Branding and behaviour – How well do you know your customers?
Branding. It can make or break you. That’s the general consensus in the marketing world and whilst it may seem a little cliched and hyperbolic, it really is true. Branding is fundamental to the survival of a business and has the ability to launch a venture into dizzying heights of national success (check out our blog on Malta’s e-commerce explosion).
A product is just that, a product. So is a service. Take away the company logo and branded packaging, most products and services offer the same thing. With use, you might be able to tell the differences in quality, but that’s not what we’re getting at.
Branding is what draws the consumer to your product or service. It creates an image of your company in the eyes of the consumer, it gives your product personality. It plays a fundamental role in why a consumer chooses your product or service, above all of the market competition.
Let’s get into the psychology of it. You’re not just selling a product or service. In the eyes of a consumer being seen purchasing or using your product, is a reflection of the individual’s self-image that they wish to portray to the world. Being associated with investing time and money into a brand, is representational. A brand depicts a type of lifestyle that consumers either have or want to experience. An easy example is car manufacturers – and its not just a matter of luxury versus standard. Of course, anyone owning and driving a luxury car is making a visual statement simply based on affordability. But within the luxury car market, branding differs immensely between manufactures, based entirely on the type of person and consumer they wish to attract.
You’re driving along a main road, and in your rear-view mirror, you spot a Lamborghini. Bright green, angular, loud – a big, bold statement of wealth. Subconsciously, you have already painted a picture of the driver’s personality. Outgoing, confident, probably quite young and certainly proud of their successes. Half an hour later, you check your rear-view mirror again and you see a Bentley. Again, what does this brand of car symbolise at first glance? It oozes class, assuredness, a more understated show of wealth and prosperity. The driver? Older, perhaps of a more traditional profession, slightly more reserved. These representations are almost instant, certainly subconscious, and are largely due to specialised marketing strategies that hone in on who these brands want to appeal to.
From TV adverts, web design and customer service, Lamborghini and Bentley take remarkably different approaches, and this is all to sway their target audiences into feeling a personal affliction with the brand. Even the chassis design, extras, colour options and finishes couldn’t be more apart from one another, yet both are appealing to a high-earning driver. The branding however is targeting people that may share one common factor of wealth, yet have two completely different self-images; clicking with a consumers self-image being the primary goal. Volvo is synonymous with safety, VW German reliability and Toyota with longevity. Branding is therefore taking a product or service and giving it character, a personality, which draws in consumers who relate to that character or personality, who see using and investing in that brand as an extension of themselves.
The ultimate effect of a brand on consumer behaviour is largely based on how consumers subjectively perceive and relate to a brand.
Now, onto your brand. What can you do with regards to branding that will effectively change your target audiences’ perception of your product, from ‘just another competitor’, to their ‘ride or die’ brand of choice?
Research your audience
And we mean seriously research. To change their behaviour, you need to know their behaviour. Does your target audience have a common age bracket, gender, educational achievements, where they live? What unites them with regards to their personalities and how they are influenced? What drives them, what makes them tick and how does your product truly merge into their lifestyle? What are their common day-to-day problems, what is important in their moral lives? What values do they deem to be most important? What do they like about other brands? Your brand needs to be an extension of your consumer — so knowing your audience’s personality and image is the sure-fire way to be able to connect to them emotionally and build brand loyalty.
Check out the competition
There’s a wealth of information about what kind of branding works and what doesn’t, just by Googling your competitors. Even by Googling a successful brand whose product may be in a completely different industry to yours, but appeals to the same personality and core characteristics of target audience, you can begin to paint a more detailed picture of your consumer and how, when and where they like to be advertised to.
Develop a mission statement
This mission statement needs to resonate emotionally with your target audience. People buy brands for their personality – and that personality has to click with their own. Why you’re offering the product or service other than as a way of making money is crucial to modern consumers. How do your morals as a company align with your target audience? We’re talking sustainability, supporting charity initiatives that help the most vulnerable in society, etc. Your mission statement aligns with their own personal moral mission? You’re on to a good one.
Advertise on the right platforms
From all your research, you’ll know your audience’s behaviour, where they like to hang out, shop and share content. Knowing where to focus the advertising of your branding, is crucial – exposure is all.
Nail brand graphics and tone of voice
You need graphics and a brand tone of voice that represent your mission statements and what you stand for. Memorable graphics speak for themselves – a logo can symbolise your customer, it can be part of their self-image. Design brand graphics and develop a tone of voice that resonates with an audience’s personality so much, that their affiliation with the brand says more about them as a person in a split second than any verbal conversation. Remember – your customers are your best adverts.
Deliver, deliver, deliver
This is where brand loyalty comes in. You want your customers to come back. Every, single, time. Stick to your claims, offer excellent customer service, throw in promotions for returning customers. A brand needs to keep its personality, way after the purchase, to keep followers happy to remain loyal to your product.
At Blonde and Giant, we place branding up where it should be — at the forefront of your marketing strategy. Contact us today to see how we can take your product or service from ‘just another competitor’ to your target audience’s “go-to” brand.