To be successful in business, it is not enough to have a good product – one should also be able to successfully communicate its quality to potential consumers, emphasizing what differentiates it from competitors. To achieve this goal, many organizations these days invest time and resources into developing strong and recognizable brands. As defined by David Ogilvy (1985), a brand is “the intangible sum of a product’s attributes: its name, packaging, and price, its history, its reputation, and the way it’s advertised” (as cited in Ogden & Ogden, 2014, p. 305). The purpose of branding is to make customers associate certain positive qualities with a product or service, encouraging them to prefer it to others.
In the last few decades, the importance of a carefully developed brand has increased significantly. Not only businesses but also individual entrepreneurs and bloggers are concerned with establishing an attractive and recognizable image of themselves, creating “self-brands” (Khamis et al., 2017). They strive to emphasize their unique qualities – appearance, talents, expertise, lifestyle, or experience, along with creating distinct logos and memorable catch-phrases or slogans.
This trend emphasizes how important it is these days to have an established brand. It can be explained by the fact that in the market economy, almost every product and service has an analog. Symbolizing the quintessence of the organization’s unique qualities, the brand allows it to stand out from competitors. However, the reason for building and maintaining reputation lies not only in the competition but also in the fact that today, public image is valued more than ever. This trend is connected to the development of the Internet and social media, which not only introduced new ways of communicating the brand concept but also increased opportunities for sharing reviews and demanding transparency.
This illustrates why businesses should invest in brand equity. This term refers to the brand’s overall value driven by customers perception (Ogden & Ogden, 2014). It includes five main areas – awareness, loyalty, perceived quality, brand association, and other proprietary assets (such as patents, trademarks, etc.) (Ogden & Ogden, 2014). To develop brand equity, businesses must devote enough time and attention to establishing recognizable and well-thought-of brands.
It is also crucial to be able to sustain a reputation while staying flexible and responding to new trends. Over time companies should “maintain strategic consistency” at all levels of operations, “generate purposeful interactivity”, and invest in developing “core competencies” (Ogden & Ogden, 2014, p. 310). Studies show that the key elements of brand equity can be positively influenced by social media marketing (Godey et al., 2016). These days it serves as an irreplaceable tool in enhancing brand awareness and image (Godey et al., 2016). Developing brand equity requires time and resources, but these disadvantages are likely to be outweighed by the benefits derived from the result.
Branding strategies significantly influence integrated marketing communications (IMC), as they require consistency in how the brand is presented and advertised, and how it interacts with its customers, partners, and employees. IMC campaign should, therefore, focus on maintaining and enhancing brand identity across all lines of communication. For instance, Lush Cosmetics positions itself as an eco-friendly company that puts an emphasis on sustainability.
To maintain this image, across all their social media platforms, including Instagram and Youtube, they make posts that address the issues of nature protection and conserving biodiversity, highlighting how their business is contributing to these processes. Their official website, as well as their packaging, contain such labels as “100% vegetarian”, “ethical buying”, and “fighting animal testing”. Such consistency contributes to creating strong associations between the brand and particular ideas and concepts.
To conclude, in recent decades, branding has become, essentially, an indispensable marketing tool. It can be illustrated by the fact that not only businesses but also individual entrepreneurs strive to develop successful brands as it not only helps to sell products but also gives value to the messages sent by an organization or a person. Therefore, it is essential to invest in branding marketing so as to gain long-term benefits of attaining awareness and respect.
Godey, B., Manthiou, A., Pederzoli, D., Rokka, J., Aiello, G., Donvito, R., & Singh, R. (2016). Social media marketing efforts of luxury brands: Influence on brand equity and consumer behavior. Journal of business research, 69(12), 5833-5841.
Khamis, S., Ang, L., & Welling, R. (2017). Self-branding, ‘micro-celebrity’ and the rise of Social Media Influencers. Celebrity studies, 8(2), 191-208.
Ogden, J. R., & Ogden, D. T. (2014). Integrated marketing communications: Advertising, public relations, and more. Web.