How Branding Works
Because branding is customer driven, understanding how branding works begins with understanding the customer, both existing and potential. There are three essential steps for the business owner to take when creating a brand. Ensure that the brand meets a need in the mind of the customer, firmly establish the brand, and elicit the favorable response of the customer to the brand identity. It involves asking four essential questions:
1) What is the brand identity? This answers, is the consumer aware of the brand name? In other words, the brand name should come to the forefront of the consumer's mind. So, in our Levi's example, if a person is looking for a pair of jeans, what brand will they think to buy first? This is where a symbol can be useful to a brand, such as Nike.
2) What does the brand mean? This answers, what will the brand stand for? This is the step of quality/performance and the mental image that the person has about the brand. The latter being more difficult to measure, but can be thought of in terms of popularity or frequency of use. It involves establishing a brand that is strong, unique and favorable in the eyes of the consumer.
3) What is the consumer's response to the brand? This answers, how does the consumer judge the brand? The brand should be met with quality, credibility, superiority and action. That is, out of all of the choices the customer has, this brand is chosen because it elicits a feeling of trust in the consumer.
4) How can further brand relationships be formed? This answers, are the customers loyal to the brand and why? Loyalty to a brand is more than just the customer liking it; it is the customer preferring it. Likewise, in today's virtual world with all of the competition, the consumer must not only be aware of the online brand, but compelled to use it over another.