For years, I have spent my time researching which type of ‘brand’ is right for me – for everything I buy. From clothes to food to music to video games, everything I love in my life is dictated by some form of brand.
If I want to buy shoes, I’ll go for Adidas as they provide me with the best price-to-comfort ratio (which is the ridiculous scale I rate my shoes on). For food, I’ll tend to shop in ASDA as, in my opinion, they give the best value for money and their own-brand foods are every bit as enjoyable as the expensive brands.
We all work from brands – we all find ways to dictate our lives and find the brand which makes our purchasing life easier. If you have a brand that you love to turn to, then it makes it even easier to keep buying those products as they have served you once before and they’ll most probably serve you well again. In short, you trust them.
My favourite brand
This may be a rather different choice but my favourite ‘brand’ in the world is actually a club, an entity. It is the English football club Liverpool FC and, with all of the talk in European football about the power of ‘branding’, it is something which intrigues me massively.
Branding is the way a business carries itself. Liverpool FC purports itself to be one of the most powerful and storied football clubs in the world and this is why they interest me so much – not just as the team I support but as a brand I love to buy from and follow.
Being able to give yourself a specific image to the masses is what a brand is all about. For example, Adidas is well known for providing classy sportswear, and Liverpool FC is well known for playing free-flowing football and promoting from the youth system.
Why is Liverpool FC my favourite brand?
Aside from tribal loyalty, my choice of Liverpool FC is down to the way it can so easily link its past to its future. Players and managers come and go but the fans remain permanent and the way the club can link legends of the past like former Liverpool managers Bill Shankly and Kenny Dalglish to supporters my age who weren’t even born when Bill Shankly died, is simply phenomenal.
I never saw Kenny Dalglish play live but I have an outstanding affinity with the man. That’s through the power of the brand. The brand is pushed so powerfully that it makes it easy for me to take an interest in the life of Kenny Dalglish, despite being a hero from an age before my time.
Why a company needs a strong brand
Your brand is your identity, it’s the same way that people are labelled by others. You could ask somebody if they know your friend and they could know him as the funny guy or the guy that works all day – that is his ‘brand’.
If you have a brand, you have something to be remembered for. And, if you can be remembered, you will grow as a business or as a brand. A brand gives a company a central point to launch their marketing ideas from, using a specific theme as the way to promote themselves.
Liverpool FC purport themselves as England’s most successful football club and this is the ‘brand’. The club is now no longer just a Saturday time-killer, it’s a huge part of fans lives and that is because the power of branding has made Liverpool FC one of the strongest brands in the football and sporting world.
What is a brand?
A brand is so much more than just your logo. Yes, it may be the thing that you identify right away with when you see that badge – it could be the way that people associate the brand through image association, but a brand should be a mental image of what that business stands for.
Many businesses have a logo, and a slogan underneath which sums up the power of the brand. The brand is simply the ethos of the business – without an ethos, you are simply a sales firm. If you can mask you need for profits in the guise of a brand – of an intention to do this or that – then you will find that people will identify with you.
People will buy from a brand because they like what they stand for – it’s why I support Liverpool FC. The brand stands for everything I hold dear in sport and it is that brand attraction that got me onto the terraces, and it would be bring me back if I ever stopped watching football.
Your brand is the single most important unit you can have in a business – without that identity, that mission statement and that single-minded movement for the success of the brand, there is no point in being a company.
Why you choose brands over cheaper alternatives
Taking the discussion back to the supermarkets, what would you rather pay? £2.00 for a box of Kellogg’s Frosties? Or £1.20 for a box of ASDA equivalent Frosties? Despite the taste being almost identical, most of us will side with Kellogg’s if we have enjoyed their products in the past.
You buy a brand product, you try it out and you enjoy it. You now have a liking for this brand – “They produce good products” you will think – and you have now created a loyalty to this brand. As long as you keep enjoying the products and can agree with the way that the brand is run, then you will keep buying their products.
Good products and the right mission statement can create business on its own, and this is why the most powerful brands in the world are so aggressively marketed – without getting your message out there, how can people associate with your brand?
Many people feel intimidated by branding or believe it is a bad thing but it gives everybody that choice to make and if you find your favourite brand now creates other products, you will try it based on the strength of the brand – this makes choices much easier to make for us all.