Brands are developed through experiences and promises that are consistently fulfilled.