In today’s economy, branding is more important than ever before. With so much choice in the market, it is vital that companies focus on their brand to define themselves from their competition. Indeed, the future winners will be decided by the strength of their brand. But many businesses still fail to value this vital part of their marketing strategy – and in time, these businesses will be forgotten. The answer? To invest in your brand, to invest in your future success. But the clock is ticking…
So, what is branding?
Many businesses take a lazy view when it comes to branding – considering it to merely be the creation of a snazzy logo or a slick business card. Yet, branding is much more than that. Your brand is the combination of all experiences and ideas about your company. This means that your brand represents who you are, what you believe in and how you want to be perceived by your audience. Does this still look like something that should be ignored?
Furthermore, branding is not something that should only demand attention at either the start or end of a marketing process, it is something that should be strategised and actively addressed. It is a crucial part of a long-term goal because it provides both purpose and direction. Above all, branding helps a business distinguish itself from its competitors by sending a clear message about what the business means. As a result, effective branding reaffirms a business’ credibility, creates an emotional connection with its audience, generates loyalty, and motivates its audience to take the next step.
To help us understand the importance of branding in today’s world, I’m going to use the financial services industry as a case study and underline why companies need to stop neglecting this crucial element of their strategy.
Within the last decade or so, there has been a shift in the financial sector away from large national corporations and towards smaller, boutique financial services. Year on year we are seeing the financial sector fragment into smaller sections with more specialist knowledge.
A recent study from The Harris Poll has indicated that 58% of consumers said they would prefer to deal with local and regional banking providers instead of large national banks. The evidence in this poll can be supported by the fact that M&A boutiques accounted for 38.4% of global deal volume in the fourth quarter of 2016. With this level of market share, boutique financial services are no longer the little guys.
A strong brand cuts through an ‘over-boutiqued’ market
The rise of boutique financial services has been an overwhelmingly positive change to the market, providing consumers with greater choice, and arguably, more specialist advice. However, this rise has also created a problem – the European market has now become ‘over-boutiqued.’
The nature of a niche sector means that there are limits to the type of clients that specialised financial services can attract. As more boutiques arrive on the scene, it means that there are more companies fighting for the same clients. With everyone offering similar services, it becomes clear that a strong brand will set you apart. Coca-cola do not sell the most cola because it has the best recipe, it sells the most because it has the strongest brand.
As the trends of rising competition show no signs of slowing, only the companies with the strongest brands will succeed – the rest will not survive. If they fail to act now, they will lose ground on those who do, and they will end up crying on the grave of their business. Do you want to survive? Then get in touch to learn about how we can help you succeed.