Branding is a widely used but largely misunderstood term in the advertising world. Some seem to think that branding is simply “getting your name out there” or “putting your logo on it.” They believe that getting the business and closing the deal should be left up to the sales team.
So, why do we see so much money, time, and energy being spent on branding? You see company brands everywhere without a sales pitch or even a call to action. So how does branding affect sales? Why should I spend my resources on my brand? Shouldn’t I focus on sales? Consider this:
Brand recall directly affects sales.
People tend to buy brands they are familiar with. In fact, they typically will consider only three options and choose the one they feel best fits their buying paradigm. My personal belief is that the top three brands recalled by consumers in any category of business get 70 percent of the sales in that category. Why do you think there is a global race to be in the top three online search results? Recall means revenue.
Branding builds trust.
When buyers are familiar with your brand, they tend to trust it more. Even when a competitor’s product seems like a better fit, consumers trust the brands they are familiar with because they believe the risk is lower when buying from a stable brand.
Branding builds reputation.
Buyers today want to know your company isn’t all about itself. Companies that give back, contribute to a cause, or operate with a philosophy or culture that they can identify with tend to last longer and have more consistent sales. TOMS® shoes is a great example. Their “one-for-one” program says that for every pair purchased, TOMS® will donate one pair of shoes to someone in need. As of 2014, Tom’s was rated the 10th largest shoe company in the world.
Brands outlast products.
When the market shifts or changes and you want to promote a different product or grow a new segment, a well-known brand carries you forward. Strong brands can get “horizontal” much easier than strong products. Sony began as a manufacturer of magnetic audiotape and today is a global leader in consumer electronics with multiple products, including a movie distributorship.
Brands build loyalty.
Buyers are creatures of habit, and when the brand experience delivers, repeat customers are born. Loyal customers are becoming more rare, but rest assured, they belong to the brands that deliver and exceed customer expectations.
In short, branding is about psychology and human behavior. Purchases follow beliefs, and beliefs are formed from experiences. Brands deliver more than products or services—they deliver an experience. And when done well, that experience will create trust, loyalty, reputation, and sales.