Succeeding in business isn’t simply about providing customers with strong products and services. Although that is of course important, it’s also necessary to forge a relationship with customers on a more emotional level. That requires strong branding.
A brand is a company’s identity. It consists not only of its visual iconography, but of its overall values and “attitude” as well. If your company was a person, your brand would basically be its personality.
To better understand how companies have used branding to thrive, consider the following major examples.
5 Companies That Understand Branding
Apple is an interesting company. Regardless of your opinion on its products, many tech experts point out that Apple’s devices aren’t actually superior to their competitors’ on a technical level.
That means better technology isn’t the only reason Apple has managed to attract and maintain such a passionate customer base. When Steve Jobs co-founded Apple decades ago, he envisioned the company as an icon of rebellion against the establishment. He also cultivated a brand that, unlike many other tech brands, celebrated the arts.
This approach yielded major results. To this day, many of Apple’s most loyal customers buy the company’s products because they feel they are participating in a minor (or, in some cases, major) revolution.
Coca-Cola is one of the most popular brands on the planet. It’s also one of the simplest. Although the specific ways in which the company has communicated its values have changed over the years, in general, Coca-Cola has always promoted the values of happiness and sharing.
This messaging has remained consistent. That’s important to remember. Although sometimes rebranding is necessary, in many instances, consistent branding is key to successful branding.
The Walt Disney Company is another example of a brand that has dominated the world thanks to the consistency of its messaging. Disney celebrates the joys of childhood, family, and adventure. It resonates with an audience that wants to escape to happier times in fantasy worlds, while also enjoying the happy memories they share with loved ones in the real world. These are universal values that have allowed the Disney brand to thrive throughout the entire globe.
Nike is an immensely successful brand. Like Coca-Cola, however, it’s also a simple brand.
Nike knows its audience. People interested in Nike products care about pushing their physical limits. Thus, Nike’s branding has long promoted an association between its products and intense athleticism. This has allowed it to remain popular regardless of changes in marketing trends and consumer attitudes. Nike simply honed in on a value that’s both essential and timeless.
This may seem like a less significant example, but it’s worth touching on because it demonstrates how a company can grow in popularity by establishing a brand’s values, and actually adhering to those values.
REI’s branded values involve celebrating the great outdoors. Thus, the company gives its employees ample time off to enjoy outdoor adventures. This authenticity impresses its customers and shines in the behavior of its employees.
All that said, it’s important to remember that a brand needs to be genuine to be effective. You can’t succeed by modeling your brand specifically after another. However, you can reflect on past examples to better understand why some brands are more effective than others.