5 Things Consumers Value Most In A Brand During Pandemic

Things-Consumers-Value-Most-In-A-Brand-During-Pandemic

 

With employees working from home and industries pausing operations, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound global impact. Overnight, business strategies and leadership were put to test as authorities announced lockdown as the only means to flatten the curve. Millions of people across the globe had to adjust to the new model of working from home to keep the operations afloat.

2020 has changed things for marketers and brands in a way we could never have imagined. The brands that were traditional marketing-oriented are also now moving progressively towards digital. Many companies adopted digital ways of working overnight. As the markets unlock, while we cannot predict many things, one thing is for sure that Digital is the way ahead – in terms of marketing and mode of work.

Things-Consumers-Value-Most-In-A-Brand-During-Pandemic

COVID-19 and its challenges are profound but not limited to a specific country or industry. Among many things, it has changed the way businesses function and operate, connect, and advertise. It has been more than 6 months since the lockdown was first implemented. After surviving the unprecedented times, now, the branding and marketing industry is all set to help the brands make their comeback into the markets. Brands are cautiously but progressively starting to confide in marketing again, embracing the changing times, brands are seen preparing for this new quarter ready with plans that help them win the customer’s confidence back.

Usually, wars, epidemics, and pandemics trigger recessions, slow businesses, and growth. However, the coronavirus pandemic is forcing every conglomerate to rethink and re-strategize. It is time we change the approach and embrace the importance of narrating a brand story, creating a unique image, and carve a niche with an empathetic yet positive brand voice.

In this article let’s discuss the intangible values a brand can provide to its customer to strengthen its brand image.

A Digital Bridge Connecting The Outside World

Situations like lockdown or work-from-home are strange circumstances, clouded by confusion and uncertainty, it craves the need for reliable information. As a brand, 'informative' and 'empathetic' messages adhering to the latest policy change/update or adding value by replacing an in-person experience by a virtual interaction will always be remembered. Branding is not a visual element of a brand, it is also what and how you communicate your message.

A-Digital-Bridge-Connecting-The-Outside-World

For example One of the biggest fashion federations, FHCM’, hosted their first-ever virtual fashion week. Delivering fashion enthusiasts an immersive virtual experience. Collections were presented digitally and without audiences. They stayed true to their brand value but took a creative approach while respecting social distancing rules.

Communicate To Reduce Anxiety

Proactive communication from a brand’s end helps reduce the surrounding anxiety and gives consumers a greater sense of control. Airlines, hotels, and resorts who are at the forefront of the pandemic proactively inform their customers about refund, cancellation policies, updated sanitation and hygiene protocols to address the anxiety brought on by the current situation.

Communicate-To-Reduce-Anxiety

Traditional stores and e-commerce companies can reduce anxiety by providing greater transparency on the availability of stocks, social distancing measures, and delivery rather than taking orders and later cancelling them. Companies must ensure a clear and transparent communication to reduce further confusion and hysteria. One of the best ways is to release a formal statement and add it to your mobile app and website.

Promote Care & Wellness

In a crisis, consumers’ actions and decisions are guided by perceived risk. Especially in unprecedented times like ours, it is common for them to be anxious about their safety. As a brand, you must recognise the pain points and set up a clear yet empathetic channel of communication.

Promote-Care-&-Wellness

Food delivery companies like Zomato and Swiggy are attempting to reduce the risk of contamination through contactless deliveries, constant temperature checks while certain regional news channels are providing a live epidemic map to help people avoid areas affected by the spread of coronavirus.

In difficult times, it is crucial to transcend beyond your product/service and spread a message of compassion and wellness, showing your brand personality. Instead of promoting gyms and fitness classes, focus on values like wellness, resilience, and positivity.

These actions humanize your brand and shed a positive light, hence improving the perception of your brand.

Entertainment And Engage

One of the most substantial rises is witnessed in screen time. While some have gravitated towards traditional channels like Tv, others are surfing the internet for entertainment and engagement. Platforms like Amazon Prime which was once targeted towards the working professional are now focusing on every segment of a household during the outbreak.

For brands and OTT platforms it is an opportune moment to acquire new customers, tailor their offerings to the current times while testing new content to identify future consumption patterns. A delightful experience will ensure customers stay hooked. With digital being the future, brands that have invested in great content and user experience will stand to gain disproportionately.

CSR Is Not An Activity Rather A Priority

Customers value a brand’s ability to overlook its profit and help other people or society at large. Companies that link their vision, and mission to a greater good, provide this value to customers. This could be done by donating, crowdfunding, or asking for people’s help by digitally serving as volunteers. Even the simple act of applauding and supporting health workers holds meaning beyond the self.

With gloomy economic forecasts and thousands of layoffs in every sector of every industry, businesses and governments must consider whether their actions and communications deliver those types of value. If not, refrain from taking any action or releasing a formal statement, pretence will do more harm than good. Empty promises and fake concern will project negative impressions or, worse, make consumers even more anxious.

Conclusion

These difficult times shall pass too, and consumers will look back at these actions and remember those that stepped forward and helped – from a small restaurant that distributed free food to a Multinational Corporation that rose to the occasion and delivered on the challenging tasks.

Consumers will also remember the companies who treated their customers and employees well. In the middle of everything, we must not forget that we have a rare time frame where business is picking the pace yet not all-consuming. It is also an ideal time to think about rebranding and tailoring your brand to the changed times.

If you wish to rebrand your own business whether it is logo redesign, a website redesign, refreshed messaging, or a complete brand makeover, it’s time you get in touch with professional branding agencies like Vowels to make your vision come true. We specializes in brand consultancy, strategy, brand guidelines, CI manual, brand presentation, and corporate branding.

Contact Us

We are always available on hello@vowels.ae.

Want to get in touch over a call?

(+91) 97858 40004 , (+91) 99831 96932

The Ultimate Guide to Successful Rebranding

Guide-to-Successful-Rebranding

 

“Every success story is a tale of constant adaptation, revision, and change.” – Richard Branson

Running a business is difficult, branding is likely the last thing on your priority list. Rightly, it’s hard to sit down and flip through colours and fonts when you’re still trying to figure out the USP of your product, who your customers are, and where to find them. Plus, if you made creating an identity for your brand a priority, in the beginning, a slight change in your perspective or the business plans might make your initial branding strategy obsolete.

Guide-to-Successful-Rebranding

Branding like business grows with time. In business, you add new products, explore new markets, target new demographics, and want to pursue a new set of customers. All these developments require companies to come out with a rebranding strategy. Like a makeover, rebranding allows the product to be seen in a new light, tailored to the current business plan.

So, officially, ‘rebranding is the process of changing the corporate image of an organisation. It is a market strategy of giving a new name, symbol, or change in design for an already-established brand. The idea behind rebranding is to create a different identity for a brand, from its competitors, in the market.’

However, the true definition of rebranding is often misinterpreted. Rebranding is much more than a name change, redesign, or new logo. It is readjusting your company’s vision, mission, values, and market to the current reflection of your brand.

Successful-Rebranding-Guide

When Should You Consider Rebranding

  • New Locations – Rebranding is an ideal choice for your brand if you are planning to expand your product in domestic or international markets. Every city has its quirks and might not identify with your current logo, messaging, etc.
  • Market Repositioning – Brands are designed to connect companies with their customers, so if you are planning to reposition your business to target a completely new customer profile – whether through product, place, price, or promotion – your brand will need to follow suit.

    Example: Vicco created magic in the Indian market during the early 80’ and ’90s but over years with the same packaging and old customer base they became dated. But in mid-2019, by associating with Alia Bhatt and playing up the ‘natural’ aspect of its brand portfolio, they underwent a rebranding exercise in an attempt at connecting with a younger generation.

  • New Philosophy – Your company’s mission, vision, and values should govern every decision you make — including every business and brand decisions. If these building blocks are shifting and pivoting the direction of your business along with them, you’ll need to reevaluate your strategy hence your brand’s identity.
  • Mergers & Acquisitions – When two companies come together so do two brands. If your company was acquired or joined with another company, you can’t just let both brands battle it out. Rebranding helps find a new brand that reflects the new entity to prevent confusion and build trust.

When Should You Not Consider Rebranding

  • Attention – In difficult times when sales are floundering, or perhaps brand awareness efforts are going in vain, either way, jumping to rebrand is the wrong move. Following a trend can be beneficial because it shows you are awake in a sleeping industry, but it is also a dangerous game. Changes without backed by strategy might create short-term buzz, but won’t be able to sustain the sale. At worst, you’ll lose whatever brand recognition you had, setting back your sales and marketing efforts.
  • Boredom – People often consider rebranding because they’re sick of seeing the same logo, colour, font, and messaging every day. But what might make you feel restless and bored might resonate with your customers. It is the consistency that helps customers remember your brand.
  • Covering Up A Crisis – Rebranding as a response to persistent internal issues or fending off the bad press is a bad idea. Today’s consumers and employees are smart enough to see right through the act and recognize it for what it is – a cover-up.
  • Ego Boost – Rebranding is the fastest way to make your mark but that doesn’t justify implementing it. Visual elements are a major component in telling your brand’s story, but there are much better ways for the CEO to put their “stamp” on the company. Rebranding is costly and time-consuming, so they should answer important questions like does the company still match the brand personality and communicate its current position?

rebranding-ideas

Total vs. Partial Rebranding

By this time, you must have figured out, if you should rebrand or not, if your answer is ‘yes’, the next question is to what extent. Complete or partial. For a better understanding, what’s at stake, let’s take a partial rebranding as a quick touch-up while the total rebranding as a complete makeover.

With the partial rebranding, you adjust the focus on your visual identity to suit the needs of the markets — as opposed to a complete identity crisis. While complete rebranding comes into play in cases of extreme shifts of a company’s mission, vision, and values. This option is suited to situations like mergers, acquisitions, and other similarly foundational shifts.

Rebranding is a powerful idea but it is important to understand that the more established your brand is, the more you have to lose.

rebranding-strategy

Are You Ready to Rebrand?

Now that you know every pro and con that rebranding entails, it’s time to consider if and how you want to rebrand your own business. Whether you end up going with a logo redesign, a website redesign, refreshed messaging, or a complete brand makeover. Once you have determined the best strategy, it’s time you get in touch with professional branding agencies like Vowels to make your vision come true.

Contact Us

We are always available on hello@vowels.ae.

Want to get in touch over a call?
(+91) 97858 40004 , (+91) 99831 96932

Why Do You Need A Brand Guideline?

Brand-Guidline

 

Imagine you have a product with the potential to be a memorable brand. But for that, you need a perfect marketing strategy. A compilation of everything from email marketing and content creation to PPC and website design. While all the components are complex and crucial, they have to be connected to be effective – to be memorable.

Brand-Guideline

That’s where brand guidelines come in – something that goes far beyond a logo or icon. It’s an investment to ensure that all your marketing efforts are working towards the common goal of gradually building up brand recognition among potential and existing customers. 

Brand Guidelines communicate a variety of things about your brand, both internally to your organization or business, as well as externally to your partners, affiliates, and the general public. It can range from the core values and vision to elements like colours, imagery, fonts, tone, and even the feeling you get when you see one of their ads. In a nutshell, brand guidelines ensure consistency and continuity with your brand’s visual identity and underpinning strategy.

Still not convinced? Here are 5 compelling reasons to have your own set of brand guidelines. 

Consistency Is The Key 

The key to creating a strong brand identity is consistency. Brand consistency is the pattern of expression that affects what people think about your company. The more consistent your messaging, the more consistent your branding. A harmonious correlation between words, design, or perspective helps clarify what your business stands for, allowing your business to communicate your purpose, personality, and promises. 

Consistency-Is-The-Key

3 critical areas where brand consistency drive customer loyalty: 

  • Customer Experience – Providing a consistent customer experience fosters trust and confidence in your brand. 
  • Values – Backup your promises with actions. 
  • Brand Identity – Consistency in visual components make your brand recognizable and help you stand out from your competition. 

Example: The consistent red and white branding with the iconic cursive logo of Coca-Cola evokes the same feeling of positivity, authenticity, inclusiveness no matter where you are in the world. 

Recognize and Recollection 

According to a study by Nielsen, a global marketing research firm, “consumers only buy from a small repertoire of brands, and the average customer spends 13 seconds purchasing those branded items in store. In other words, when your customer scans the shelves, they reach for what’s familiar and they do it fast. This is known as ‘instinct buying’”. 

Recognize-and-Recollection

So, when you are looking for chips, you instinctively move towards the colourful packets of lays. You don’t check out the brand, you know the colour, size, and taste. That is why consistent brand recognition is so important. 

Brand guidelines help you deliver a cohesive brand experience, making it easier for people to recognize your value. When you consistently provide high-quality content, customers come to rely on you and—even better—seek out your content. They trust you will deliver what they want every time, and that trust is the basis of a long-term relationship. 

Adds Value 

When your brand’s identity is cohesive, the perceived value of the brand increases. Consistency allows your brand to appear more professional and reliable. By implementing brand guidelines, you ensure that you’re always putting out content you’re proud of along with maintaining the quality and integrity of your brand. 

Aesthetics Over Everything 

Clear communication and good design make your reader/viewer’s life a lot easier. Simple acts of alignment, data visualization, aesthetically pleasing colour, or readable typography help creators design content more effectively. Also, it shows your customers that you care about your brand and value their time. 

Apart from the visual aspect, an inconsistent brand experience not only weakens your marketing efforts – it promotes distrust among your customers. You can initiate the best social media marketing campaigns and a series of blog posts, but if they don’t align the body with values, it won’t resonate. 

Stay Focused 

While launching a new product or re-branding the existing ones, a brand can get stretched too thin. By implementing brand guidelines, you have a general direction and tools to effectively maintain consistency while increasing the quality of the content. Brand guidelines help you stay sane and aim your business’s interests with your intended audience. 

What is Included in Brand Guidelines?

Colour Palette 

For brand recognition, brand colours have to be simple and consistent. In the past, brands picked one or two colours but the present-day brands multiple color schemes to add vitality to their brand communications. 

Colour-Palette

Whatever the choice, it’s a good idea to make your core brand colors clear. Don’t forget to include the necessary hex codes, RGB values, and CMYK color codes to make sure your colours are presented consistently across media. Along with these instructions, you must mention the shade variations, and some do’s and don’ts. 

Typography 

Choose typography that matches your brand’s visual style. It is one of those things that go unnoticed if it’s done well but sticks out like a sore thumb if it’s not. 

Typography

To enhance your brand experience, use a brand style guide to ensure you are using consistent typefaces and families, font sizes, and the hierarchy of the fonts across your collateral. 

Logo Design 

The logo is one of the most consistently visible parts of your brand. And how your logo should be displayed in different formats is an important part of your guidelines. A brand guideline should include size restrictions, colour combinations, and how your logo should look on different backgrounds making it tough to go wrong. 

Logo-Design

It doesn’t hurt to give some concrete examples, making it dummy-proof. Here are some of the dos and don’ts: 

Brand Voice 

Brand voice refers to the words that your brand chooses to use to show your company’s values and personality. And the importance of having a consistent brand voice in your messaging should not be underestimated. 

Brand-Voice

It is crucial to spend some time finding the style that resonates with your audience and aligns with the personality of your brand. Once you have it figured out, ensure that it’s replicated across your channels. 

Skype has gone above and beyond in defining their voice–including a ton of dos and don’ts for grammar, punctuation, spelling, vocabulary, naming, and tone. 

Brand Story

Every brand is backed up by a compelling brand story. For those who are unfamiliar with the term, the brand story wraps up a company’s vision, mission, and core values. The best kind of stories add a dash of their personality. 

Brand-Story

For example- Land Rover’s campaign video ‘ The Land of Land Rover’ offers a brilliant example and a reminder that the best stories are not your own, but those of your customers and your fans. Caring for those stories brings them to life and prioritizing them over your product message makes them iconic. 

Image & Data Visualization 

Imagery could include the style of photographs, colour, and content your company uses on website or marketing collaterals that contributes to the perception of your brand. 

A brand guideline creates a general guideline for imagery (photos, illustrations, charts, infographics, etc.) that are to be included in your brand’s promotional materials. 

Conclusion

A brand book is the physical manifestation of the living, breathing concept that is your brand. Without a guiding document, any brand can spin out into inconsistent chaos. In an attempt to slow that process, Marketing Departments often develop Brand usage guidelines. These guiding documents have a lot of names: Brand Book, Brand Guidelines, Brand Bible, Brand Usage Guide, CI Manual, Identity Guidelines, etc. 

Irrespective of several names, a brand guide’s sole motivation is to keep your brand identity consistent, recognizable, and still unique, even as several different minds work to develop content for your brand. Since a style guide defines a brand’s identity, it’s important to spend the time and resources to get it right. 

Get in touch with us, and we promise to build a style guide that helps you maintain a strong, cohesive, and distinguishable brand.

What are the 5 elements of Successful Branding?

successful-branding

 

The concept of Branding has been around since 950 A.D when to ‘brand’ meant burning a piece of wood. By the 1300s it was used to describe a torch, essentially a burning piece of wood that is to be used as a tool. By the 1500s the meaning had changed to a mark burned on cattle to show ownership. Over the years the method might have changed but the point of the invention remained simple – each brand was a distinct mark to help identify quickly – essential traits that are still common to modern logos.

successful-branding

Branding has broadened quite a bit since the word first came into use. Today, branding is more than its name, tagline, website, or logo. A brand is how you make your customers feel, and it’s built by taking a consistent approach across every interaction they have with your brand.

To make a great brand, five key elements are crucial: Purpose, promise, position, personality, and expression. It is important to know that your brand is the complete story of what you want to communicate about your business and the perception that you leave in the hearts and minds of your audience. That’s why before you start worrying about creatives, logos, or marketing – you must sit with your Branding Agency and get clarity on who your brand truly is.

Like Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon.com said, “Your brand is what people say about you when you leave the room.”
 

BRAND PURPOSE

“Start by knowing what you want and who you are, build credibility around it, and deliver it online in a compelling way.” – Krista Neher

The first step towards building any brand is to define its purpose. Why do you exist? How are you different from others?

A good place to start understanding a brand’s purpose is through the author, Simon Sinek’s ‘The Golden Circle’. Let’s start! According to Mr. Sinek understanding the deeper ‘why’ your brand exists provides a solid foundation to build everything else — your ‘how’ (organizational culture, brand experience) and your ‘what’ (what products or services you offer).

For example, Tesla’s ‘why’ or the brand purpose is ‘to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable transport’. ‘How’ they did it was by creating a culture of technology, design, and innovation fuelled by the ambition to move the world away from non-renewable fossil fuels. ‘What’ they offer is a series of well-designed electric vehicles, and energy storage systems to support them.

BRAND POSITION

“Products are made in a factory but brands are created in the mind” — Walter Landor 

Brand Positioning according to Philip Kotler, father of modern marketing is “the act of designing the company’s offering and image to occupy a distinctive place in the mind of the target market”. In simple words, it is the part that describes what your company does, whom it caters to, what differentiates you from other competitors and what the consumer hopes to gain by using your product or service.

So, when developing your positioning strategy, there are 3 questions that you must answer to make your brand the ‘go-to choice’ instead of the alternative:

  1. What is the exact category that my brand falls in? It’s important to understand what market you are looking to dominate, where the opportunities are, and if there are any gaps you can fill.
  2. Who is my “best” target audience? Being a jack of all trades has never profited any business. You must narrow your target market down to your ideal customer and work towards understanding their specific needs and pain points.
  3. What is my USP? Ideally, every brand should deliver its unique story. To dominate a market full of similar products/services it is crucial to understand your strength or what is it about the brand that sets you apart in your industry?

BRAND PROMISE

“Your brand is a promise to your clients… a promise of quality, consistency, competency, and reliability” – Jason Hartman

After positioning yourself, the next step is to decide how you plan on creating value for your customer. Is it through excellent customer service or premium product quality? When it comes to building a brand, ‘the promise’ refers to the value that the customer can expect to receive every single time they interact with that company. In many ways, your brand’s promise is a direct extension of your positioning and the expectation that it sets.

For example, Disney’s promise is ‘creating happiness through magical experiences’. Apple’s ‘Think Different’ is arguably the most famous slogan of all time and the key to Apple’s wild success in the computer industry.
 

BRAND PERSONALITY

“If people believe they share values with a company, they will stay loyal to the brand.” — Howard Shultz, CEO of Starbucks

If your brand was a person- what human characteristics would you choose?

Elegant? Quirky? Serious

Brand personality is how your brand looks, speaks, behaves, and engages with the world. You can also consider your brand’s tone. A major section of a person’s personality is their story. Similarly, for a brand, the brand story builds credibility and adds value to a brand.

The brand story shows your company’s history and how it led you to where you are today. In most cases, it will help you connect emotionally with your customer and will distinguish you from the rest in a similar niche.

For example:

  1. Apple has a non-corporate, artistic, sophisticated, creative personality.
  2. Nike has an active lifestyle, and an inspirational, exciting, cool personality.
  3. Harley-Davidson has a macho, rebellious, freedom-seeking personality.

BRAND EXPRESSION

“Brand is just a perception, and perception will match reality over time.” – Elon Musk

After the groundwork is laid, this is where your logo, tagline, fonts, colour palette, and even your brand’s name come in. Your brand promise must be reflected through your brand expression. Your brand expression must support your brand positioning. The key to the success of a branding process is consistency. Consistency will always be challenging. However, the harmony between these tangible and intangible elements will help people remember what your brand really is.

A brand is more than a logo. It is a collection of expectations, experiences, promises, benefits, and identity symbols that deliver your brand’s story. In normal cases, a professional creative agency like Vowels Co. will help you strategically craft your branding, but we encourage discussions and it’s your brand.

When you learn that’s when the magic happens!