Branding itself is a complex concept, and its strategies have undergone various changes over the centuries. This article will overview the critical points of branding and show the latest trends that help companies become recognizable on the market.
Lots of companies and services appear nowadays, and it is quite challenging to stand out among competitors. One thing that can help your business become unforgettable and outstanding is its branding identity. It does give not only the idea of your brand but also forms emotional connections that your product or service evokes.
Why Branding Is Important
But why is branding important? It is not enough to have a name and a logo nowadays as branding is totally different from what it used to be. Your service could be great, and the products could be exceptional and useful. Still, if you have no idea how to promote them and make your business memorable and outstanding, you will definitely lose the battle against competitors.
More and more companies appear regularly. It is challenging to stay on top and make people remember and choose your products. That is why branding plays a huge role in companies that care about their business.
Imagine that your business is a person. What should it look like? What friends will it have, and how will it win the hearts of the target audience? Start with a brand book and determine the main aspects of your “character”: from its brand name to the language it will use.
This “person” will represent your business or product and help you capture people’s attention. Those companies that understand the importance of branding usually get more. They may expect:
- new customers
Branding also supports advertising as it is easier to promote a product that is already widely known. That is why lots of companies struggle to get the idea of how branding works nowadays. Is it possible to rely on the examples of others? Well, it is tricky, as branding and its strategies change quickly. Let’s have a look at the history of branding and check what has changed over time.
History of Branding: How It Evolved Over Time
Have you ever wondered who invented branding and when it was actually used for the first time? There is a variety of theories about the origins of branding, and some of them state that it begins in the 1500s, noting that major shifts took place in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Let’s have a look at the development of branding and marketing over time and check what changes they have undergone over centuries.
Some other examples show that people wanted to make their goods or work distinguishable a long time ago:
- pottery makers from India, China, Rome, and Greece used branding to identify goods. Archeologists state that some pottery marks date back 4,000 to 5,000 years
- masons engraved symbols were used in Ancient Egypt for the pyramids and other Pharaoh-led construction projects
Originally, the word «brand» or «brandr» in Scandinavian language meant «to burn,» and it was used as a name for a burning piece of wood, and later, it described a torch. However, its meaning has changed by the 1500s, and people started to use it as a brand cattle to show ownership.
Basically, it was a starting point of using branding as a mark that helped to distinguish cattle ranches.
The industrial revolution has changed Europe and the USA dramatically and transformed the manufacturing processes. A wide variety of products appeared on the market, and indeed it made it difficult for owners to stand out. This was when a trademark appeared and the one that was registered for the first time dated in the 1870s.
Another important point is that during these times, branding became an intellectual property as trademark owners and companies were able to actually prove that the product or service belongs to them.
This was the beginning of the era of technologies and innovations as well as the starting point for some companies that are known worldwide nowadays:
The brands were promoted through newspapers, and the ads usually had not only the picture but also the main information about the company and its activity.
This is the period of time when advertisement got a new shape as more and more companies were promoting their products and services with the help of radio that was extremely popular those days.
And television came after radio and brought brand new ways of advertising. The first ads were surely far away from the ones we are used to. But just have a look at the first Coca-Cola advertising on TV.
The actual development of branding that we are familiar with has started in the 1960s and is still continuing its development nowadays, bringing more and more trends and modifications.
Let’s look at how branding strategies have changed over time on the example of a widely-know company.
Branding Strategies Change Over Time
It is not only the concept itself that has evolved during years but also strategies that have been used to promote products and services.
IKEA is a famous brand that started its long journey in 1943 in Sweden and has already won the customer’s hearts in 57 countries. It firstly was a tiny business that sold its goods via mail-order catalog and then turned into a massive corporation with its own history and values. The history of IKEA shows how the right strategy could lead to such great results:
- In the beginning, when IKEA was started by Ingvar Kamprad, a student from Sweden, it sold pens, wallets, jewelry, picture frames, and some other small things
- As the business grew, Ingvar could not make individual calls, and he had to advertise the products in the local newspaper. That was how their first ad in 1945 appeared
- In 1948 IKEA started to sell furniture that later became a core product of the business
- The history of the logo began a bit later. The first company’s logo appeared in 1951, as well as the first catalog that was launched the same year
- 1953 was a significant year as the first showroom was opened in Älmhult. It helped to fight with main competitors and resulted in the opening of the first shop in 1958
- The largest store in Stockholm was opened in 1965. It was the new important moment as the main concept (self-serve warehouse) appeared
- IKEA group was formed in 1982, and it led to further development of business
- In 1985 IKEA arrived in the USA and kept an expansion that started in 1963 (when stored appeared in Norway)
- In 2001 IKEA rail began and the food was launched in 2006
It can be seen that the company has dramatically grown and it has become popular almost all over the world nowadays. But how did it happen, and what helps IKEA to be on top among other competitors nowadays? And what are the main branding strategies it used in 2020?
As mentioned above, the first logo appeared in 1951, and it looked like a seal with the phrase «Khvalitets Garant» (the quality guarantee) and the company’s name inside. It was changed after a year, and IKEA started to play with brown colors and presented a new logo that stayed with it for a while. However, the one that is similar to the logo everyone recognizes nowadays appeared later, in 1967. The colors changed over time, but the main idea of simplicity has remained.
The logo that was presented in 1983 still stays almost the same now (with some small changes in the colors):
Does it help IKEA to stand out among others? If you still do not believe that logo has a huge impact and helps to promote your business, just have a look at this survey.
The main idea was to ask customers to draw logos of various brands and check how well they remember them. According to the data, IKEA’s logo was the one that was the most accurately drawn from memory by 156 Americans. The statistics show that 30% of participants drew the logo almost perfectly, and 41% drew the oval logo background.
But why is it so important to have a logo that stays in customers’ minds? The main reason is that it helps your business to be memorable and separates you from competitors.
Concept and Main Ideas
«People do not buy «what» you do, they buy «why» you do it» (Simon Sinek)
It is vital to have a clear understanding of your business goals and concepts to create a successful company or sell products and services effectively.
First of all, it helps to determine your target audience and choose promotion strategies. Secondly, it leads to creating a strong brand identity and building of emotional connections with your customers.
For instance, IKEA represents comfort and quality for comparatively low prices. It does not only sell furniture and home furnishings but also makes its audience feel coziness just from the beginning: while looking at catalogs or shopping in friendly stores.
But why do customers feel that this is the right place they want to buy things for their homes from? This is how branding actually works. If a company stays updated and not only knows but also implements the latest brand design trends, it will be on top of the list.
Brand Design Trends in 2020
Branding isn’t just a connection with a particular name and symbol. It means more nowadays. For instance, when it comes to IKEA, it is actually associated with comfort and coziness, and it does not only sell products but also offers an idea of a perfect home.
Basically, the company has formed strong emotional connections with the customers by using various tools: from easily recognizable logos to the wise promotion of its products.
With the changes happening in the world nowadays, it is essential to modify the process of promoting your brand and pay special attention to the improvement of your online world. Your website and various social media pages play a huge role today as more and more customers work remotely and prefer to buy products without going out.
It is essential to find out the latest branding trends and humanize your business so that your customers could easily recognize the products or services you suggest among a considerable amount of other offers.
Firstly, prepare your brand strategy plan.
- Brand objective: Set the mission and purpose of your company and find out what you can offer your customers
- Target audience: Determine your audience and realize their expectations and needs
- Brand positioning: Check out what techniques and strategies will help you stand out among competitors
- Brand identity: Think over how your brand will be represented and what emotions it will evoke. Pay attention to all the details, from making a catchy logo to providing good customer support. Create a completed story that your customers can enjoy
As soon as you figure out all the aspects mentioned above, think carefully about the marketing strategy as it is a long-term goal that helps you promote your product or service. Define relationships with your customers, and pay special attention to the online platforms and the way your company is presented there. It is crucial to make your brand memorable and create connections based on the emotions it evokes. Digital marketing is essential when it comes to increasing your audience and getting trust within the marketplace.
It is almost impossible to imagine any company that doesn’t have a website or account on social media. However, even if your company has a good branding strategy but doesn’t know how to implement all the ideas online, it will surely lose a battle against competitors.
According to the statistics, about 80% of consumers decide to purchase a product for the first time when they follow the brands on social channels. It means that if you create a strong brand presence on social media, you will more likely broaden your audience.
But how could you increase your brand recognition online? How to stand out among others and create a visual representation of your brand? It is stated that color can help to complete this goal. Interestingly, about 80% of customers mention that color plays a huge role in purchasing a product.
For example, we all know the colors used on the IKEAS logo but just have a look at their website and some social media pages:
They use the same colors creating a unique atmosphere and making you feel the coziness even browsing the social pages. It helps the company to stand out and makes it memorable and recognizable among others.
However, suppose you want to create a successful visual branding in the online world. In that case, you should also pay attention to such things as originality, quality, and surely consistency across all channels.
Undoubtedly, the good idea is to learn from such giant corporations as Apple, Nike, Tesla, and others, and find out how their branding strategies help them to be on top.
Branding has changed dramatically over time. Initially, it helped to differentiate the owners of the products. But now it means a lot as it creates the product or business image and helps promote it. Companies are trying to stay updated and implement all the latest branding trends.
The majority of successful companies note that if you want your product or business to be recognizable and win the hearts of your customers, the best idea is to create a strong brand identity that will help stand out:
- Start with analyzing your target audience and think over what branding strategies can have a positive effect on their perception of your product/service
- Pay attention to various channels to promote your brand. Make sure that your brand is presented in the same way on all the social pages you use. It is essential to have a consistent identity for your brand if you want to make it memorable
- Think about all the essential parts of your brand strategy: set goals, define your brand, establish your purposes, focus on your audience, prepare a catchy logo, and take care of your visual identity
- Do not only sell products or services. Create a story and humanize your business so that it can become the best friend to your customers
About the author: Nadezhda Maksimova, copywriter and customer support representative for Icons8
Title image from the Kingdom pack on Ouch library of vector illustrations.