The most fundamental question in the world of eCommerce (or all kinds of commerce, for that matter) is: what exactly is the difference between a company, and a brand?
After all, both are types of businesses, eager to sell their products or services (or both) to potential customers, to generate profits for themselves. Both advertise their products by various means to garner interest and traffic from the customers. Both revolve around an enterprise boasting logos and slogans to stand out from the rest. So, where exactly does the difference lie?
Quite simply, a company is a business which procures, markets and sells products to consumers, whereas a brand is the entire identity and personality of that business.
Tesla is a company which creates and sells electric cars. But Elon Musk is the brand which makes people take interest in the company to begin with.
People like to buy things from companies, but they love to buy things from brands. A brand is more likely to retain customers than a company is, because people feel personal attachment to a brand. Let us take a look at some of the factors which emphasize why branding is required for the success of any business.
- The emotional attachment
Businesses aiming to establish a brand use various methods to appeal to the customers’ heartstrings. Chief among them are the brand stories, which briefly chronicle the struggles of the business’s founders, the inspiration they received from watching other people experiencing a problem which the business is trying to fix, and the whole journey which culminated in the development of the enterprise.
Then there are the testimonials: the glowing customer reviews recounted by satisfied customers, as well as the various special event conducted by brands on holidays, to make people believe that the brand is with them in happiness and sadness.
All of these factors combine to create a powerful connection between the brand and the customer at a human level. Which makes the consumers feel like the brand they are dealing with is not all about business and profit margins, but consists of normal human beings just like themselves.
- Enhanced brand awareness
If a brand is doing something, there is a high likelihood someone else has been doing it before them. Those brands would also be using the same marketing techniques to reach out to the customers, which makes people vary of any business trying to take their money away from them.
When people start trusting a brand, they take notice of everything the brand does, and pay real attention to all the marketing efforts being conducted by them, which results in increased brand awareness.
- Appealing to the customers’ psyche
Strong brands tailor every aspect of their business and their identity to the tastes, behaviorisms and preferences of their clients. Everything from the brand’s logo, to the marketing strategy, to the product catalog reflects this aspect. Brands do that to appeal to the psychology of their clients, by making them think that clients’ preferences are the single-most important factor in deciding the way they operate their business.
If customers develop affinities with the brands’ logo, the color schemes, and the overall business model, that are not likely to forget about it, and will lead them to develop a strong psychological connection with the brand.
- Trust building
Trust is always hard to gain, and easy to lose. This adage also applies to businesses, as getting clients to trust them, and then keep that trust indefinitely is no mean feat.
The best way to gain customer trust is through solid branding. A business without a comprehensive branding is not going to occupy client imaginations for too long, who will quickly turn towards a brand which does exactly that and gains their trust. Brands build trust by identifying their core audiences, and tailoring all aspects of their identity around the likes and dislikes of that audience. For example, a beauty-care brand will do well to utilize bright and flashy colors on their website, and have a playful logo on their website, to appeal to an audience that is majority females.
Brands can also develop trust with clients by offering special offers on products every now then, where they provide quality products at prices lower than the rest of the competition. Providing good customer service after selling products also goes a long way in creating trust with client.
By sticking to these kinds of customer-friendly policies, brands can build up trust with their customers, which compels those customers to keep coming back to those brands.
After a business successfully manages to garner a loyal customer-base through successful branding, they can reap the rewards in unexpected ways. Apart from becoming regular and returning clients, loyal customers can be a very useful source of advertisement for brands, free of cost. Some of the brand loyalists may turn out to have robust social media presence, where they are very likely to share their excellent experiences with the brand, thereby actively or passively compelling new people to seek out the brand to see what all the fuss is about. This could lead to increased traffic generation and organic growth for the brand.
- Employee satisfaction
Another important factor is that of employees working for the brand. The employees become more efficient, and are more likely to be motivated to achieve strategic goals laid out by the management, if they believe that their brand is popular among the masses, and its overall values are being appreciated on a larger scale.
Many studies have proven that employees become more productive when they feel a sense of pride with regards to their work. Brands can utilize that positive energy to get the most out of their staff.
Modern consumers feel a sense of self-importance thanks to the wealth of options available for them to choose from. They prefer the brands who know identify their sentiments, and honor those sentiments by tailoring their business practices around them. In order to succeed in such an environment, brand building has become and unavoidable facet of doing business, and every business needs to build a strong brand to thrive in today’s market.