Branding: Managing Your Brand

Have you ever stopped to reflect on the importance that brands have for business success, regardless of industry or company size?

Companies with name recognition are easily brought to mind, and this is not a matter of chance or “sacred spirit,” as I sometimes talk about in the classroom.

Proper brand management is central to this success.

But what makes one brand more memorable than another?

When it comes to powdered chocolate drinks In Brazil, one particular brand comes to mind: I personally am a loyal Toddy customer.

I trace this brand preference back to the late 70’s, when little Fort Apache soldiers came inside the glass jars. If memory serves me, one soldier came in the smaller jars and two in the larger jars. For those of the youngest generation who have no idea what I’m talking about, Toddy ran a marketing campaign in which it put little plastic soldiers or Indians inside each glass jar. By buying the brand every week, you could collect the set and put together the complete Fort Apache.

Naturally, in wanting to complete the collection, children drank more milk with Toddy. With this “pressure” exerted by the children, especially boys (back then, boys’ and girls’ games were clearly delineated), there was no way for mothers to go to the store and not come back with one or more jars of the product — to the delight of the manufacturers and sales teams.

When it comes to brand management there is some confusion about a few terms, which we will try to clarify now.

After all what is a brand, and what is branding?

When we talk about a brand, we usually mention the company logo.

Although not incorrect, the concept of a brand is much broader and more complex than deciding on or designing a distinctive graphic symbol as a form of identification. A brand communicates experiences and feelings to customers, together with values and the perception — taking into account if not all of the senses, then whichever are most appropriate for the business — necessary to identify the company and its products and services.

Your brand is everything that has to do with your company. It can be your logo, your name, your main colors. But it’s more than that.

Harley Davidson, for example, is known, among other things, for the characteristic growl of its motors. In 1990, it won in court the right to sole ownership of the sound that issues from the exhaust pipes of its motorcycles.

Did you ever think of that growl as part of the Harley Davidson brand?

This means that rather than just rendering your business’s name in a visual format for identification, all the other elements that represent your business and reach current and potential clients must be conceived of as part of the brand.

For those just starting out, there are two fundamental aspects of brand identity, or representation in the market, that an entrepreneur in the initial phases of business must necessarily think about: the “name” and the “logo.” Even small businesses need a brand. The process of brand-building (known as “branding”) is important for new entrepreneurs. It consists of first developing or identifying a competitive advantage, an aspect that differentiates you from the competition, that can be perceived by the customer, and then exploiting it.

What, then, is “branding”?

Branding, or brand management, is a set of strategic initiatives that, when properly implemented, contribute to the construction of customers’ positive perception of your company, i.e., you become perceived the way you want to be.

It is related to your identity, which must be unique and linked to the desires and needs of your target audience — that is, the audience you want to win over. Therefore, it is correct to say that branding is your customers’ perception of your brand.

Branding is, therefore, the management of a brand. It is all the work performed with the aim of making the brand more well-known, better remembered, more desired, more sedimented in consumers’ minds and, especially, hearts. It involves everything from the design of the brand to the daily marketing activities of the company.

That is why it is important for companies to engage in brand management and help construct perceptions about the company and its products and services, using customers’ experiences. Branding creates reputation and recognition and, consequently, improves business results and even optimizes publicity and advertising investments.

Are the concepts of, and the differences between, brand and branding clear?

What else would you like to know in order to implement a project for a brand that generates results for your business?

Have you heard of brand equity? In the coming weeks I will tackle that topic.

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