Branding is a huge part of any company. Big or small, creating a brand for a company is like establishing a set of rules. What is your brand about? Who is your target market? How does the product associate with its customers?
Having a good brand makes first-time customers into full-time, repeat customers! Orders go from small to large and customers who are loyal to your brand are more inclined to try new products.
How does one create a good brand strategy? There are 5 steps of branding on the inverted Branding Pyramid that will help make first time buyers into loyal customers.
The Branding Pyramid is inverted because it’s based upon revenue and loyalty. As a customer goes through each step of the pyramid, they are more likely to create an emotional attachment; therefore spending behavior increases within the specific company.
Think of brand loyalty with products like Coca-Cola or Dunkin Donuts. Often times, avid Coke drinkers stick to Coke, instead of Pepsi products. Or, loyal Dunkin Donuts coffee drinkers may stay clear of Tim Hortons and Starbucks for the same reasons.
Strong brand loyalty is usually achieved after gaining a repeat customer who has gone through each of the 5 steps, which are:
The first step on the pyramid is Presence, which means customers are aware of your brand but little else. In this stage, a customer may have tried a product or service, but they have little emotional attachment to the brand. They don’t know what the company stands for, or the beliefs associated with it.
Step 2, is Relevance which means customers start to think about whether the brand meets their wants and needs. Here, a customer compares costs of the products to the overall value. If a customer feels that a specific product is not overly important to them, they may shop around for a better deal. Customers may ask themselves questions like, Is this in the right price bracket for me, or Is it worth it?
The next level of the pyramid is Performance. At this 3rd level, customers compare the products and services to that of the competition. It is here that they also start to associate the brand with a specific identity and personally. Customers at this level are able to recognize the brand. An example would be the Nike Swoosh. It is a recognizable logo for the Nike brand because most people have associated at least one product with it.
The 4th level of the pyramid is called Advantage. It is here where customers define the distinct advantage to using the product over its competition. In the Advantage stage, people associate the brand with emotions and sense of self. Take avid Apple users, many of these customers are willing to pay a little more for the Apple products because they believe in them and have associated themselves as “Apple only” users!
The final level of the pyramid is Bonding. This is the level companies strive for! It is here where customers have established a bond with the brand. They have determined that cost, advantage and performance have all met or exceeded expectations. It is here that a strong emotional bond has been created. People at this level tend to shy away from other brands, as they are “loyal” customers.
Though it may be difficult to get customers from level 1 to 5, once that has been achieved, one has avid, loyal and frequent customers! When branding a company, one should always strive to meet the Bonding goal.