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A NEW ERA OF BRANDING

What Has Changed? And What Does It Mean For Businesses like Yours?

The worldwide proliferation of the Internet in the early 1990’s set about a chain of unprecedented events that altered the way consumers shop. Here are some statistics that show the significance of that change:
• Estimated total number of digital shoppers by 2020: 2.05 billion (that is more than 25% of the world’s entire population mind you!)
• Estimated e-commerce sales worldwide by 2021: 17.5% of retail sales worldwide – the shift from traditional brick and mortar shops to online e-commerce is a trajectory that cannot be stopped!
• 81 percent of consumers conduct online research before making a purchase online – which means, if you are not present, you will not even be considered.
If you are a business owner, you must have experienced the change yourself firsthand or at the very least witnessed significant shifts in your industry.
Given such dramatic changes to the consumer purchase journey, marketers have since scrambled to reinvent the way they reach out to their customers. Amongst the many things which changed – today we will be focusing on “Branding”.

A New Era of Branding

Back in the days before the Internet, online shops, and social media, branding comprised mainly of the company’s logo, brand colors, fonts, promotional collateral (usually print or for those with bigger budgets TV ads), and not much more.
Many businesses then, did not pay much attention to the significance of branding – thinking that branding is just for the big boys.
Now, in our hyper-connected world, branding is not only no longer as simple, but instead, essential for all businesses – regardless of scale – from small neighborhood stores to startups and more.
Now, branding is not only about the visuals. Branding in the 21st century is about consistently communicating the essence of a business across multiple touchpoints (on and offline) to customers.
And finally, customers are now active contributors to the brand experience. Using the example of social media platforms, many customers have taken to their favorite social media platforms to promote and shoutout for their preferred brands – which can then, in turn, be used by brands as authentic and genuine “User-generated content” to feature their brand community.
And that is just the tip of the iceberg.
So, what is the lesson here? The way customers interact with brands has evolved, and that means it is about time for businesses to change the way they develop their branding.

More Than A Logo

Before we delve into how to go about changing the way your brand your business (in the next section), let us take a quick look at some examples of what great branding in this day and age is all about.

Visual Identity – Holy Rice

To showcase the importance of visual identity in allowing customers to realize – “Hey, I am interacting with Holy Rice” – we have two examples.
Holy Rice is an Asian food delivery service in Germany. As you can see from the visuals, every touch point – from the packaging boxes, paper bags, chopstick sleeves and even uniforms for their staff, have the same minimalistic and cheery elements consistently applied throughout.

Visual Identity – Centralais Food Court

Another larger scale of how brand identity works – can be seen from this massive rebranding exercise for Centralais Food Court.
In rebranding the Rigas Centralitirgus – Europe’s largest market and bazaar in Riga, Latvia, the creative team looked into marrying two contrasting elements – the authentic heritage of the site with modern sensibilities.
The result? Cheery bright visuals with abstract color and forms, that tie back to each unique stall’s roots. For example, the tempura store had bright orange colors (think salmon?) and grid like patterns that are easily associated with the Japanese culture.
These elements not only worked well at physical touchpoints on site, but also translated well digitally on the website, and also social media!

Make Your Fans Your Brand Ambassadors – Lively

As we mentioned in the earlier section, with the prevalence of social media, your fans are your best brand ambassadors.
Lively, a small lingerie company, did extremely well by engaging their community of “Boss Babe Ambassadors” who help to spread the word and Instagram pictures of the products they love to wear!
Like them, many small apparel companies also regularly host live fitting sessions on Instagram where customers can interact and clarify questions with the brand!
As you have noticed, some of the examples have almost nothing to do with the logo itself, showing that branding has truly progressed into a whole package, a community, beyond just a logo.

Creating Your Brand Statement

Now, the part you have eagerly been waiting for – the Do-It-Yourself “Learning how to create your own brand statement” section has arrived!
Regardless of whether you are looking to do an entire overhaul of your brand, a simple update, or starting from scratch – this is a suitable exercise for you. Because we are starting right at the core – the brand statement.
Before we begin, what exactly is a brand statement?
“A summary of what is your business, its unique proposition, the target audience, the benefits for the customer all in one concise statement.”
Or in short, a comprehensive description of your business.
Here is how you can start crafting one for your specific business:
1. Here is a table with 6 key attributes of the business we want to highlight. Take the time to fill in each attribute with as many descriptive words as you can think up of.
General
How would you describe your brand
Culture
How would you describe the inner culture of your brand/company
Users
What would be a positive description of your target user profile
Voice
How do you envision the voice of the brand?
Emotional benefits
What intangible benefits does your client gets from interacting with your brand
Value
What is real (tangible) value for your client?
2. Narrow it down to only 1 for each attribute that you believe best represents your brand
3. Now use these 6 words to form your brand statement.
E.g., We are a trustworthy brand with a caring attitude towards health-conscious clients with an innovative attitude to make life easier by saving time and money.
And there you have it, an updated brand statement that encompasses all that your business stands for and your customers can look forward to experiencing at your every touchpoint.

What’s Next?

Now that you have a clear picture of what your business stands for, what is the next step? Coming up with a brand identity.
Essentially, it is taking your brand statement and translating it into visual and experiential cues – the tangible elements – that will help customers distinguish your brand from your competitors.
Some examples of strong brand identity include:
• Netflix’s iconic intro sound
• Coca Cola’s memorable red and white branding
• Ikea’s Do-It-Yourself manuals
• Apple’s stores that look consistently the same worldwide
• And many more
Interested in creating a strong brand identity for your business to stand out from the crowd?
Well, that is the topic of our next blog post!
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