Why Branding Matters

Amid today’s ever changing, rapidly progressing digital age, many entrepreneurs and business owners ponder the same thing: Does branding really matter?

Undoubtedly, yes! Branding does matter.

However, a strong online presence offers consumers countless means to accessing information about a service without having to rely on the brand to showcase its value. For this reason, people may wonder why a strong brand is necessary when everything they need to know is accessible by the click of a button. 

Stuck between two detergent brands?  *Click* 

Now you have all the information you need to know in making a purchasing decision. 

Don’t know which toothpaste to purchase?  *Click* 

Now you have a long list of doctor-recommended products. 

Well, how about this: 

Envision yourself desiring a product from a well-known brand, but it is sold out. 

After a long, daunting day of work you decide to make a quick desire-driven clothing purchase online. Instinctively, you find yourself on Champion’s website, almost by second nature. Surely, they’ll have an appealing sweatshirt of good quality, right? Definitely. You’ve purchased a vast variety of clothing from this brand, always satisfied with the product you’ve received, so there’s no doubt that you can make a thoughtless, idle purchase right now without any fear. Yet, to your disappointment, the sweatshirt you had your eye on is sold out. Now, you put in the effort to find a similar sweatshirt and to your surprise, Amazon is selling an identical one from a different brand. 

So, what do you do now? 

Well, you think to buy the Amazon product, as it is identical, but you are met with hesitation. You begin to wonder:

Does this brand have a good reputation? 

How’s the quality? 

Will it arrive exactly as the picture presents? 

After some worry, you ultimately decide to wait for the Champion sweatshirt to restock despite there being anything blatantly wrong with the Amazon sweatshirt. 

The reason for your blind trust in the Champion sweatshirt and building hesitation about the Amazon sweatshirt manifests as a result of brand loyalty. Sure, the consumer can do more digging on the Amazon brand in order to come to a decision, but naturally, consumers will gravitate towards brands that are reputable. This is for myriad reasons, including strategy, vision, identity, logo, etc. While building brand reputation takes time, it is important and certainly still matters in 2021. 

“If you don’t give the market the story to talk about, they’ll define your brand’s story for you.” -David Brier 

With this quote in mind, you begin to realize what the Amazon brand didn’t accomplish was capturing the essence of their company through their brand. Champion on the other hand, established a loyal connection with the consumer. 

As a picture is worth a thousand words, a brand is worth everything a company has to offer– Its main idea. It is an entire story captured in one experience. And although everyone tells us never to judge a book by its cover, we still do. Don’t we? What is important to realize is that the brand is the company cover and consumers will make judgments despite quality services. 

This is why branding matters. To become a cover that consumers will appreciate.

Of course, a brand isn’t solely a visual identity, but it does make a company identifiable and it helps set themselves apart from competition. Think about color psychology for a moment. Take a look at brands with the color blue: JP Morgan, American Express, Allstate. What do they each have in common? They are financial companies. The reason why many financial companies select blue as their brand’s identity is because the color is psychologically associated with trustworthiness and stability. On the other hand, think about how you feel when you see warning alarms or when a traffic light changes from yellow to red. We can probably all agree that we feel a sense of urgency, and that is exactly what the color red does. Companies like Netflix and YouTube utilize red logos to create urgency, purpose and attraction to draw in consumers. 

When looking at your own brand, you must ask: what emotions do I want consumers to feel? However a consumer feels about a certain color they will likewise feel about the brand. Whether our color associations are innate or culturally conditioned, they are real.

As a brand becomes identifiable and established, it inevitably becomes a promise made to consumers. A brand becomes what the company is and what it will do for others. 

Let’s look at the Champion vs. Amazon analogy once more. In the end, the consumer inexorably chose Champion because over the years, the brand made a promise to deliver quality products. In this brand promise, what the company stands for aligns with the values of the consumer. When this promise is made, it doesn’t reside solely in the logo or in the visual identity of the brand, but rather in the principles of the consumer. When they align, consumer trust is earned, and brand reputation is built. 

In essence, a successful brand doesn’t concentrate on how a service will work. Rather, it expresses how a consumer will feel. Branding is authenticity. It provides consumers insight into not what a company does, but who a company is. A successful brand doesn’t merely build trust, it is trust.