Marketing 101: Branding on a Budget
The perception of branding is usually from the angle of the large multinational companies. These enterprises have a large budget and what can be regarded as a warchest with which to prosecute their branding campaigns. It is therefore not surprising that most business owners have come to regard the very practice of branding as one that must be carried out with huge funds. In addressing this issue, it is important to examine the concept of a brand. A brand is the core identity of an enterprise, product or service. It is intangible and the measure of the worth attached to that enterprise, product or service and due to its intangibility, it resides in the mind of the customers. Branding therefore is the practice of connecting the brand with the target audience. It is an extensive exercise encapsulating of several factors and issues.
When big companies embark on branding campaigns, the objective is to engage the attention of the target audience and create a favorable impression in their minds. This impression serves to ensure that the brand will likely enjoy the patronage of the members of the target audience whenever a choice is to be made concerning its use. In a nutshell, a few of the advantages sought to be gained through branding includes the following:
i. Competitive Advantage: Branding has the ability to confer competitive over competitors on a brand. This will enable a brand to stay ahead of the competitors.
ii. Differentiation: Branding enables a brand separate itself from the crowd in the mind of its target audience.
iii. High Brand Recall: Banding also ensures that the brand is the mostly to be remembered by the target audience.
The fact is that achieving these objectives does not require huge funds as they can be accomplished within reasonable financial bounds. In their classic book, The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding, Al and Laura Ries opined that a brand is actually built by using Public Relations and not advertising. They argued that advertising is meant primarily to protect a brand. It is therefore not surprising to see that big enterprises spend huge sums primarily on advertising. An enterprise can actually use simple and effective public Relations tactics to build and promote its brand without having to spend huge sums.
The efficacy of a branding campaign is determined by its ability to differentiate the brand from its competitors and ensure that it starts to occupy a prime position in the minds of the target audience. These ends are capable of being met with strategies falling within the precincts of Public Relations. The use of below-the-line media are also very important and effective in branding while maintaining a comparatively low budget. The internet has also provided a veritable means of connecting even intimately with the target audience and this can be done within very reasonable financial means. Additionally, other facets of information technology such personal phones, PDAs, Smart Phones and other handheld devices have also become points of contact which can be leveraged on to connect a brand with its target audience cost effectively.