Any business with a basic idea of how marketing and sales work, knows that branding forms a foundational element here. Branding, is pretty much, the starting point. It’s the way you get the word about your company out and make it instantly recognizable.
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A Brief History of Branding
Branding, from the perspective of modern marketing, can be traced all the way back to a James Walter Thompson. A marketing genius, Thompson was the first to come up with something called trademark advertising in 1900. Trademark advertisement, as the name implies, involved promoting products with a unique name, symbol, and identity.
Essentially, it was just what we now refer to as branding. Ever since then, it has become a standard practice to promote products with the help of jingles, logos, slogans, and pretty much every element that comes together to define branding as a core business function.
The purpose of branding is quite simple – to create an awareness of a particular product and its manufacturer. But, like all things, the way we approach branding has evolved over time. In fact, it would be safe to say that the “creating awareness” part of branding isn’t the only priority now.
Branding today encompasses much more than just creating awareness. It entails more than just the usual advertising and marketing. We live in the digital era now and that has made branding a little more complicated.
For starters, businesses need to go digital to make themselves heard.
But, this isn’t just to reach out to the customer base. Going digital, in itself, is an act of branding. The customer of today wants to know if you, as a business, can stay in the race and meet their ever-changing needs. If you can’t, all the “branding” in the world can’t save you.
A Brave New World
The mobile revolution has made it hard for business to target their customers. But, on the other hand, it has opened up a plethora of opportunities. The sheer speed or flexibility with which your business can connect with a customer is completely worth the effort.
Plus, mobile technology has also allowed interactions between businesses and customers to occur at a more personal level. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that most businesses are now gravitating towards all things digital. Branding isn’t just about when and where. It’s all about the here and now. Modern branding occurs at a much faster pace.
But, does that mean traditional branding is dead?
Modern branding and traditional branding have always been compared in terms of their effectiveness. However, it appears as though the good old strategy of creating a good product, a catchy tagline, and nice logo may not be of importance anymore.
Or, is it?
Well, truth be told that’s a very wrong perception to have. Traditional branding isn’t unimportant. It’s just that, now, it plays a more supportive role rather than drive the entire marketing function as a whole. But at the end of the day, you still very much need traditional branding to support your modern branding efforts. In fact, combining traditional marketing with modern marketing is your best bet at branding success today.
Let’s see how this can be done.
Make the Most of Tech
Technology, as we stated earlier, has made it possible for businesses to interact and reach out to customers like never before. There are currently 7 billion people on Earth and half of them have access to the internet. A significant chunk of those people is also made up of mobile users.
There was a time when you couldn’t even dream of reaching out to people beyond your city or state. Today, you can reach out to someone as far as India while you sit in your office in New York. The best part is, technology isn’t constant. It keeps evolving and changing, which means the possibilities are practically endless for how a business might be able to brand itself in the future.
So, learn to appreciate technology and leverage it appropriately.
Technology has provided us with a wonderful tool called social media, which is turning out to be a major contributor to modern branding. It is an inexpensive weapon in the modern branding arsenal and if used effectively, the results can be stellar.
However, it is necessary to first understand how each of your digital branding channels works. Not all of them offer the same returns. So, take the time to figure out what profits you and what doesn’t. Focus on metrics for each branding channel.
Having said that, we would still say that social media is a branding medium that you must try. Just make sure you take the time to study your customers’ preferences and measure them as an audience.
Stir It Up
We’ve already established that traditional marketing still plays a relevant role. The best results come from a combination of modern and traditional branding. Learn how to use traditional elements such as logos or mission statements with modern technology.
Take the time to experiment and figure out how your money is best spent. Try out a range of communication mediums. Look at the ones that offer the most engagement. For instance, let’s look at podcasts. Podcasts, in themselves, are a good example of how the old can be fused with the new to create something unique.
They are becoming more of a trend these days and customers are looking at podcasts as a way to determine a brand’s value. A recent study found that the number of people listening to podcasts increases every month. The study also found that podcast listeners tend to come from households with a higher average income.
Podcasts are very similar to radio interviews and talk shows. However, they are distributed digitally, which makes them easily accessible. With a little imagination, you can do wonders with podcasts.
The bottom line here is that traditional branding is very much a part and parcel of the branding function. You cannot have modern branding without traditional elements. So, don’t give up on traditional branding just yet.