WRITTEN BY: MIRANDA GARDNER
When I was a college student, I was feeling particularly homesick one day when a commercial came on my TV. It showed a young girl going through her first year of college and dealing with the usual feelings that come with being away from home for the first time. By using the different tools in her Internet browser, she was able to stay in close contact with her father over the course of her first year. I immediately identified with the college student who was feeling overwhelmed, emotional, and lonely. It also was encouraging, showing that her family was only a click away. That day, I switched all my browsers to Google Chrome and I have been a faithful customer ever since.
The college demographic is a truly unique one. College is a time of growth, independence, and decision making, specifically, making purchase decisions outside of a parent’s help. For the first time, college students are deciding on the brands they will use for the rest of their lives and there’s an opportunity for your business to build a lifelong customer. However, grabbing the attention of the 18 to 24 age group can be difficult. As a whole, college students are constantly on the move and looking for the next best thing. So how does one reach the college student?
The answer is complex though it is only one word: Branding.
Often times, people throw around different elements of branding, such as a logo or company colors, but they rarely ever talk about the package as a whole. So what is branding?
In short, branding is everything about your company. In the graphic, you can see everything that falls under the bracket of branding: advertising, reputation, customer perception, and employee motivation.
Let’s take a step by step look at how building a strong brand directly impacts your business and has the ability to build loyal customers for life:
1. BRANDING GIVES YOU RECOGNITION:
Companies like Amazon and Apple are prime examples of how powerful branding can be. They are easily recognizable all over the world. Creating a logo that embodies your company’s identity not only improves recognition, but recall. By keeping a consistent visual experience, the consumer will remember your company. For example, when a customer writes down a grocery list, they write down the items they need. When they go to the grocery store, they chose that item based off its branding and their experience with it.
2. BRANDING SETS YOU APART FROM COMPETITORS:
It’s hard to be 100% original in today’s market. There will almost always be a company somewhere that offers the same services or products as your business. Creating a brand for your company is the first thing that will set it apart from the millions of others in the market.
3. BRANDING MOTIVATES EMPLOYEES:
Any business can provide a working environment for an employee. But what sets you apart from other businesses is motivating your employees to want to work for you. A strong brand will make your employees passionate about what they do and make them more likely to use your business for their own needs instead of going elsewhere. This instills pride and allows your whole company to come together under one image.
4. BRANDING GETS YOU NEW CUSTOMERS:
Word of mouth is one of the oldest and truest ways to get customers in your door. By having a memorable brand, it’s easy for one person to get people in your business. Simply put, if a customer couldn’t easily distinguish your company from others, how are they going to be able to directly refer someone to your business?
5. BRANDING GIVES YOUR COMPANY MORE VALUE:
Companies should always be more than their physical assets. Creating a strong brand for your company gives it more intrinsic value. Coca Cola has built a brand that exceeds their product. Over the years, they have appealed to our emotions and binded cultures all over the world together. As a result, they are able to sell merchandise that has nothing to do with soda and people buy it because of their brand. This type of value can only be achieved by building a strong brand.
In closing, investing the time to build a brand for your company is invaluable especially when targeting specific demographics. Take some time to brainstorm, really sit down and figure out what exactly you want people to think about your business, and tell them! At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that people will always draw their own conclusions about your business, but that doesn’t mean you can’t help them come to the conclusion that’s right for your business image.