Considering the growth of competition and the need of differentiation, the brand concept and the branding process generate intense debates among business and marketing people. Yet, many times there is a confusion between the visual expression and symbolism of a brand (what it is seen, the top of the iceberg) and the brand itself – what lays beneath, the whole construction of the business actually, which sustains the visual part and renders it its substance.
The brand concept has started by being defined as the identity of a company, product or service (or any other entity, according to the case), which is characterised through a set of values or ”personality traits” which are traceable in everything that entity does and offers. If for instance we have a luxury shoes brand, characterized by quality and design, these two characteristics should be found in all meeting points of the consumer with the brand, be it the offline store, the online shop or even the way the employees behave and look like. The coherence of these manifestation forms is crucial in building a strong brand, the clarity of the associations being one of the most important indicators in branding. Imagine a case in which, though the shoes are of a high quality and have a refined design, the store is dirty or disorganised, the sellers are unprepared or careless or the website is working slowly and the pictures of the products are unclear. All these “meetings” with the brand create mixed and sometimes dissonant impressions, which in their turn create confusion or, even worse, distrust, affecting thus the buying process directly.
It is because of all this that recently the brand as a concept has exceeded the limit of the source entity and has embedded also the relation with the audience, with the consumers, more specifically, the mental projection that they have on the respective brand. Their perception is the one that defines the brand now and the more these perceptions are more different and unaligned, the more the brand loses force, attractiveness and clarity, all these being essential criteria for preference and then purchase. Presence, clarity and positive associations in the minds of the consumers are the ones that determine most of the times that a brand is being bought over another.
And since the brand is stemming from the interaction with the consumers in all meeting points, the responsibility to build a brand does not stay only with the marketing team, but with the whole company, as a matter of fact.
If you want to learn more about how to build a strong brand, which are the main brand indicators and how to interpret their evolution in time, register for Brand Essence courses: https://brandessence.ro/cursuri/.