No company, no matter how old or new, should ignore the significance of creating a brand image and branding their products. Despite what some people believe, branding is not a self-congratulatory gimmick that some companies and organisations waste their time and money on; it is an important element of business that is used to attract customers by creating an identifiable image that stands out in our already saturated modern-day market place.
When answering the question 'what is branding?', it may help to consult what professional bodies, such as the Chartered Institute Of Marketing and the American Marketing Association, deem to be the definition of branding, and how the definitions they give help to cement our understanding of the term.
The AMA's definition of branding is:
"(the)name, term, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of them intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of other sellers”
whilst the CIM defines a brand as being:
“The set of physical attributes of a product or service, together with the beliefs and expectations surrounding it - a unique combination which the name or logo of the product or service should evoke in the mind of the audience”.
The two look like very different definitions of branding, but if you look closely you'll see what they both have at their heart is 'the customer', or more accurately their desire to have their brand recognised prominently in the market, thereby attracting new customers and retaining current ones.
This can be both a positive or negative thing depending on your reputation. For example, if your brand is reputed for being fashionable or for producing high quality goods then you will likely get good, regular custom, but there will also be high expectations of you; and one or two let-downs can be enough to cause immeasurable damage to your business and market share. A perfect example of this would be Blackberry, who were extremely popular until they lost out to Apple and Samsung due to their inability to produce smart-phones of equal calibre.
Now it may seem like by branding you're inviting nothing but trouble, but it is better than the alternatives, where on one hand your business has a negative image, which makes the public not want to buy from it due to lack of trust or on principle; and on the other you have a business that is an unknown entity, and is passed over simply because it is not recognised where as other brands are.
Promoting yourself properly is very important when it comes to cultivating a good brand identity. Social media, for example, is a great way of developing a brand personality, as it acts as a mouth piece for your business and allows the individuals that make up a company to express their passion and interest for what the business does in a way that can aid customers and make them feel as though the business cares about and values them as a person.
Another way in which promotional activities help to achieve a positive brand identity is by working to develop a unique and recognisable brand image. This is where things like logos, stylised lettering, formatting and straplines come in to play, and incidentally is also where promotional tools such as personalised pens can be exploited for maximum reach and effect. To find out how you can use personalised pens to grow your brand image, take a look at our blog post on why personalised pens will work for your business, and if you're still left wanting for inspiration why not read our 7 ideas for personalised pens.