Tech branding brings your company to life and infuses it with meaning, value, and individuality. In fact, tech is the sector with the highest brand value comprising 13.38% of the total value of all businesses globally, so let’s discuss the importance of branding in more detail.
Branding is like adding a face and personality to your brand, which is mandatory for improving brand recognition and building trust with your audiences. Why does trust matter? Branding statistics are indicative. Eight out of ten people need to trust a brand to make a purchase. Moreover, customers are more than twice as likely to stay loyal and become brand advocates when they trust the brand.
So, customer trust translates directly into increased revenue, profitability, and brand value. Building a unique and appealing brand image that inspires trust and loyalty is vital for thriving in today’s highly competitive market. This is where an effective brand strategy steps in.
In this article, you’ll learn the multiple benefits tech branding can bring to your business. You’ll find inspiring examples of companies that have done a great job creating a consistent and outstanding brand image. We’ll also discuss the potential impact and cost of branding failure.
So, let’s dive right in by defining and distinguishing between the concepts of brand and branding.
What Is Branding?
Branding is the process of establishing a distinct identity for your business and building an appealing brand image in the mind of your target audience and consumers. This includes developing visual and verbal elements that communicate the brand's personality, values, and promise to consumers. Think of it as the "soul" of your company that sets you apart from all other players in the industry.
Branding vs. Brand - Key Differences
Brand and branding are two related concepts in business and marketing but have distinct meanings and functions. Unlike branding, a brand is a set of characteristics, values, and attributes that distinguish a product, service, or company from others in the market. Here are some key differences between branding and brand.
Branding is a broader concept encompassing all the activities and strategies aimed at building, promoting, and maintaining a brand's reputation and recognition. It includes creating a brand name, logo, tagline, packaging, advertising, PR, and other marketing initiatives. On the other hand, a brand is more specific and focused on the attributes and characteristics that define the brand and its unique value proposition.
Branding is an ongoing process that requires continuous effort and attention to adapt to changing market conditions, consumer preferences, and business goals. Brand, however, is more stable and long-lasting, reflecting the brand's core values and identity that remain relatively consistent over time.
Branding is designed to shape how consumers perceive the brand and its products or services. It aims to create a positive, memorable, and emotional connection with the target audience so they choose the brand over its competitors. Brand, on the other hand, is the outcome of branding, as it represents the reputation, image, and associations consumers have with the brand.
Elements of Branding
The five main brand components that you will need to address when developing your brand strategy are:
Brand positioning refers to your brand's unique place in the marketplace. The key elements of brand positioning include:
- Identifying your target audience and competitors.
- Determining your brand's value proposition.
- Developing your positioning statement.
By highlighting what you can deliver to the target market, you can establish a compelling brand positioning strategy that strikes a chord with customers.
Brand identity refers to all visual elements representing your brand, designed to create your brand image in your audience’s minds and set you apart from your competitors. Such elements are the logo, color palette, typography, and packaging design. Brand identity is essential for building brand awareness, establishing customer trust, and fostering a solid emotional connection between your brand and audience.
Brand image refers to customers’ perceptions and beliefs about your brand based on their experiences with it and the messages conveyed through its marketing and communications. The elements that shape your brand image are your:
- Brand's visual identity
- Product quality
- Customer service
- Public relations
Look at the diagram below to better understand the distinction between brand identity and brand image.
When done right, a positive brand image can help attract customers and build long-term relationships.
Your company's brand culture is its internal values, beliefs, and practices, which shape your brand's behavior. Think of it as the DNA of your business, representing the set of core guidelines that define its personality.
A strong brand culture highlights a clear purpose and vision for everyone in the company to follow for day-to-day operations. It creates a sense of unity and common goal among employees, leading to greater job satisfaction and motivation. Moreover, it can attract and retain customers who share similar values, strengthening your brand's position in the market.
Brand personality refers to the human characteristics your brand embodies. Think of it as a person you have to describe. A consistent set of personality traits brings additional value and is what a particular consumer segment can relate to. Here are the five dimensions of brand personality and their corresponding human traits. They can be attributed to a brand to build a brand personality that will resonate with and attract a specific target audience.
Your brand's unique identity, including its values, tone of voice, visual elements, and overall persona, shapes its emotional connection with your customers. By consistently embodying certain traits that appeal to the particular target audience, you can differentiate yourself from competitors, create a memorable experience, and improve your brand equity.
Examples of Branding
Let’s look at some real-life examples of brands that have done an outstanding job branding and building their brand personalities.
Nike’s Brand Personality
With its iconic "Just Do It" slogan and the famous Swoosh logo, Nike has created a solid and recognizable brand associated with athleticism, motivation, and empowerment.
Nike's brand identity inspires and enables athletes to push their limits and achieve their goals.
Apple’s Brand Personality
With a brand value of $355,080 million, Apple was the most valuable brand in 2022. Apple's brand identity is characterized by its minimalist design, sleek products, and innovative technology, represented by their popular slogan “Think different.”
The brand has built a reputation for creating user-friendly, intuitive, and stylish products and has come to stand for innovation, quality, and creativity.
Coca-Cola’s Brand Personality
Coca-Cola's brand identity conveys happiness and refreshment. The company's logo and distinctive red-and-white color scheme are instantly recognizable.
Consumers associate the brand with a long-standing tradition, celebration, and joy.
Google’s Brand Personality
Google's brand identity is about making information accessible and easy to find. Its brand is associated with simplicity, efficiency, and innovation.
The company's clean, minimalist design and user-friendly interface have made it the go-to search engine for millions of people worldwide.
Amazon’s Brand Personality
Amazon's brand identity conveys convenience and customer satisfaction.
People associate the brand with fast, reliable delivery, a wide range of products, and excellent customer service.
What Are the Purposes of Branding?
Branding is an essential aspect of any business, and its purpose is to build consistency across all touchpoints. Let’s take a detailed look at what branding helps you achieve.
Enhance Brand Recognition
In today's crowded marketplace, having a recognizable brand identity is crucial for setting yourself apart from the competition and making a lasting impression on your target audience. By establishing a consistent visual and emotional connection, effective branding enhances brand recognition and ensures your brand is top-of-mind when potential customers are ready to buy.
Build Trust and Loyalty with Audiences
Branding is about making a promise to your audiences and showing them your commitment to delivering on this promise. Communicating common values and beliefs through your branding is a powerful strategy to build trust and loyalty with your target audiences. Why? Simply because we tend to resonate with what we know and what is closer to our personality. People trust alike.
An effective branding strategy helps you deliver a consistent message across all marketing channels, which enables you to capture your target audience's attention and drive engagement.
With a unified brand message, you reinforce your brand's core values, mission, and unique selling proposition. Thus, your business will stand out from competitors and have a greater chance of making a lasting impression on potential customers.
Build Company Culture and Make Employees Feel Satisfied
Through branding, you communicate your company's core values, mission, and vision to your employees, which helps them understand their roles better. Moreover, proud employees will likely share positive messages about your brand with their friends and family, even on social media. The sense of connection and purpose can lead to improved job satisfaction, higher morale, and better performance.
Importance of Branding for Tech Companies
Although branding could impose significant challenges for technology businesses and early-stage startups, it is particularly important for such companies. Building an outstanding brand facilitates the three aspects of ensuring a flying start: raising money, establishing promising partnerships, and hiring an excellent team. And these are just a few of the advantages that effective branding brings to tech companies and startups. Let’s look at some more benefits you can get by establishing a robust brand.
Advantages of Building a Strong Brand
Why should businesses leave the cover of anonymity and come into the spotlight? Here is a list of the essential advantages you can get from investing in creating a strong brand.
- Improved customer recognition due to building a unique brand personality that distinguishes you from every other business in your niche
- Enhanced credibility because you, as a brand, ensure utmost transparency of your processes and deliver on all your promises and claims
- Positive word-of-mouth marketing as your audiences start associating your brand with the outstanding products and customer experiences you provide
- Improved customer loyalty resulting from the relationships of trust you build
- Easily roll out new products as your brand name becomes your strongest advertisement and guarantee
- Reduced pricing sensitivity due to the enhanced customer loyalty
- Retain better talent due to the impeccable brand reputation that attracts customers and employees alike
- Attract influencers because of the opportunity for mutual benefits
- Reinforced corporate partnerships resulting from your outstanding brand reputation
- Better stakeholder relationships fostered by transparency, shared values, and the pride of being part of a great brand
- Increased employee engagement thanks to promoting a company culture that reflects your brand identity and values
- Stronger financial performance as a result of all the benefits listed above
Consequences of Branding Failure
A Steep Decline in Profits
Colgate's entry into the frozen dinner market with "Colgate Kitchen Entrees" in 1982 is a classic example of branding failure. This resulted in a poor fit between the Colgate brand and the food market, causing consumer confusion and mistrust.
The company failed to foresee the impact of the existing brand image on the consumer perception of its newly developed offerings. This is the most probable scenario in case of non-compliance of the new product line with the already established brand personality and image.
Loss of Popularity and Bankruptcy
An example of a loss of popularity due to branding failure is the decline of the Sears brand. Sears was once a highly successful retail chain with a strong brand identity, known for its quality products and customer service.
However, over time, the brand failed to adapt to changing market trends and competition from online retailers. Sears declared bankruptcy on October 15, 2018, and listed $11.3 billion in liabilities.
HSBC's "Assume Nothing" tagline in 2009 is a prime example of getting lost in translation. When translated, the tagline took on the meaning of "Do Nothing" in other languages. It caused a backlash from customers who interpreted it as a lack of trust in their banking relationships. While HSBC intended the slogan to communicate a "commitment to customer service," the public perceived it as "doubt and mistrust."
Delivering the wrong message can create confusion, misunderstanding, and negative brand perceptions, leading to losing customers and revenue. In HSBC’s case, for instance, mistranslation resulted in spending $10 million on the rebranding of its global private banking operations.
When Should Branding Be Done?
Branding is a continuous process of adapting brand identity and message to the ever-changing and increasingly demanding business environment. However, there are stages of the company life cycle where branding is particularly important.
When You Have Just Established a Business
The ideal time to start building your brand is when you've just launched your business. This way, you save time, establish your business's professionalism and attract your ideal prospects from the beginning.
When You Rebrand
Rebranding is the process of changing your business's image, messaging, or positioning. This can result from various reasons, such as:
- Changes in the market
- New business goals
- An outdated brand that no longer resonates with your target audience
When your company undergoes rebranding, it is crucial to establish a new brand identity that effectively communicates the new brand messaging and values. This is where you need branding to help you create a brand that will resonate with your target audience and meet your business goals.
When Updating Your Portfolio and Products
When introducing a new portfolio or products, consider how they fit within your current branding strategies. You may have to reposition your brand to align with these offerings. And this is where branding comes into play again.
The key is ensuring the consistency of your product and services with your brand identity. Never forget to think about your current customers, the expectations you set, and the promises you made. So, it is vital to make sure that your new offerings are in line with and build on everything you’ve already created.
Mergers and Acquisitions
A combined branding strategy is necessary if your business has recently expanded by merging with another company. It's an ideal time to create a brand identity that reflects the new united personality, takes the best of the two worlds, and engages with much expanded and diversified audiences.
The Time to Build a Strong Brand Is Now
Branding plays a crucial role in running a successful business. By creating a distinct identity and showing your audiences what you stand for, you build a deeper connection of trust with them and boost brand recognition. Successful branding has numerous other advantages, including enhanced credibility, positive word-of-mouth marketing, increased employee engagement, and better stakeholder relationships.
Getting tech branding right and developing the best-tailored branding strategies will help you avoid the common pitfalls and consequences like profit loss, reputation damage, miscommunication, and loss of customers. Therefore, it is essential to invest time and effort in building a solid and consistent brand that communicates your company's values and resonates with your target audience.