Guest contributor: Esther Bankyu.
A world without brands is like a world like ours with over 7.8 billion except it is filled with people who have no names, identities, attributes, or individuality. Nothing to be known for, just NOTHING! Everyone will be living with no specific qualities to differentiate them from others.
And even when we say, “the short light-skinned girl”, 100 short light-skinned girls would show up because the description perfectly suits them! Just imagine how chaotic that world would be! Let’s be thankful that we all have names and surnames, at least, we can be identified somehow.
Also, we’re thankful that we have brands too! I am here to break down the concept of branding to you. Branding has to be one of the most used words today in the business environment. And, as most commonly used words, there are different perceptions in the mind of people as regards this word. But what really is a Brand?
Let’s start from here, shall we?
What is a Brand?
The term “Brand” was originally derived from the age when people with livestock branded their flock with marks for easy recognition & ownership. Over time, criminals and slaves got branded too so they could be matched to their owners.
But you would agree with me that a lot has changed and the concept has a more relatable meaning to our world today. Today, like the aged existing concept, the word brand is used to refer to a name, term, sign, symbol, or design, or a combination of them all, intended to identify the goods or services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of competitors.
These set of values and qualities are installed in a product or service to DISTINGUISH it from
existing products or services of the same category. This means that a brand is a promise made by a company (in this case, YOU, the Fashion Entrepreneur) to a set of people (target audience, for example, pregnant women, corporate workers, party rockers aka asoebi etc.) to solve a certain problem they have.
When customers come in contact with your brand and it meets their expectations, it becomes a special word in their minds. It differentiates your brand from others with the power to influence their purchasing behaviour. So, imagine branding has not been built and everyone is called a fashion designer with no name, differentiating factor, or anything unique, what then would influence purchasing behaviours?
Branding Your Fashion Business
Let’s use Nike as a practical example. Their promise is simple, ‘to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world’. They also promised to do everything possible to expand human potentials. If you study this brand well, you’ll see how their promise has so greatly influenced the kinds of products they make (sneakers, sports apparels & accessories), their choice of target audience as well as the way they communicate to them (JUST DO IT).
Now, this is how this branding thing works, guys! Nike says, “Our promise is to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world” and to “expand human potentials.” They then asked, “How do we fulfil this promise?” Then they began to build products that fit into their promise and communicate the promise to their customers at every point in time. They also started to inspire customers through their many ads and put their focus on how they can achieve their potentials as athletes and encourage them to JUST DO IT.
Very soon, they became recognised as the inspiration for athletes, and they built this narrative for years. For people that have bought Nike products multiple times and found that their promise is true, something will begin to happen gradually.
Their name “NIKE” will stick to these customers and will be RECOGNIZED as the sports apparel brand that inspires. Afterwards, the perception will be “the brand delivers on their promises consistently” and they would tell others about Nike. This brings about increased
brand loyalty & many new clients. The brand also builds trust in the marketplace, which makes it most preferred.
On a final note, branding is defining the promise you want to deliver to your customers and communicating the promise well. It also involves having well-defined differentiating attributes for the promise, working actively to fulfil it and be KNOWN to be the go-to person for delivering solid solutions for that specific promise.
So, what do you want your brand to be known for? What promise do you have for the consumers of your fashion products? What is unique about the promise and what differentiates it from other products?