The Psychology Behind Building Strong Brands
When you think of a strong and impactful brand, what first comes to mind? Hold off there! A name came to mind, doesn’t matter which name but one did. Ever thought about what precise powerful mix of marketing strategies gets a brand to have such a firm sit in people’s minds? That’s exactly what will set the tone for today’s article.
Branding gives a business, and as a result, its customers a sense of identity, a signal of quality and then when done just right, it instils in people a need to want to get affiliated and surrounded by said brand because they have now associated a psychological meaning and importance to that brand.
An easy example of this is the “tech divide” between users of Apple products and tech gadgets from other companies. Apple sets itself apart so much so that what it has is not just a consumer base but a cult-following; people who would actively seek and buy the brand at rates substantially more expensive than several other reasonable and often cheaper options available.
There’s generally a misconstrual of what a brand/ branding as a concept entails when brushed in discussions. It is usually lumped into logo-designs, symbols, trademarks, creations of or for a business entity. But for the truly strong brands we know in the real world, they go beyond just trademarks and marques. On their own, a strong brand not only drives shareholder value but it can also be valued in financial terms, used as collateral for financial loans and sold as assets.
Building Strong Brands
Building strong brands, not the rave-of-the-moment-for-just-a-few-years type of brand, requires continuous tapping into the psyche of a consumer. Building a successful brand doesn’t mean choking the service you offer with loads of options or solutions to a single problem. In fact, this has proved to be counter-intuitive! We are currently in a world that is rife with information at our fingertips so much so that it throws us in a choice-dilemma and we do nothing with all that information at our disposal. A brand that trims down all that information and minimizes the effort people need to put to find information that will aid productive decision-making is most likely a brand people will stick through thick and thin with, given said brand constantly evolves its offerings with time.
Time solidifies perceptions and ultimately, brand propagation to a larger group will lead to generally-accepted sentiments that will morph into some sort of “culture” and devotion within that group that will be hard to abandon. And once that group consistently earmarks a brand with a certain level of satisfaction, they are less likely to opt for even cheaper alternatives. The reason is simple: a consumer’s perception of uncertainty and purchase risk. Nobody wants to be the “lab rat” of an unknown service that’s unfortunately in the same industry as the people’s favourite even when it offers seemingly promising options.
So as a brand that wants to compete with the big leagues in an industry with cult-like consumers how do you manoeuvre through a consumer’s uncertainty to prove yourself?
- Be open about the source of your goods, if applicable, show them in their raw, unfinished state. Consumers will usually let down their purchasing-guards if they can authenticate the source of your goods, as this serves as a strong promise of the brand’s perceived value.
- Tie in the tangible and intangible descriptors of your products to prominent parts of your consumer’s personality: their lifestyle, the need to be exclusive, the need to be healthy etc.
- Ensure your brand descriptors take the market direction into consideration at all times such that it’s well-positioned to compete in the market at any time.
A hard truth:
You don’t have to start out as a brand (in the true sense of the word) so early in your business. A lot of the biggest brands today started by simply marketing their products and services and over time, as more associations and a certain degree of satisfaction were attached to these products and their names, these businesses slowly morphed into becoming full-on solid brands.
So the most essential advice here: As a novel brand, take your time, focus more on depth-first growth, it’s what births a solid brand.
Ibukun Adegbulugbe is a Digital marketing enthusiast with a zest for helping brands maximize the digital space. Using a customer-focused approach, he has driven increased ROI and growth for businesses. You can find Ibukun on Twitter at @IBK_official.