What is product branding? You’ve been hearing the term, but you don’t understand what it means. Let me break it down for you so it’s easy to understand. It’s important to know this for a successful online business. It helps you stand out to look more professional and trustworthy.
If you’re interested in starting an online marketing business, then your product (or service) branding is how you communicate with your customers. It’s how you differentiate your product from all the other products out there. Did you know that people will remember your brand more than people?
You need to have an effective strategy to give you an edge over all your competition. If you think your brand is all over the place right now, then stay with me and we’ll talk strategy, OK? But first, let’s give it a proper definition.
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- 1 Product Branding Definition – What Is It?
- 2 Why Is Branding Important?
- 3 How To Brand A Product – Time To Think!
- 4 4 Step Strategy For Branding
- 5 Conclusion
Product Branding Definition – What Is It?
The Business Dictionary defines it as:
“The process involved in creating a unique name and image for a product in the consumers’ mind, mainly through advertising campaigns with a consistent theme. Branding aims to establish a significant and differentiated presence in the market that attracts and retains loyal customers.”
So that’s not so bad, right. Simply put, it’s the way you present yourself and your product to your desired audience. Though it involves your name, your website, and your logo, it’s also about the emotional response it creates in your customers.
Think about all the surrounding brands. Coke, McDonald’s, iPhone, Xbox, etc. Most everyone knows what their logos and packaging look like, but they also elicit some sort of emotion from their customers.
And because of that emotion, these companies have secured loyal customers who will return, time and time again.
Successful branding will also add value to your product. A generic brand might very well be identical to your branded product. But in the mind of your loyal customer, they perceive your product is of higher quality.
Why Is Branding Important?
As I mentioned above, branding can change how people perceive your product. So this element of your business is crucial to the overall impact you want to deliver. Branding can drive new traffic to your site, which in turn increases your brand awareness.
Branding Gets You Noticed
This is probably the most important reason why you would want to brand your product. This is how you become known to your customers.
Your logo and design elements are the face of your business. It’s what allows you to stand out from your competitors. And your unique messaging is how you would get your brand out there.
When all these pieces come together, you create an emotional connection with your customers. The great part is that they really can’t say why, just that you’ve affected how they feel about you. Crazy eh?
Now think about the Coca-Cola brand versus a no-name brand. Which one gives you an emotional connection? Most people would say Coke!
Be careful to always deliver what you promise though. Your customers are heavily influenced by the expectations they get from your brand, and if you don’t meet them, all your work will be for nothing.
Branding Adds Value To Your Business
Successful branding is important to your future business. It will give it more value, and therefore more leverage in the industry.
Your increased value can allow for:
- Better ranking for your online business.
- More generated traffic, leads, and sales.
- Investment opportunities from interested parties.
- An increased sales value if you decide to sell.
Who do you think has greater business value? Coke, or a no-name Cola? If both were looking for investors, I believe Coca-Cola’s chances are far greater than the other.
Coke has much bigger leverage in the soft drink industry than an unknown cola. And this is due to the consistent improvement and tweaking of their already well-known brand.
Branding Brings New Customers
A strong brand not only brings repeat customers but a lot of referral business as well. If your current customers are pleased with your product or service, and it’s brought them relief from whatever “pain point” you’re addressing, don’t you think they’ll refer you to their friends and family?
That familiarity will bring you a lot of new business. When you build trust with your customers, word-of-mouth referrals are a great advertising technique.
Branding Can Bring Employee Pride
If you happen to employ people to help run your business, a well-known brand can have a big impact on their satisfaction and pride in the work they do.
If they know that your business is reputable and is highly regarded by the public, it makes their jobs more fulfilling and enjoyable. Don’t you think they’d work that much harder for you, too? It’s a win-win.
Think of all the Coca-Cola employees out there. They must be proud to work for such an amazing company. Well, most of them anyway, lol.
Coca-Cola does much more for the community than just selling soft drinks. They provide millions in charitable donations, guided by three priorities: women, water and community well-being. Wouldn’t you be proud to work for them?
Branding Creates Trust In The Industry
Trust is the one thing online marketers want from their audience. And your professional appearance will do that for you.
A professional appearance gives people the impression that you’re an expert in your field, which in turn helps them to trust your products and services.
Back to Coke again, LOL. If you were travelling to another country, and you were out shopping for some refreshing drinks on a hot day, which would you most like to choose? Coca-Cola? Or a local brand you know nothing about?
Branding Makes Advertising Easier
Advertising is a major part of your branding strategy. And when you use a consistent logo, colour theme, message, etc., it’s much easier to create a cohesive advertising strategy.
Without this consistency, you’d be always looking for new elements each time you sent out an ad. That wouldn’t only be a big waste of your time, but confusing to your desired audience. That turns people away, which is the last thing you want for your business.
How To Brand A Product – Time To Think!
This step can take some time, but it’s an important journey. There are many how-to’s online, but I found most to be for large companies using multiple teams for various forms of advertising.
For a single entrepreneur with your own business, I would suggest asking yourself a few questions first. Your answers will help define what kind of branding strategy you’ll want to create.
- What is your company’s vision or mission statement? Why did you start this company? What is it’s purpose?
- Who are your customers? Is it too broad an audience? Do you need to narrow it down?
- What are the needs of your customers? What do they desire from you?
- What value and benefits are you offering to your customers?
- What do your customers already think of you, or if you’re new, what would you like them to think?
Successful branding tells the customer what they can expect from you, and if you are reliable. They want to know you stand above your competition. That’s how you build trust and loyalty, and more importantly, repeat customers.
4 Step Strategy For Branding
Your strategy for branding is very important. It will be your plan to build your product and your business’s identity in a very large marketplace.
Once you’ve secured a successful brand, you will be able to modify and change your product as the climate changes. No product stays stagnant. There are always improvements, design changes etc.
I heard Evan Carmichael express his views on Youtube. He has you start off with what you stand for, your “One Word”. He’s an awesome speaker! Enjoy…
Wasn’t that great!
Ok, let’s look at the four steps strategy.
#1: Your Purpose
Think about your “why”. Why are you promoting what it is you’re promoting. When you define what it is that inspires you, your customer will appreciate your honesty and it raises your appeal.
There are too many online businesses that just seem concerned with the next sale. The customer is treated as just another number versus a real person.
Think of the brand “Honest Tea“. Their mission statement says:
“Honest Tea seeks to create and promote great-tasting, healthy, organic beverages. We strive to grow our business with the same honesty and integrity we use to craft our recipes, with sustainability and great taste for all.”
Doesn’t this inspire you to buy their tea, rather than a cheaper one with nothing to say? This is why these companies have loyalty in their customers. They state their values and combine the emotional with the physical.
Once you’ve figured out your “why”, put it in a sentence of 3 to 7 words, and make it your slogan. Remember to make it emotional, yet something catchy that will catch on!
#2: Your Logo
This can be your business name, your domain name or an image. Think of Honest Tea again. Their logo is their name with a leaf crossing the “t”.
My suggestion is that you keep your logo fairly simple. That way it’s easier for customers to remember.
You might also want your logo horizontal, versus vertical. If you add it to your website header, a horizontal logo will sit better. A vertical one will widen your header, therefore lowering your content.
Next, you want your colour palette to make your brand stand out!
Choose at the most 2 or 3 flat colours. This is because gradient colours (one colour fading to another) take longer to load, and harder to reproduce on company mugs or t-shirts, for example.
Did you know that colours have a psychological impact on customer behaviour and decisions? Blue typically means “safe”, red “urgency”, purple “wisdom”, etc.
Here’s a great article on the psychology of colours to read.
Another important consideration is your font choices.
Is it easy to read? Easy on the eyes? I know there are so many fun fonts out there, but consider your customer. If they can’t easily read it, they’ll just go elsewhere.
When designing your logo, slogan, or even your entire website, you should stick to no more than three fonts total. AAny more and it’s too much for your readers to digest.
#3: Your Identity
Once you’ve designed your logo, and have your slogan, you need to repeatedly communicate it on all products, written communication, and digital platforms (website and social media).
Consistency is key to a successful branding strategy!
The more consistent you are with this, the more recognized your brand becomes. So wherever you advertise your product, you should have your identity (logo) stamped on it.
This is also a good idea for images or infographics you design. There is less chance of others “borrowing” your images if your logo is front and center.
Consistency also means only talking about things that enhance your brand. Don’t suddenly divert from your mission statement and add, or talk about something not related to your product.
This will only confuse your customers and potentially lose them. This also applies to your other elements, such as your colour scheme.
The biggest advantage of being consistent is if and when you need to make a change, you can. When your brand is highly recognized on the market, you can safely be flexible.
There may come a time that you need to modernize your brand to stay ahead of the competition.
For example, Kentucky Fried Chicken. What started out in 1930 as fried chicken from the state of Kentucky, ended up becoming KFC by 1991.
You’ll notice that the colonel’s image is still used in its logo. Their identity was so well recognized that changing the name, and adding additional products to their menu, only helped their success.
#4: Your Management
Now that you’ve got your logo and slogan added to everything connected to your business, you need to properly manage your brand. Keep your business in a positive light by:
- Keeping your customers satisfied with high-quality products at an affordable price.
- Providing excellent customer service.
- Using attractive packaging, whether physical or digital.
- Offering occasional discounts to keep your customers happy and returning.
Remember that consistency never takes a break. And that’s with your customer engagement as well.
I saw an interesting example of this online. A company who prides themselves on the sleek, minimalistic design of their product, yet has their customer service respond with a bulky, multi-step process.
Don’t you think that’s a little contradictory? If a customer had to go through that for help, it would certainly take away from their entire brand image.
Your management plan should also include keeping your eyes open for the latest trends. Especially where it concerns your targeted audience.
Just like updating the “Kentucky Fried Chicken” logo to keep it modernized, you need to make sure your product and services are still what your customers need and want.
With any shifts you need to make, you still want to reflect your identity. Your customers will appreciate knowing you’re still “you”.
So now that we’ve covered what branding is, and how to create a great branding strategy for your business, are there other areas you need help with?
Or maybe you’re at the very beginning of your online adventure and researching all the different things you need to accomplish to become successful?
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Do you have a business that needs branding? If so, what have you done so far? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you.
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