It's all about the brand!
Ask the average young consumer what they think about McDonald's and the response will undoubtedly be something along the lines of "yummy food and fun times”, even though the reality is that they serve average food in average surroundings.
Why the seeming dichotomy?
Because McDonald’s has turned branding into an art form, and young consumers identify with their branding message, and the message of many other brands, more today than ever before.
This isn’t to say that branding, as a concept or a strategy, is new. Far from is, as branding has been around for as long as humans have been selling good and services to their neighbours.
In today’s digital age however, branding has take on a whole new context and new level of urgency as well.
The reason is simple; where before the perception of a brand was derived mostly from static, fleeting images, today’s consumer (thanks to the proliferation of smartphones) is much more intimately connected to a company’s branding efforts.
Even more, where a branding message used to be seen rather infrequently, today there are numerous daily opportunities for brands to interact with their consumers, making their message more important (and timely) than ever.
The challenge of course is to deliver a brand message that stands out from the rest, not an easy task with literally millions of brand messages being sent and received by consumers on a daily basis.
How does a brand connect with consumers in a way that’s memorable and creates an affinity for their products?
That starts with being unique and using graphics, photographs, videos and words that clearly and concisely tell consumers what they can expect when they purchase and/or use your products and services. When a consumer views your brand’s message, there should be no confusion whatsoever as to what they can expect.
Creating an emotional connection with your target market is also extremely important. As we already mentioned, today's consumer is more intimately connected with your branding message than ever before, due to the fact that they carry your message around in their pocket all day long. If you can create a message that consumers identify with on a personal and emotional level, your branding should be quite successful.
Another key to successful branding is consistency.
When you use consistent images and messages your potential customers will more easily recognize your brand and feel more comfortable making a purchase. They will also begin to identify on a personal level and create the emotional connection we mentioned in the previous paragraph.
Branding also helps internally as well, as it keeps your team focused, gives them a clear understanding of the message you wish to put out to the public, and increases the value of your brand over and above the worth of the physical assets it contains. For example, companies like Apple and FedEx have a brand value that exceeds their physical value by far.
In closing, if you’re searching for your branding message, simply ask yourself this question; when consumers think about your brand, what is the response that you'd like them to have? Once you have that answer, all of your branding efforts should be focused on creating a message that will induce the specific response you desire.
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