Sooner or later, every businessman thinks about branding. Someone develops a brand at the stage of business planning, someone a few years after the product is put on the market. But in both cases, the brand is born at the same time – at the moment of the first contact between the product and the consumer.
The trick is that a brand is not a logo, not a corporate identity, not packaging, and not even what is called a "Brand Platform". A brand is a certain set of emotions, associations, images and thoughts that arise in the consumer's head when they come into contact with your product, both directly and through intermediate media, such as advertising, public opinion and the media. That is why, whether you want it or not, if your product is sold on the market, you already have a brand.
Conscious brand building and systematic work with it gives the business the opportunity to control and form the right image in the minds of the consumer and thereby increase the value of the product and the company. At the same time, companies devoid of a branding strategy develop chaotically and only due to the properties of the product itself.
Brand formation in the consumer's mind
How does the brand formation take place in the consumer's head? We'll figure it out now. In the process of working on the brand, we lay the foundation, which is called the "brand platform". Here we define the general philosophy and vision of the company. For ourselves, we answer the following questions: "who is our consumer", "how does our product differ from others", "what benefits does the product give to the consumer". Here we begin to form the legend of the company. It can be a real story, or a fictional one, such as the CHEVIGNON company, the hero who was a fictional character.
<figure> <img data-manual-lazy src="https://api.mad7.ru/uploads/1_089f69419d_c4ce0ace4e.jpg" alt="Brand Building Structure"> <figcaption>Brand Building Structure</figcaption> </figure> </p>
When the work on the platform is completed, a creative concept is being developed that will allow you to visualize branding ideas. It is at this stage that the logo, corporate identity, identity elements, packaging and the overall visual design of the product are developed. These elements will become the link between the product and the brand. They will act as markers on the market map, by which the consumer will be guided.
But, first of all, the brand is influenced by the product itself. Its consumer properties, quality, appearance, convenience, and so on. Through direct consumption of the product, the consumer's brain forms the basic idea of the brand.
Opinions of leaders or just acquaintances, trends of mass culture can both strengthen and weaken your brand
In addition to the product itself and the branding strategy, external factors will necessarily influence the brand. Opinions of leaders or just acquaintances, trends of mass culture can both strengthen and weaken your brand. For example, the trend of Western countries for healthy, "organic" food has hit fast food brands very negatively, and on the contrary, the trend of a healthy lifestyle and sports has strengthened the positions of manufacturers of sporting goods. Of course, the largest market players with their multibillion-dollar budgets, such as Coca-Cola, Nike and Apple, are able to independently form trends and influence people's behavior, but most companies still have to adapt to the demands of society.
Also important factors are the context of consumption and promotion. The environment in which a person comes into contact with a product and advertising leaves an imprint on the brand and the product as a whole. That is why you need to be careful about the choice of advertising media. Advertising food on a dirty bus does not make it attractive, and the money spent on advertising can only worsen the company's image.
Also, do not forget about competitors who can talk about your product directly or indirectly, thereby worsening the image of your brand.
What role does each element of the brand play?
The process of brand formation can be divided into 2 branches – promotion and consumption. The diagram shows what function the brand platform and identity elements perform. Globally, we can say that in the process of promotion, we form certain consumer expectations, and in the process of consumption, a person forms a perception through personal experience and it is very important that the formed expectations coincide with reality.
As for the graphic elements, at the stage of promotion, their main task is to introduce the consumer to the brand and link the promoted properties of the product to specific graphic symbols. At the stage of consumption, these symbols also accumulate a person's experience. As a result, we can say that a brand is a combination of formed expectations and real consumer experience.
It is through working on the quality of the product and purposeful work on the formation of the image that truly strong brands are born.