Branding is the unique name, design, tone, and message of a company, product, or service. A successful brand differentiates itself from the competition by standing out, being immediately understandable, relatable, memorable, and evoking a specifically targeted selection of impressions and emotions.
Branding is strategic. It signals the personality and purpose of a business, and influences the perception of its products or services. Creating a successful brand requires transferring focus from ourselves to the customer, understanding what they want, need, and how they communicate. Brands add value when they communicate verbally and nonverbally, rationally and emotionally.
Over time, brands evolve to stay relevant, and optimize changes in consumer behavior. Brands that cannot do this struggle, for example: Sears and JC Penny. A great product supported by a great brand, will get consumers to see it as the authoritative solution, or most desirable option.
Marketing and communications are tactical. Marketing and communication delivers the brand to the customer. The brand impression, which creates the value and strength of a brand, is formed by the sum of experiences and perception a consumer has at every interaction with your company or product. Some of those can be influenced, others cannot. Successful marketing and communication initiatives influence consumer behavior, and react to it at the same time. They clearly deliver the unique brand message, confirming credibility, building trust, creating an emotional connection, motivating to buy, and inspiring customers to come back for more.
Design is key. More than making things pretty, design-forward brands such as Apple, Nike, and Dyson spike the perception of value. In the case of Apple, we see that superior design can even outperform product functionality in the minds of the consumer. The Design Value Index (DVI) latest report found that companies that integrate design aspects into their corporate strategy can outpace industry peers by as much as 228%.