Lori from Cavata Clothing has been kind enough to write another article about branding. Check it out and show some love for Loris knowledge!
“Brands and Their Power:
Clearing up Common Misconceptions ”
For every company, branding is vital to communicating a business’s identity to its customers. Many people, however, still have a skewed perception as to what constitutes a brand and often throw around marketing buzzwords they don’t really understand. Beyond a logo, tagline, brand colors, etc. effective branding is all about creating a solution to your customer’s needs. This doesn’t only refer to needs for things like clothing, food and transportation; it also refers to belongingness, power, relief, etc. The brand is more than the name and visual appearance of what a company should stand for. Rather, it is your company’s PROMISE and the logo and other brand elements are complementary tools that help inform customers who you are, what you do and how you will do it.
As I said in a previous article, every successful brand has to start with strategic positioning but it’s up to you to put each piece of the branding puzzle together in order to make your brand’s position cohesive and communicable. If anyone tries to tell you that one single thing, like a logo for example, constitutes a brand, they are wrong. A brand is more than a collection of symbols, experiences and associations; it is the overall promise to fulfill the need. Everything from the logo to a brick and mortar store should be used to reinforce your brand’s promise.
From various conversations with young entrepreneurs, online chat forums like www.emptees.com (my fave) and perusing both established and new clothing line websites I have seen many people misuse key marketing terms and misunderstand important branding concepts. Here is an example of a common question someone asked regarding brands and one of the answers that was given (some parts are paraphrased) as well as an example of branding vs. re-branding I found on a popular clothing line’s blog. None of this is meant to embarrass or call out any of the authors. My point in doing this is to help us learn more about marketing!
Q: When does a company become a brand? What are the key differences between a “myspace clothing company” and an established brand?
A: A company isn’t really a brand until it has reached a certain level of success and has a fan following.
This answer is false. Why? It is because the constitution of a brand is NOT measured by success. Many clothing lines don’t have very well established branding techniques but that just makes them extremely poor brands. What someone is referring to here is the measurement of brand equity (the value a customer places on a branded product or service.) The important thing to note here is you don’t acquire becoming a brand. Rather, it is something your company has to develop and fine-tune over time. Even the worst myspace clothing lines that lack a solid positioning, have horrible designs and sell 0 tees are still brands. Terrible brands, but still brands. It’s all about how you develop the brand that determines success and the level of brand equity.
I was reading the blog on a popular clothing line’s website and noticed the author misusing the term “rebranding.”
The author commented on the brilliant rebranding strategy for Halloween Oreo’s employed by Nabisco but, in this case, it wasn’t actually rebranding. When a company decides to tweak the packaging or logo for a holiday or special occasion, like Nabisco did with their Halloween edition Oreo’s, it falls more into the category of a sales promotion rather than rebranding. Why? It is because the goal of the packaging/cookie modification is to increase sales/usage/ or to encourage a trial through this temporary change. Since it is not affecting or changing the positioning of the brand, it really isn’t rebranding. If the packaging suddenly changed to bright pink and focused on Oreo’s ability to help women lose weight then, sure, it’s rebranding because it changed the positioning. However, this example maintains the original positioning and the new packaging is an attempt to give customers an added benefit/reason to purchase the cookies, not change the identity. Rebranding is used, most often, by companies that want to start off with a clean slate and not by companies who already have a strong, maintained brand
These are just a few common marketing misconceptions that I hope I have helped clear up. Confusing a few key terms isn’t going to make your business go up in flames but it is important to be as informed as possible!