There are many businesses that bring a picture to mind once their names or affiliations are mentioned. Some of these businesses don’t even need to state their names for us to recognize them.
They have created unique identifiers for their businesses. These identifiers are both physical and intangible.
The punchline here is that businesses that have these unique physical and intangible identifiers get our attention. People buy from such businesses.
The greater punchline is…
For every business that has people’s attention, there are a thousand others or more that people ignore every day.
Why do people choose some businesses and ignore others even when they provide same service or sell same products?
Why do businesses that have same resources not have same recognition and customer loyalty?
How can businesses that have no identity get one especially with the help of branding agencies?
All these questions will be answered now and how branding agencies in Nigeria can help businesses develop a strong brand identity will finally become more obvious.
Let’s start with the basics.
What is Branding?
Branding is the image that comes to a consumer’s mind whenever they see a business’s logo or any form of design or content accredited to the business.
Branding isn’t just what a business does, it is who the business is and what it represents. It is best to see a brand as a person. The way a quality or attribute comes to mind at the mention of a friend’s name is the same way a good brand has people attributing a good quality to it.
Let’s take a look at this example. A sportswoman walks into a store and goes to the fitness section with the intent of buying a footwear.
Before we continue, what brand of footwear do you think the woman will buy? If you thought of Nike or Adidas, then you can already see why branding is important.
There are many other good quality foot wears out there but we often associate Nike and Adidas to be superior brands.
Other brands may produce footwears as beautiful and long-lasting as the ones produced by Nike and Adidas but these two brands especially Nike have been able to create Images consumers can resonate with.
We’ll zoom in on Nike later on.
Why is there a need for branding?
The first reason a product or service provider would want to brand is to create unique recognition. Every business needs to set itself apart from competitors.
Businesses usually use brand assets such as logos, colours, typefaces, taglines, marketing styles and much more to create a unique recognition for themselves.
Clear and concise message
Businesses use messages to push out values they represent to the world so they can connect with consumers that share same values.
The messages usually contain promises that brands what to be held by.
The end goal of branding is to have a customer base that totally trusts what a business offers as products, services or corporate social responsibilities.
A major reason athletes would buy from Nike but no other brand is because they are loyal to the brand.
How to recognize good branding
To know if a business has done a good job in branding itself, the following questions need to be answered.
Does the brand affect the psychology of the customers?
This goes back to our understanding of what branding is. A business with good branding has a space in the consumers mind. Does the brand come first when a consumer desire to purchase a product made by many businesses?
Is the brand distinctive?
Any form of content or design by a brand has to be unique and identifiable. Branding ensures that a company is able to differentiate itself from other competitors by using simple nuances to engage consumers so that a unique line of communication is established between the brand and consumers.
Does the brand tell a consistent story?
One thing a well-branded business does is to tell a story. A story of why the business exists and what value it aims to add to the consumer’s life. The story told must be consistent with every action the brand takes both online and offline. The more a brand stays consistent with its story, the more it builds trust.
Does the story resonate with the consumers?
A consumer needs to see himself or herself in a brand’s story. When a brand tells a story through marketing, it needs to make the consumer believe that it has his or her interest at heart. This is time to zoom in on Nike.
Nike as a brand has “Just do it” as its tagline and a swoosh symbol as its logo. Nike uses an emotional marketing strategy to resonate with consumers.
In most of its marketing videos, Nike tells the story of a hero (the consumer) whose greatest enemy is his or her self-doubt, laziness or fear. The videos usually portray the hero or heroine overcoming his or her challenges against all odds.
This consistent story told by Nike is one everybody especially sportsmen and women can relate to. In order to embark on sporting activities, sportsmen and women usually require a great deal of motivation to get up every morning and get to work.
Nike tells the customers that they exist to help take the customers from the struggles of everyday training to the greatest arenas where they compete for victory.
In essence, Nike exists because it knows the struggle sportsmen and women go through to eventually make it to the big stage and Nike wants to help them make the process a little stress free with footwears of great quality.
Using sportsmen and women is a really zoomed in version of the Nike story because if you listen to the story it tells properly, it doesn’t explicitly talk about sportsmen or women that aim to win Olympic gold medals. It talks about anybody that would need to put on a footwear as a means to an end.
Is the story authentic?
This doesn’t need much explanation. Humans usually gravitate towards authentic and captivating stories. If a story doesn’t feel genuine, consumers will label a brand as just another brand that isn’t offering anything worth being a part of.
Here’s how branding agencies in Nigeria can help craft strong brand identities for businesses
Understand the client’s audience
Branding agencies in Nigeria need to have an understanding of the target audience of the business they wish to craft an identity for. In this process, every detail matters. From age to gender to location to income level to marital status to occupation and education level.
Having a clear understanding of the target audience a business wants to capture will help branding agencies in Nigeria know what persona to create for new brands and how to better communicate with audiences attached to businesses seeking a rebrand.
Understand the client’s unique value proposition
Branding agencies in Nigeria need to know what exactly the business they desire to mold a strong brand identity for does that separates it from its competitors.
Branding agencies in Nigeria then need to find a way to amplify this message without coming off as salesy to the consumers.
Create a visual personality for the brand
After understanding what a business does, its unique selling point and target audience, the next thing branding agencies in Nigeria should do is create a visual identity for the brand.
This is where logo creation, brand colours selection, and all other brand assets come in. This is the stage where branding agencies in Nigeria determine if the brand should have a strong, cool, fun, youthful, intimate or any other form of persona.
Tell a story
We’ve talked about this earlier so we wouldn’t waste much time on this. All great brands don’t just exist. They come from somewhere and are on a journey. Following the footsteps of great brands that often share their stories and encourage others to be a part of their stories is a proven way to put your brand in every conversation that matters out there.
Be part of your audience’s community
Developing a strong brand for a business as a branding agency requires that you go meet the business’s target audience where they reside. This means the brands should be visible in both offline and online communities where their target audience communicate.
Branding agencies in Nigeria working for businesses trying to create a strong brand identity should know that giving feedback after triggering conversations from target audience’s communities is paramount to establishing a good relationship and brand image among audience members.
Examples of businesses with a strong brand identity
We’ve spoken about Nike already but this brand’s work cannot be over-emphasized. Nike’s brand goal is for you to see itself as part of your lifestyle. Nike is what you should put on if you want to workout or just look cool. Nike is for great achievers and does who constantly win no matter the opposition.
Nike keeps putting out this message on social media, T.V ads and everywhere it finds itself communicating with its target audience.
This brand is ingrained in everyone’s mind. Coca-Cola has successfully positioned itself as what you take at memorable periods. Coca-Cola presents itself as a pleasurable experience you always want to relive. This drink is what you want to take at your wedding ceremony or graduation or any other event of significance in your life. It also positions itself as what you share with loved ones to help you celebrate happy times.
Apple’s strength lies in its innovation, simplicity and design spirit. Having an Apple product sets you apart from the crowd because you know what great design is and how it makes you powerful so you don’t mind paying a little bit more for it.
Apple always makes its product easy to use without compromising on design. Apple’s website and operating system prove this point. Customers have also attested to how well they are treated when they walk into an Apple store; another point to prove that Apple just wants a stress free experience for its customers.
Starbucks is another brand that is big on ensuring that customers are well treated whenever they walk into one of their stores. Starbucks constantly invests a lot in its staff members so they can be happy to deliver great customer service. Starbucks also does take feedback seriously. On this page, customers can proffer ideas they want to be implemented by the brand. What Starbucks does is let you know that being a part of it either as a staff or customer gives you a right to help build the brand.
FedEx’s brand identity has to do with making a promise and keeping it. FedEx understands that it isn’t just in the delivery business but in the promise business. The brand knows that what customers send to their loved ones, colleagues or even strangers means a lot to them and not being able to keep the promise of how and when packages will be delivered will tarnish their brand identity.
This brand name is synonymous with inclusion and trust. Toyota produces a range of vehicles for all classes of automobile users. Its vehicles are affordable and of the best quality considering its price range. Toyota is trustworthy because it positions itself to tell the customers that even for the cheapest price, quality doesn’t wane.
Where brands get it wrong and how branding agencies in Nigeria can help them
- Thinking that a logo is a brand
Branding agencies in Nigeria need to educate clients so they know that just having a logo for a business doesn’t automatically mean that people can now connect an image to a company. A logo is just one of the many visual representations that help to trigger the experiences or image people have of a business. Creating an image in people’s mind has to do with the encompassing experience customers have with a business.
- Not taking account of the target audience’s culture
Branding agencies in Nigeria tasked with the duty of helping a business create a strong brand should ensure that the culture of the business’s target audience is taken into consideration before creating strategies and tactics to market or tell stories meant to reach the audience. Even the slightest misinterpretation of what an audience stands for may result in a backlash that can negatively affect a brand.
- Brand stories that don’t include the target customer
This has been mentioned earlier. In crafting every brand story, make sure the active and potential customers can clearly see their roles in the story. A brand story shouldn’t just be about the accomplishments of the brand but how the brand and customers coexist because of each other.
- Too much technical jargon and sale oriented conversations
This is usually visible on a brand’s website, brochure or social media pages. An overload of technical terms that an average customer can’t relate to is a big turn off. Every social media conversation also doesn’t have to be geared towards making a sale. Sometimes, engaging with customers just to add value to them without making a sale is what will make them remember your brand above others when they actually need to buy a product.
- Not leveraging social media
Branding agencies in Nigeria are definitely not new to working with brands that have no online presence. Branding agencies in Nigeria need to help more businesses see reasons why they should have a strong online presence. There’s this beautiful post on social media marketing that can help agencies pinpoint the importance of social media marketing and the tools needed effectively market well on social media.
Creating a strong brand identity for a business is a mixture of science and art. It takes genuine care for the business and its customers to create a consistent and positive picture in the mind of the customers. This is why agencies and businesses should take time out to research and brainstorm before branding or rebranding a business.
One more thing.
At Check DC, we’ve crafted strong brand identities for a couple of businesses. Check out our case studies here.