Branding - A Vital Weapon
All of you must have heard of the word ‘branding’. Did you know however, that the genesis of this word lies in animal husbandry?
From ancient times, it has been a practice to mark cattle using unique and distinguishable symbols, so that the owner of a particular cow or ox could be easily identified. This was done since one cow or ox looks practically the same as another! This practice was called branding and the symbol was called ‘brand’. This practice is followed by cattle owners even today. (Trivia – the word earmarking also traces its origin to a similar practice; that of making a small mark behind the ears of a cow).
Today, branding is a widely-used term in business, and is a highly-evolved science. Still, the fundamental reason for branding has not changed: it is to tell people (i.e., consumers) that a certain product or service belongs to you and that it offers something unique to the person who buys it.
In your journey as an entrepreneur, it is vital for you to brand your offering right. While your product or service may itself be excellent, branding it properly will give it that added mileage and thrust in the market.
Some of the fundamentals of branding are:
1. Ensuring that your offering is aligned with the needs of the market segment you are targeting.
2. Ensuring that your offering is superior to that of competitors.
3. Ensuring that your brand has a unique name, logo and tagline.
4. Ensuring that the superiority of your brand is articulated correctly in the form of a ‘core brand proposition’, which is then correctly communicated to the consumer.
5. Ensuring that your brand continuously engages with the consumer through relevant messaging and initiatives.
Effective branding has several benefits, mainly:
1. Get more and more people to buy your offering.
2. Get them to also spread a good word about it, and become a brand advocate. Thereby, they will get other people to buy your offering.
3. As your brand’s reputation spreads, people will be willing to pay more to buy your offering. Strong brands can charge a premium over their competitors.
4. If and when you introduce another product or service under the same brand name tomorrow, the strength of your brand name will ensure that your new product or service also gets a strong acceptance in the market.
5. It protects you from attacks by competitors.
In a nutshell, branding is all about creating a certain image or perception in the minds of consumers. It is actually a wonderful investment: for the immediate, medium and long terms.