Brands are never just brands. They are much more than that. Emotions, memories, connections... whatever you may call it!


Coca-Cola is much more than just a soda.


What comes to your mind when you think about the good old Coca-Cola? Is it the brand that attracts you or the color red and the sweet taste of the unbeatable flavour? Or is it the logo with which you are associated with this brand? Could it be the commercials that you saw when you were a child that took you down the memory lane? Whatever might be the case, if after hearing the word Cola-Cola, the images and memories of this unbeatable soft drink immediately pops up and you have the urge of tasting it, then Coca-Cola has done a great job in branding its products.


Similarly, if Starbucks-premium coffee brand brings back the memories of coffee, then they surely know how to play the game!


Associating with these brands and products generates long-lasting feelings and emotions and if these are positive then we have the urge to buy the products again and again. So, it is not the logo or the brand that attracts us but the emotional connect that we have with these brands. All of these brands know exactly how to create this experience and connection that the user considers while purchasing the product. That is the reason they create a brand.


From the color palettes used in their Instagram profiles, captions, latest billboard ads, packaging, to their customer service, all these companies know that their brand needs to live everywhere. Ranging from the hearts of the customers to their physical surroundings, brands know how to make their presence felt. They are also well aware of the fact that their names are not only limited to their label.


This is what results in popularising their brands and this is what helps them in getting a special place in the customer's hearts. I am sure every brand wants that and this is what branding does. Therefore, we have come up with this mini-guide to equip you in building and maintaining a strong brand that will help your business and products be appreciated, honoured, cherished and favoured.


By now you must have had a faint idea of what is branding. But let me give you an in-depth overview of branding and everything about it.


What is Branding?

Branding is the process of exhibiting a distinctive feature or a set of distinctive features to one’s organization that distinguishes it from the rest. It also means the communication of these distinctive features and attributes that help the brand in getting recognition as well as providing information about it to their customers. It is an iterative process that requires tapping the hearts of the customers. Hence it is rightly said-


“Brand is not what you say it is. It’s what they say it is.” -- Marty Neumeier


Why Branding?
Brand or be branded. What would you prefer? If you don’t actively participate in branding your product, then the market will do for you against your will. And that being positive, well... rare of the rarest chance. But if you still want to risk it then the choice is yours.


The Importance of Branding-


1. It helps you to stand out from the pack

If you are searching for a personal laptop, what is the first name that comes to your mind? Apple MacBook, right? Why? Because Apple’s “I am Mac” campaign has already made it big and has influenced people’s minds that MacBook is the best option when it comes to purchasing personal laptops. Apple has spent a lot of time in perfecting its image in the market making it an obvious choice. This is a clear indicator that when a consumer is flooded with too many options, branding helps solidify their decision.


2. It enhances the overall value of your offerings

There is a reason why Starbucks coffee is a premium coffee brand and why people are willing to pay more for a Starbucks coffee rather than a regular coffee.


Branding levitates your offering from something of value to like nothing else in the world, allowing you to charge a fortune for it, just as Starbucks is doing with its coffee!


3. Helps the people to identify

A brand is more than a snazzy strapline of an over-the-top logo- it is everything that brings recognition to the organization and sets it apart from others.


Every well-known brand has its own personality, values, ethics and a tale of its own to narrate. And this is what helps the customers to identify and associate with the brand.


For e.g. back in 2009, Minute Maid redesigned the packaging of their premium range products and kept it coherent and unified so that the customers can recognize them even from a distance.


4. Branding creates an emotional connection with your customers

The fact that each brand has its own story and the art of this storytelling helps the brand to create emotional bonding with its customers. It is because of this connection that we buy the products of Nike because when we wear Nike merchandise, we feel trendy as well as capable of doing anything. A lot of the buying power is based on these emotional reactions.


5. Branding helps in attracting new customers

A well-known brand will have absolutely no trouble drumming new customers for itself as it has left a very positive impression on its regular customers which will eventually lead to an increase in referral business. Once an organization has built a strong foundation, word-of-mouth is the best and the most effective advertising technique for it.


Elements of Branding

Many people think that Logo is the sole element of a brand. However, the truth is that a brand is made up of many tangible elements that formulate all three sensory organs of a human being which are visual, olfactory and auditory.


1. Brand Name
The brand name is the word or a set of words used to identify the company, product or the service it offers.


On the facade, it might seem very easy to give a name to your brand. But it definitely takes time to come up with an iconic and a successful name for your brand. For e.g. Think of these brands Coca-Cola, Harley Davidson, Target, Starbucks- were ordinary at first but their popularity gained them the title of being legendary brands. And these simple words are now worth millions of dollars.


2. Logo

In a layman’s language, a Logo is a visual trademark that gives the brand recognition and identifies it with other design elements.


When we see any laptop with a broken Apple sign on its back we instantly recognise that this laptop is from Apple. This is the power of a logo. Similarly, we are very much familiar with the Swoosh logo of Nike merchandise and all other popular brands.


3. Tagline

The catchphrase or the theme line such as McDonald's- “I’m lovin’ it”, Disneys- “The Happiest Place on the Earth” is very popular. Similarly Kentucky Fried Chicken – “Finger Lickin' Good” is also a very famous tagline that is the patent of the brand and helps distinguish it from the rest.


An innovative and creative tagline has a longer shelf life than an ordinary one. So, brands should aim to create an interesting tagline that remains constant.


4. Shape

Shape is the overall look and feel of the product such as that of Coca-Cola’s distinctive shaped bottles. The chunky shape of the UGG boots and the comfort that they provide is what makes them different from their competitors.


5. Message

The message that brand conveys is also very important.


For e.g. several years ago Disneyland decided that their brand is all about “Magical Family Fun” and so they aim to carry on this legacy. All of their employees are dressed as Disney characters such as Cinderella, Snow White and the seven dwarfs, Jack-Sparrow etc. as we see in movies and stories. This also influences Disney Stores across the country which selects children to ceremonially unlock the doors. Even when providing customer care services, the employees communicate the message of Magical Family Fun by sounding happy and delighted to talk.


In short, whatever Disney does is aimed at providing the magical experience that their customers always desired to have.


6. Movement

Movement is also one of the important brand elements. The movement of the brand refers to how the product of the brand shifts, expands or condenses its nature along with its functionality.


Lamborghini has nailed this element as its cars have doors that open upwards rather than sideways.


While movement may feel one of the most abstract elements of branding if you want to establish your brand it should never be overlooked.


7. Sound

Sound is the jingle of the brand. As soon as you hear the jingle, the image of the brand comes to your mind. There were times that TV commercials kept you hooked to the brands for hours and hours listening and singing their jingles. If you are a Baby Boomer then you must have heard Wrigley Gum’s ditty “Double your Pleasure, Double your Fun” and if you are a Millennial well then McDonald's I’m loving’ it, Kitkats- “Give me a Break” are famous jingles to sing.


8. Smell
Smell also adds to the brand identity and it is an element that should be considered no matter how general it may seem.


For e.g. Hasbro’s iconic childhood smell of Play-Doh that induces nostalgic feelings.
9. Taste

Taste is yet another element that is extremely very important such as KFC’s trademarked 11 herbs and spices recipe of chicken wings. The distinguishable taste of Pepsi and Coca-Cola with Pepsi being on the sweeter side, McDonald's famous french fries, and many others.


10. Color
The last brand element is color.


Christian Louboutin, the shoe designer, trademarked red sole for its brand because of which she sued Yves St. Lauren on the charge of infringement.


Likewise, Tiffany’s are known for their Robin’s egg blue trademarked by them in 1998 which is synonymous to luxury and sophistication. This color deemed No. 1837 in Pantone’s Color Matching System for the exact year the Tiffany & Co. was founded and so it cannot be used by any other jeweller.


When used to its full potential, the color can be a very strong determinant of the brand and its identity.


A Strong Brand Means Stronger Marketing That Yields Results


The rule of thumb is that products have a limited lifecycle but the legacy of brands goes on and on. If an organization has nailed all the aspects of their brand it is very easy to nail the marketing aspect of it too. The brand bible as we have shown above when merged with the ongoing market research gives a complete overview of the brand as well as the marketing techniques. It is up to the brand now which marketing it should choose to help increase the sales of their products to the maximum. If the organization nails all these elements then its ride towards success won’t be as bumpy as it was; rather it will become very smooth without putting too much of an extra effort.


A very apt example of advertising is Apple campaigns. After establishing their brand in the market, they pay a very negligible amount to paid advertisements and rely solely on the buzz created by the media and on product placement.


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