This is part one of a three part series of insights on Branding:

Part 1: What Makes a Brand?

Part 2: How to Create a Strong Brand

Part 3: Staying Ahead of the Competition

In this first part, we will look at how you define a brand and how strong, engaging branding can benefit your business….

What is a brand?

The first step in developing a genuinely engaging brand is to really understand what makes up a brand. Many people believe that a brand is just a logo but that is just the tip of a very large and complicated iceberg. So what is a brand? Let’s take a look at Coca-Cola as an example.

Coca-Cola is instantly recognisable to 94% of the World’s population because they spend billions of dollars to ensure that people are constantly engaging with the brand.

Every place someone engages with a brand is called a touchpoint and Coca-Cola have touchpoints everywhere. They have partnered with fast food restaurants, cafes, cinemas, service stations and even supermarkets. They advertise on billboards, public transport, television, social media and anywhere else you can think of. They have around 3 million vending machines around the world and the brand is so strong that people prefer to buy drinks from Coke branded vending machines, even if they’re not buying Coke.

You likely associate coke with the summer time, when you most need a nice, cool, refreshing drink. The picture above summarises that nicely. So, what about the winter?

As soon as the summer is over and the temperature starts to drop, Coke changes tac (and branding) to make you associate the brand with Christmas, family and excitement, using phrases like “holidays are coming” to envoke a sense of anticipation. The truck in the image above not only makes you associate Coca-Cola with Christmas but almost makes you feel like they’re delivering it right to you. They even change the physical packaging in the build up to Christmas, adorning it with friendly images of St. Nick and his reindeer.

What about B2B?

You may well be thinking that this is all well and good for consumer products but doesn’t really apply to B2B. However, what we need to remember is that business are made up of people and it is people that make decisions for their business. All the same principles apply and it is just as important that key decision makers are able to engage with your brand. The only difference is that there will likely be fewer touchpoints and few people to engage, which means you can be more precise with your approach. Let’s look at ABB as an example.

In 2017, ABB placed adverts all over Terminal 3 of Dubai International Airport, paying particular attention to the First/Business class check in area, where every single ad was for ABB.

Branding an entire airport terminal is not cheap and the First/Business class check in area is highly sought after. Factor in that 90% of passengers won’t have any interest in the products and services that ABB offer and this starts to look like a complete waste of money.

However, ABB knew that the key decision makers in all the business they wanted to sign contracts with would fly regularly and almost certainly be travelling in First/Business class. When you consider that Dubai has become a global transport hub and one of the busiest airports in the world, then this all starts to make more sense.

ABB put themselves firmly in the minds of key decision makers who would ultimately decide if they won contracts worth millions of dollars. They set themselves apart from their competitors, projecting success, reliability and dominance in the market.

How can I improve my own brand?

Hopefully the value of a strong brand is now clear but it may not be clear how to proceed. In part 2 of this series, we’ll look at all the steps that you need to go through to develop a strong and engaging brand for your company.

Categories: Performance

Joe Whitehead

Founder & COO