Please note: This blog is the second in a four-part series about Branding
Part One: The 3 Qualities of Great Brands
Coming Next: Developing a Brand Name
How Important is Branding?
You’ve heard it’s important, but do you find yourself asking, “How important is branding to my business?”
Maybe you wonder if a brand has any influence over your bottom line. That’s what it comes down to, right? Is a brand worth the investment? Does it provide value? ROI?
We’re here to tell you that, YES, your brand is important to your business, and it’s important because it can increase your bottom line.
Sounds great, you think. Now your question is, “How can branding impact revenue and growth for my business?”
When Branding Becomes Valuable
A brand becomes important – valuable – to your business when it is used to affect the emotions of your customers.
Understanding the value of human emotion may be one of the biggest hurdles that we face when it comes to accepting the value of a brand.
That’s understandable. For many of us – not all, by any means – objectivity and rationality are more valuable than feelings. In our careers, such as technology or engineering, logic reigns supreme, making it difficult for us to understand the importance of emotion.
To answer the question, “How important is branding?”, you need to understand how important emotions are to decision making. In other words, you need to understand how your target market makes a buying decision, and realize that perception is a key ingredient in the decision-making process.
We, as humans, lean heavily on our emotions to help us make decisions. We don’t make decisions based *only on logic or reason, we also base them on how we feel.
A quote from Dale Carnegie, the writer of How to Win Friends and Influence People, is a constant reminder of this simple fact:
“When dealing with people, let us remember we are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatures of emotion…”
Carnegie is well-known for the development of the Dale Carnegie Course which teaches communication and human relations training. His belief was that that by influencing the emotions of others, we could change their behavior.
Understanding that humans use emotion to make decisions is the key idea behind neuroscientist Antonio Damasio’s research and teachings (check out his enlightening TED Talk).
He says, “I got interested in the emotions after studying patients who had lost the ability to emote and feel under certain circumstances. Many of those patients also had major impairments in their ability to make decisions.”
He puts forth the idea that emotions are not frivolous, but rather integral to the decision-making process:
“I continue to be fascinated by the fact that feelings are not just the shady side of reason but that they help us to reach decisions as well.”
It is this belief – the belief that emotions heavily influence decisions – that has driven researchers the world over to dissect human emotions and the things that influence them. Hoping that once they can influence the emotions of a person, they can also influence his choices and behavior.
Use Branding to Influence Emotions
The data is intriguing in many areas, but today I’ll focus on how it relates to branding. In other words, how important is branding when it comes to influencing the emotions of a consumer? What elements within a brand –specifically its name and colors – influence human emotions and the decision-making process?
And if we understand which specific elements of branding influence emotion, how can we use this knowledge to lead consumers to feel the emotions we want them to feel and, ultimately, make the choices we want them to make?
Let’s start with the name of your brand.
The Name of Your Brand
How does the name of your brand affect your target audience?
When you hear a word, a sound, or a phrase, you visualize something in your mind. What you imagine appears in your head spontaneously, and as it does, you feel an emotion.
When it comes to branding, there are three things that are of interest regarding sound:
1) What emotions are evoked in those who hear it?
2) Are the emotions evoked consistent with your brand identity and logo design?
3) Is it easy to remember?
The Color of Your Brand
Color arouses emotion automatically: we see a color, we feel something instantly. This happens to everyone; it’s universal.
However, when it comes to choosing the colors associated with your brand, there are many things to consider:
- What do people feel when viewing the colors of my brand?
- Are these feelings consistent across my target markets? (Especially important for regional, national, and global brands.)
- Are these feelings consistent with the other elements of my brand?
How Important is Branding? Conclusion
Hopefully this article has helped you answer the question, “How important is branding?”
The elements of your brand come together to create a personality for your brand, and that personality (or brand identity) causes your target audience to feel emotions. Which emotions they feel – and the decisions they make – are up to you.
Be sure to keep an eye out for more detailed blogs about how names and colors affect the emotions and decisions of your target audience.