Whether it’s adidas or Nike, Coca-Cola or Pepsi, Mercedes or BMW – brands determine our everyday lives. Strong brands offer orientation, convey a sense of belonging, stir desires and occupy a firm place in consumers’ minds. Brand building – the...
Whether it’s adidas or Nike, Coca-Cola or Pepsi, Mercedes or BMW – brands determine our everyday lives. Strong brands offer orientation, convey a sense of belonging, stir desires and occupy a firm place in consumers’ minds. Brand building – the creation and upkeep of brands – thus has an essential role to play in entrepreneurial action in the effort to successfully position a brand in competitive markets and respond to changing market conditions. But against the backdrop of shifting customer needs and points of contact, there is a need for new, holistic brand strategies that will place consumers at the focus of attention.
Strong brands are not interchangeable
Well-positioned and -maintained brands live from their unique identity. According to the dictionary, the term “brand” as used in marketing designates the totality of all of the associations that brand names or marks summon forth among consumers, permitting them to distinguish a company’s products or services from those offered by competitor companies. Successful branding focuses on creating a demarcation that is as distinct as possible from other market players. This keeps brands from becoming arbitrary and hence interchangeable from the customers’ point of view.
What distinguishes a strong brand?
Brands are far more than just designations of origin, logos or designs. More than anything else, a brand is a movie that plays inside the consumer’s mind. Brands trigger emotions and associations that lead customers to choose this exact product. What consumers buy are not products, however, but stories and experiences instead. This is exactly where successful brands come in, with
credible and unambiguous brand values that permit clear positioning,
a long-term and consistent brand strategy,
consistent implementation of that brand strategy based on clear brand rules,
in the context of which the uniqueness of the brand is credibly represented and made tangible across all touchpoints.
Brand building is creates and conveys brand values that ensure establishment of the brand in the market as a feature of everyday life. Strong brands benefit from significant competitive advantages over their competitors. These include, among others:
high attractiveness among the relevant target groups
better profitability due to lower price sensitivity on the part of customers
orientation in increasingly complex market environments through recognizable differentiation
better opportunities in the job market in the fight for talent
motivating and connecting brand impact within the branded company
The focus is on the customer’s needs
But what do successful brand building and brand marketing look like against the backdrop of rapidly changing shopping and consumption behavior? Are classic television advertising and colorful packaging still adequate ways to highlight your own brand today? Particularly in the face of so many new digital players – such as online retailers – the power of brands seems to be diminishing. But appearances can be deceiving. Today’s purchasing decisions are typically influenced less by major brand names than by our personal relationships to them.
In a world in which a broad variety of offers and constant availability are making consumers more skeptical and selective, the focus of branding is turning to interacting with customers directly. Customer needs are becoming the foundation for designing personal user experiences that create trust and build a direct, approachable relationship. This personal brand experience ultimately holds the key to a successful differentiation that concentrates no longer on the product but on the customer’s experience.
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