Written by Pat Gremillion

Branding

What does Coca Cola mean to you? Coca Cola is one of the most iconic brands on the planet. Can you see the Coca Cola red? Can you visualize the logo on a 12 ounce can, a 16 ounce bottle, the side of a Coca Cola truck pulling out of a parking lot? Can you hear the fizz after it is poured into a glass? Can you feel the sensation and taste the flavor when it is in your mouth? Iconic brands are embedded in our memories. These brands represent experiences and your relationship with the product. An iconic brand is a carefully defined look, feel, taste, smell, sound, and more importantly, association to the product. This association represents value. This value is the value of brand.

Every company builds a brand. Some are more successful than others, but building a brand is inescapable. Branding represents name recognition, trust in a product, and most importantly, a greater likelihood that a purchaser will identify with and choose a product. Let me list some brands without listing their names and you identify the brand. The golden arches, the spotted cow that doesn’t know how to spell chicken, and the slogan, “Just Do It”. Now let me ask you: when I mentioned those identifiers, what were your thoughts related to the brands? When I mentioned the golden arches, what did you think of? Did you think of the logo? Did you think of golden brown salted French fries? Did you think about McNuggets, or McCafe Coffee, or of a certain smell or taste associated with their products? When I mentioned the spotted cow that can’t spell chicken, did you think of the golden brown chicken strips or nuggets with dipping sauce and waffle fries? Did you have a sensory reaction in your mind and your mouth? When I mentioned the slogan, “Just Do It”, did you think of a particular pair of cross trainer shoes, or a particular workout shirt that may even have a certain aroma that is being triggered in your mind? Did you think of the swoosh and relate the logo to an experience, a workout, or even some visual image? These three iconic brands always trigger an associated memory related to my experience with these products. You likely had a similar experience. This is the association and reinforcement of a very strong brand.

When we discuss brands, it is fundamental to the conversation that we relate our personal experiences with the product. These experiences impact buying decisions. This relates to all products and services, and as such, relates to your company, too. Have you given yourself a branding checkup lately? If not, ask yourself the following questions related to your company’s brand: What is your brand identity? How are you reinforcing your brand identity and creating brand awareness? Is your messaging consistent with your brand and appealing to your target market? Are you reaching your clients with branding that is easily identifiable and consistent? Are you reaching your clients with the proper messaging, and is this being reinforced when they interact with your company? As you can see, strong branding is critical to your firm’s success. If you don’t believe me, you can Google it. By the way, according to Forbes, Google is the most valuable brand in the world in 2017.

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