Today we are answering the question on every entrepreneur’s mind: Why Do I Need a Brand?
I love this question because it really gets to the heart of why we buy. The simplest answer for why brands are such a big deal is because you’re going to have a brand whether you create it yourself or not. If you don’t decide what your brand is, other people will decide for you. Building your brand gives you the opportunity to connect with millions of your ideal individuals on a more intimate level than any one person, product or service is capable of doing alone.
The Decision to Buy is Emotional.
MRI studies have actually proven that our brains biochemically react to our favorite brands in the exact same way as they react to our favorite people. Great brands become trusted friends. A great product or service can be a satisfying purchase, but that feeling is fleeting. It’s an impression that wears off all too quickly in this fast-paced digital marketplace where the average person sees around 5,000 ads a day! What stays with people, what makes people return again and again, is the feeling of belonging to a community that only a brand can create. A great brand is the embodiment of the values and ethics that are being upheld by your company. It says to your customers, “We are connected by a common thread, and we belong at the same table.” A great brand is the relatable personality that develops in accordance to the principals of what your company stands for, and what your company will never stand for. A great brand lays the groundwork for your company to build a consistency in character that gives people a good reason to give you their trust. And you know what we humans do when we begin to trust?
We begin to love.
When we recognize ourselves in the brands we love, because we feel like that brand is aligned with our own values and ethics, then the act of buying from that brand becomes a form of self-expression. People will buy from your brand because they will come to know and love the way your brand makes them feel about themselves time after time. Now, do you need a brand to be successful? I mean…The short answer is yes. Especially in this fast-paced digital marketplace where information is constantly flooding our senses, and we’ve needed to all become professional deleters just get through the day. Did you know that of all the ads we see in a day, we automatically delete 99% of them? It’s called The Blink Test, and it basically means that if the first thing your ideal individuals see (Your name, tagline, and logo) doesn’t connect with them emotionally in 3-5 seconds, *BLINK* you get deleted. Bottom line? It takes a brand to pass The Blink Test. But brands were vital long before the internet and even longer before The Blink Test. Let me give you a quick, timeless example of how having a great brand has always influenced the success of a new venture.
Way back in 1893, a pharmacist from North Carolina wants to invent the next great soda pop recipe. He just knows he has it in him, like a calling. He can feel it in his gut. I bet many of you know the feeling that I’m talking about. The feeling that you know you have something to share, an idea, a product, a philosophy, a service…that could make people’s lives better— if only you knew how to reach the people who need you most! When this pharmacist finally has his finished product, there’s no doubt in his mind that it’s something really special. People will love it! Beaming with pride, he names it Brad’s Drink, and it proceeds to sit on the shelf and collect way more dust than buyers. In 1898, (five years and thousands of dollars later) in a last ditch effort to put his soda into circulation, the pharmacist decides to create a brand for his new and amazing product. So, in accordance with his product’s new branding image, Brad’s Drink is renamed to Pepsi-Cola…and as we all know, PepsiCo. is still today, one of the most recognizable brands across the globe. Why? He didn’t change the ingredients. He just created a brand. Well let me ask you this: What emotion does “Brad’s Drink” inspire within you? What emotion would that name inspire in anyone other than Brad, himself? This name wasn’t about creating a community for his ideal individuals to call home. It was all about him, so on the surface, his product didn’t have the emotional depth it takes to connect with millions of people, and no one felt moved to purchase his product. That is the power of branding. The decision to buy is emotional. Once he chose a brand that inspired a consistent emotional response in his ideal individuals, people began to recognize it as a place where they belong. Pepsi is a name that inspires fun, playful energy. That’s what the Pepsi brand is all about and that’s what customers are still buying to this day.
As a business, if your definition of being successful means creating a vibrant and growing community of loyal and engaged customers who can’t wait to tell their friends about you, then your definition of success is, in fact, Brand Loyalty. Brand Loyalty is your business plan, and I’d say that makes branding A REALLY BIG DEAL.