Why you should build a strong brand

Posted by Mänga in Branding


“From all the things
that your company owns,
brands are by far and away
the most important and
the toughest.
Founders die.
Factories burn down.
Machinery wears out.
Inventories get depleted.
Technology becomes obsolete.
Brand loyalty is the only solid foundation on which business leaders can build enduring, profitable growth.”

— Jim Mullen, advertising legend

It’s a branded world
In today’s brutally competitive markets, where innovation is a short-lived advantage, information clutter stifles marketing messages and commoditization is the kiss of death, businesses everywhere are capitalizing on the power of distinct, strong brands.

Brand, Logo, Identity—what’s the difference?
The words brand, logo and identity are thrown around liberally these days, often with different meanings to different people, so it may help to start by asking: what’s the difference between logo, identity and brand?

Brand is more tricky to define. It has many definitions, depending on who you ask, so it’s probably easier to say what it’s not: it’s not your logo, your slogan or your advertising. It’s rather something akin to your business reputation. It’s a set of perceptions and associations people have about your company or product. So, it’s all about what your customer thinks, not what you think. Customer perceptions are created by a series of touch-points—the interactions customers have with a brand.

Logo is short for logotype—a graphic representation of a brand—a picture and the perception created by it. The logo is the essential part of an organization’s visual program.

Identity which is often (mistakenly) used interchangeably with logo, encompasses much more than its logo. Other elements such as name, corporate colours and even the music customers hear while on hold on the telephone, are elements of the identity.

What is branding?
If brands are the sum of these perceptions and associations in people’s minds, then branding is the attempt to influence and control these associations to help business performance. In practical terms, branding is a way of clearly highlighting what makes your offer different to, and more desirable than anyone else’s. Research shows that branding can enhance the actual customer’s experience with the product—aesthetically and psychologically. Creativity and imagination are crucial to the success of a brand.

More than the sum of its parts
Brands act as a guarantee—a visual or verbal shorthand for rewards. They create customer value because they reduce both the effort and the risk of buying things. A brand is a promise and keeping promises is all about being consistent. In many cases, the promise of a brand stems from the personality and values of an organization’s founder. Successful brands build a distinct personality with consistent behaviour.

Branding needs to start with a clear point of view on what an organization should be about and how it will deliver sustainable competitive advantage, then organize itself so it can deliver on it. The visual elements of branding should then symbolize that difference and lodge it memorably in people’s minds.

The creative, visual and verbal elements of a brand are the most beneficial to a company—these are the impetus that connect, inspire and engage people externally and internally. Sadly, because they seem intangible, these elements of the brand can be taken less seriously than they deserve by senior management.

Who wants to be a commodity?
Price will always be a factor in choice. But choosing to act like a commodity, rather than a trusted and differentiated brand, will certainly be unsustainable—only ensuring a short and brutish existence. Strong brands have extraordinary economic value and when well managed, brands are the most effective and efficient creators of sustainable wealth.

MängaDesign provides design and brand communication expertise to companies who value their brands. We work with clients to find and convey the essence, character and purpose of their business—the heart and soul of their brand. We help them establish meaningful differentiation and the essential brand attributes needed to form long-term relationships with their customers, through humanly relevant brand communications.

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02 Apr 2013