The term ‘branding,’ when referring to a business, is often times misunderstood. A brand is so much more than a logo and a slogan, it is a feeling and a reputation. It is the sum of all marketing materials, products, interactions (for example customer service or repair work). It is both a rational and an emotional connection to a product or company. The most successful branding campaigns focus on values – the values of the company as well as the perceived lifestyle, social status and personal values of the target market.
Opportunities, referred to as “touch points,” give the company the chance to connect with their customers and to reinforce the brand values. As a result, three levels of brand loyalty emerge:
- Brand Recognition- The consumer is aware of the product
- Brand Preference – The consumer has a preferred brand, however, he or she will buy another if that specific product is not available
- Brand Insistence – The consumer will not settle for any other brand. He or she will go without before opting for a different brand of product.
With this in mind, let’s look at three companies who have done an exceptional job in the branding category.
Apple – “Where great ideas go on to do great things”
Apple started out in a garage more than 35 years ago. Despite rocky times throughout its history, this company has proven that it is a superb example of using branding successfully. Apple has the world believing in them as being the leader in the technology field. They have established it as fact that not only are they a company that is always on the cutting edge of technology, but that owning and using their products puts you, the user, into an elite class of your own. Apple offers products as well as a lifestyle. Have you ever spoken to an owner of a Mac computer? They will swear up and down that Apple is the only company capable of meeting their tech needs. This is the result of years of consistent and successful branding.
Coca-Cola – “Open Happiness”
It is common knowledge that soda is unhealthy. Yet, we have a fascination and an addiction to it. This is because companies such as Coca-Cola have told us that drinking a Coke is synonymous with being American. From a marketing angle, they are tenacious. Coca-Cola is aggressive about making sure that their consumers know that by choosing a Coke, they are choosing to take part in a long-standing American tradition.
McDonald’s – “i’m lovin’ it”
As fast-food chains go, McDonald’s dominates the market. They are constantly under fire for serving unhealthy food at a very low cost. And yet, they still have won over the hearts and stomachs of people all over the world. What differentiates McDonald’s from the rest of the pack is that they are able to change their image whenever they get hit hard. Eating at McDonald’s has basically become a rite of passage for children everywhere. Need a quick meal? McDonald’s. On a tight budget? McDonald’s. Need a fun place to take the kids (and the bonus is that they will actually EAT their meal)? McDonald’s. This is a company that has provided an answer, and a drive-through, for just about every scenario imaginable – whether it is the frazzled parent, a hungry teen, or the rushed employee. In fact, they have even responded to the health concerns by adding healthier options and reducing the serving size options.
All three of these companies are shining examples of dynamic branding campaigns. They have been able to weave their products into our lives, becoming a standard fixture in our culture. This is the power of a successful branding campaign!