Written by: Per Toeffner Knudsen | Illustration: Katrin Meinert & Lisbeth Jensen
“Too many companies want their brands to reflect some idealized, perfected image of themselves. As a consequence, their brands acquire no texture, no character and no public trust.” –Richard Branson, founder of The Virgin Group
“A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well.” –Jeff Bezos, CEO and founder of Amazon
Branding means which company image you want to create and communicate to your business partners, customers and other stakeholders. You need to support the Brand Image you create by the Brand Identity you establish.
Your Image is what you communicate – your Identity is what you actually deliver!
The Image may include “Ethos – Logos – Pathos” as arguments. Eco Branding must to be successful include Ethos, ethical and moral arguments as well as Pathos, emotional arguments regarding the wellbeing of People and the Planet. Furthermore, Logos arguments regarding the Profit you need in order to stay in business.
Your output may be tangible products, service products or a combination. Customer expectations go backward in your supply chain. The needs, preferences and buying behavior of the final customer defines the requirements towards all of your suppliers and sub-suppliers.
You need to support the image you communicate by investing resources in building up your identity partly by selecting business partners with a complementary Brand Image/Brand Identity. You may choose inspiration from seven different branding platforms (Heding et. al., 2008) depending on the preferred buying motive of your primary target customer.
- With Economic Man based Branding you address the rational buying motive with a combination of the 4-P´s – Product – Price – Promotion – Place:
You need to invest in strengthening your quality/price performance if your customer is purely rational minded in buying behavior and communicate this as your Unique Value Proposition.
- With Image based Branding you need to invest in developing and strengthening your organizational values and culture of your company if your customer is partly emotional and ethical in buying behavior and communicate this as your Unique / Emotional Value Proposition.
- With Consumer based Branding you need to invest in strengthening your products ability to address and positively activate the five senses of your customer base if your customer base buying decisions on attractive look, smell, taste, sound and kinesthetic in buying behavior and communicate this as your Unique / Emotional Value Proposition.
- With Personality based Branding you need to invest in establishing and strengthening a relationship with a preferred role model as an ambassador if your customer has a positive reference personality based on the beliefs and behavior of this person and communicate this as your Unique / Emotional Value Proposition.
- With Relationship based Branding you need to invest in dialog with your customers in order to establish and strengthening a close customer relationship, and communicate this as your Unique / Emotional Value Proposition.
- With Community based Branding you need to invest in strengthening agile brand societies and communicate this as your Unique / Emotional Value Proposition. Elon Musk, Bjoern Lomborg and Greta Thurnberg as some examples gather different communities all focused within sustainability, they differ in their perceived preferred future world by different arguments. Which future world do you prefer?
- With Culture based Branding you need to invest in your ability to strengthen your coherence with emerging Megatrends and communicate this as your Unique / Emotional Value Proposition.
Whatever branding platform you consider VIA University can facilitate you in the process.