Let’s make one thing clear: despite what you may have heard, branding is not dead. It is in fact, very much alive, relevant, and in some cases, more important than ever. Marketing experts have been tempted to declare the concept of brands to be dead because of the rise of endless, omnipresent, one-click sales. The instant gratification of being able to buy whatever you want or need almost anytime or anywhere does recontextualize or relationships with brands to be sure, but it does not eliminate them. Here are some key reasons that branding still matters.
Top of Mind Awareness Still Drives Buying Decisions
When you think of iconic brands, whether they are industry leaders or niche performers, you instantly recall their logos, slogans, and brand voice. This is because they have taken the time, resources, and energy to do everything right with a long-term branding strategy. They are masters of messaging and brand management. This has paid off for them by becoming household names and achieving top of mind awareness in their category. If you think of their product, you think of them first, and if you need it, you buy it from them. If this concept was no longer important, we would simply buy the least expensive version of everything. Think of it this way, if branding doesn’t matter, why do brands spend so much money on SEO to place higher in their rankings?
Brand Loyalty is Re-Emerging
Millennials and members of Generation Z have different relationships with brands than their predecessors, as each generation has different values. People in this age range typically place value on social consciousness, whether that comes in the form of environmental sustainability or fair trade. Companies that address their social footprint in their messaging can endear themselves to this customer group. Is that not a clear case for the power of branding?
Brand Experience is More Important Than Ever
In the age of social media, the brand experience can be a do-or-die proposition. If people love your brand, they will become unofficial ambassadors and sing your praises. That’s great! If they have a poor experience with your product, they will rake you across the coals with scathing posts and reviews. Managing that feedback is a critical component of branding.
Companies that value short-term sales bursts over long-term brand equity are thinking shortsightedly. Not having a clearly defined brand and brand strategy has never been a recipe for success, and even with revolutionary changes in the marketing universe, it never will be.