Why branding matters

Posted by Joseph P   31/03/2016
A brand is comprised of its most recognizable attributes: its name, its logo, its products or services, and the intangible qualities that spring to mind whenever someone thinks about your business. Healthy brands live for decades and can thrive in tough economic times and periods of rapid technological change. Indeed, customers often place their full trust in certain brands, and some brands affect people on deep, emotional levels.

Thanks to the Internet, every entrepreneur can now build a global customer base. However, people from Europe, Asia, Africa, and elsewhere are unlikely to trust your company unless you've established a reputable brand. To that end, it's crucial that you have clear, compelling, and motivating advertising materials and that you can boast a wealth of glowing online reviews and testimonials. Possessing social media accounts with legions of fans, friends, and followers is likewise an important aspect of modern brand strategy.

Social media may be relatively new, but branding is anything but. Businesspeople have been creating brands for centuries. For instance, many potters in ancient China, India, and Greece labelled their works with their own unique symbols. Such measures continued unabated for centuries. During the 1200s, to cite another example, Italian merchants frequently identified their products with watermarks.

Branding truly came of age during the 1800s. Sprawling urban factories and improved shipping methods allowed corporations to manufacture products in centralized locations and then sell those items to consumers near and far. And to ensure that their goods were instantly recognizable, companies would include logos on packages. Among those Industrial Revolution-era brands was the gold and green can in which Lyle's Golden Syrup came; the food corporation Tate & Lyle produced this famous cough medicine.

Of course, mass media -- radio and television in particular -- offered exciting new opportunities for marketing. Commercials, jingles, and product placements in entertainment programs all helped to popularize logos, slogans, and product lines. In fact, branding became so crucial to business success that many large companies hired brand managers to oversee those efforts. The first corporate brand manager was most likely Neil H. McElroy; he assumed that position at Procter & Gamble during the early 1930s.

Finally, people have understood one truism about brands for centuries, and it remains a vital maxim even today. The most effective way to boost your brand is to offer your customers the best, most helpful products or services that you possibly can.
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