Branding is an important marketing aspect of a business, whether you are a Business-to-Business, Business-to-Consumer, small startup or large corporate company in Singapore. What exactly is branding? Branding is a big word. To super-simply it, branding is any effort or program to build a brand where the bottom line is to better its relationship with the audience.
In Singapore, where most markets are highly competitive, branding becomes an essential. A good brand sets the distinction between you and your competitors. A good branding agency empowers your company to rise above the crowd. Branding can best be explained with a brand model. Every company’s brand model is unique. What works for a business may not work for another. The brand model consists of the following building blocks:
A brand is the core of the brand model. It is the origin where all branding activities are stemmed from. It is also the destination where the rewards of branding activities are credited to. A brand is a sign which comprises a signifier and a signified.
A symbol represents the name. Symbols can be graphic devices (logos, brand identities, etc), trade dress (packaging, uniform, vehicle, etc), spokesmen (celebrities, founders, mascots, etc), words (abbreviations, slogans, taglines, etc), sounds (unique tones, theme music, etc) or scents (unique fragrance, bouquet, etc).
A perception is the audience’s impression towards the brand. Perceptions are managed by brand stewards. A perception is also known as brand image and it can shape the audience’s experience.
An experience is the occurrence or encounter a person has with a product or service. Experiences shape perceptions. And perceptions define experiences. It is a mutual relationship.
Product or Service
A product is the merchandise, goods or wares of the brand. A service is an act of helping or doing work for someone, whether paid or unpaid. In our context, the product is used in a general sense and it includes the 5 Ps of marketing, namely: product, price, promotion, place and positioning.
A brand promise is the audience expectation of a brand. It is the benefits that marketing campaigns try to associate with a product in the audiences’ minds. Brand promises can be communicated through visible or audible mediums.
A steward is anyone related to the development or sale of a product or service. They can include senior management, brand managers, marketing managers, salesperson, customer support people and designers.
The audience is the group of people to which a product, service or message is targeted at.
Understanding the Brand Model
This diagram maps the building blocks of branding and demonstrates their relationship in the branding process. The illustrated diagram is a basic brand model that is applicable to any form of business, whether you are a startup, small business or a company. Understanding the brand model will help you create purposeful branding or marketing campaigns for your business.
Branding is a long-term business strategy which seeks to manage the perceptions of the audience. The brand is what remains after each and every branding or marketing campaign. It is what hangs on in your mind associated with a product, service, or company. Branding imprints associations in your mind whether or not, at that particular moment, you heeded the call to action of the business. A call to action may be to click a link, fill up an online form, purchase a product or recommend a service.
The brand is built from many things. It is neither a mere logo nor a standalone campaign. The brand is the sum total of branding efforts by the stewards. How have you been managing your brand? How was your brand journey?