Let me start by asking you the much-debated question – which came first, the chicken or the egg? Many scientists and researchers have come up with expert theories and explanations, only to contradict each other. An equivalent situation arises in engineering and science, and is known as a circular reference, wherein a parameter is required to calculate that parameter itself.
The case with brands is quite similar. Contrary to the ideology of the industry we are working in, one ponders, does a brand make my identity? In the current landscape, what you wear defines who you are. Brands possess the power to uplift one’s self esteem as well as social status. People also use brands to achieve their goals through the power of advertising. But isn’t it you who build the brand? Or is it vice versa?
Advertising plays an important role here. It has been influencing people’s purchase behavior since the beginning of time. Over the years, advertising has become more dynamic and hence more powerful. While the concepts and strategies of advertisers are evolving, its core function remains the same: communication. Like they say, great ideas without great promotion are as good as nonexistent. You have to constantly communicate with your audiences to maintain transparency and trust. And that’s not all: how you communicate is as important as what you communicate.
Communication doesn’t just mean social media. Today, people are spending more than 50 percent of their marketing mix on social media. Some are only into social media marketing. It may work for some, but that’s just a handful. Social media is just one of the mediums; it is simply another PR or sales support channel.
Brand image building and brand building your image are two sides of the same coin. For instance, consider the many events that take place. An event is perceived as worthy only when it is attached to a certain label. Very few would participate in just about any charity run. However, Nike’s We Run DXB that was held earlier this month saw more than 13,000 runners flocking to Downtown Dubai to participate. Here, the brand lent its identity to the event, making it credible.
On the other hand, the mobile manufacturer Huawei announced that Lebanese singing sensation Nancy Ajram would be its brand ambassador in the MENA region. The well-known singer has been endorsing Huawei’s new phones and the brand has gone up the charts in no time. This is a clear example of a person or celebrity lending their identity to make a brand worthy.
In October, Huawei reported that it was on track to ship 100 million phones this year. Strategy Analytics estimates that market leader Samsung saw its market share fall from 24.5 percent in Q3 2014 to 23.7 percent in Q3 2015, while Counterpoint has the numbers at 23.9 percent to 22.9 percent.
The question really is: what makes brands so credible? And the answer is: “advertising”. The key is to understand your customers and communicate in a way that resonates with them. In short, your media spend mix has to be a combination of various factors. Most importantly, it has to help you communicate the right message to the right audience.
It’s not always about how innovative or different you are because. if you’re into making garments, unless your shirt has three arms, it isn’t really a new idea. It’s about how you differentiate your brand that gives you more than just a competitive edge.
The process of branding is nothing but a science. You either follow practiced methods or create new ones. People these days live by brands. There are several things quoted about building one’s identity – they once stood valid, but maybe not anymore. It’s about time we understood how imperative brands are to add weight to an individual’s personality and vice versa.
Your name or your product may be an icon or a trademark, but is it a brand? And if the answer to that is uncertain, how sure are you of sustaining that amidst this status-conscious society that’s flooded with a multitudinous choice of labels? Finally, the question still remains: do you make a brand or does a brand make your identity?