The value of branding
How do you see branding?
What is a brand? What is branding? They are vague. But we use them often. It might not be easy to tell the difference and explain what they are. We’ve learned that Japanese companies view branding as advertising, brand logos, names, or product images. It seems random. Europeans don’t see it as such.
The Japanese government stat in 2020 shows that SMEs takes branding less seriously by 1.8% than R&D by over 55%. And Japan’s investment in branding as a percentage of GDP is much lower, 1/3 or 1/2 than the US, UK, and France. Why there is a gap between countries? To understand the concept of branding, we’ll look at the product, brand, and then branding.
What is a product?
A product can be anything like smartphones, skin lotions, streaming video services, or car parts. Buyers pay you in trade for the features, functions, and benefits that sellers offer.
For example, you want to buy new smartphones. You have lists of specs from providers, but they look the same. It takes photos, exchanges messages & calls, and searches for information. So, how do companies sell the same product, but make buyers want to buy from you, not from others? What do you do? You create your products as a brand.
What is a brand?
You’ll look at products in the mobile phone stores. There are thousands of brand names. When you are uninformed, and it won’t mean much to you. But you hold them as the brands when you find them both practical (e.g. it’s easy to use) and emotional (e.g. it makes you feel happy).
As we mentioned, products seem the same. But the brands give different meanings to products.
- Apple is creative and unique
- Samsung offers stylish and innovative
- Xiaomi sends fun and friendly
So, a brand’s task is to give well-defined meaning to a specific product or company and guide buyers to grow their minds and feelings about them.
What is branding?
Branding is to help buyers recognize and experience brands through all touchpoints that you have built. It creates what the brand is in their minds, gets their liking, and gives them reasons to choose you, not others. It’s a tool.
So, what are touchpoints in smartphones examples? The touchpoints are what buyers experience. You get specs, see ads, read articles and others’ reviews, try products at stores, and talk with a salesperson. In the end, you get all input and interpret them to judge for starting trust in brands. Trusting is key.
Branding adds to the employee’s merits. It influences their acts – if they feel connected to a brand and the products inspire them, they want to work for it and be a part of the brand world.
Hence, the branding has two roles:
- Building buyers’ experiences and merging them to serve their faith in brands over time
- Uniting employees’ efforts to build a brand
To end, we’ll look at the definition again. A product is what you sell for trade. A brand is a consumer’s perception of products. Branding is a tool to build its perception. In the case of SMEs in Japan, it is essential to realize the value of branding. It takes time to show its effect, but its investment is worth it to get a return.