Newcomers and veterans of the public relations field know that branding is a significant part of any successful business. From my experience in coursework, internships, and hearing successful PR pros speak about it, the brand is the foundation of the company. Maintaining that brand helps the company target their audience and provide a competitive edge.
First, I would like to clarify that branding is the act of maintaining the message of what a company represents and how they want to be perceived. So, why is this important?
It serves as the base of all of a company’s marketing communications. All tweets, news releases, and events should be on-brand to create a unified message for the target audience. Using the brand as the foundation of this messaging creates an easily-communicated message that can always be tied back to the company and their brand. Branding should encompass the company’s values, mission, and the other significant factors of a product or service that they want customers to be aware of immediately.
Branding also serves as a first impression for consumers when considering a product or service. Through branding, companies allow themselves to create a unique identity that differentiates them from their competition.
For example, let's say your product is chocolate. What makes your chocolate better or more special than the other chocolates being sold? What is the difference between Godiva and Hershey’s? Having a brand allows you to make a statement about your competitive edge without seeming aggressive.
Branding also helps to relate a product or service to their target audience. Through creating brand recognition, customers become more familiar and comfortable with the purchasing of a product, creating customer loyalty.
Through building a strong brand, companies can communicate effectively with their target audience and distinguish themselves from competitors. Why does this sound so familiar? Probably because that is the main goal of PR pros as well; to communicate effectively with the target audience and provide a competitive edge. This is why branding is so important to the public relations profession, it allows PR pros to create guidelines for their objectives and implement effective campaigns with a unified message, and all of that begins with the brand.