“A great brand raises the bar — it adds a greater sense of purpose to the experience, whether it’s the challenge to do your best in sports and fitness, or the affirmation that the cup of coffee you’re drinking really matters.”

Howard Schultz
President, CEO and Chairman

What Is Branding and why is it important to Marketing?

Branding is the process of creating a recognizable identity for a specific product, service, business, or organization. Branding creates an instant association between the Brand and the wants of the consumer. For example, my mother never asked us if we wanted a cola or a soda. She always asked us if we wanted a Coke. Even to this day, if I go to a restaurant, I always order a Coke and proceed to get internally annoyed if I’m told that they have some other brand of cola. I don’t really care who manufactures the drink since all I really care about is getting the drink. In my mind, Coke is cola and this is in large part due to the successful branding efforts of the Coca-Cola Corporation (with a little help from my mother).

Why is this important? As of the end of 2007, Coke and Pepsi (the second leading brander of cola products) combined to own around 73% of the US cola market, with approximately 42% of the Market going to Coke. In other words, the great marketing efforts of these two corporations have led most of us (at least 73% of us) to believe that there are only two soft drink choices; Coke or Pepsi. We see their commercials then we choose a brand loyalty and three-fourths of this country sticks to that loyalty. What if there is some other great soda? What if “Kick-Ass Cola” really is the best, kick-ass cola? Almost none of us would know it since they haven’t developed a brand for themselves.

When you have a cold, do you ask for a tissue or a Kleenex? Branding has persuaded over half of the US population to ask for a Kleenex. For those of us old enough to remember, there was a time when nobody went to the copying room, they went to the Xerox room. In 1970, Xerox controlled over 95% of the copier market. However, complacency led to a failure to continually promote the brand and the door opened up for many others. In 2007, Xerox serviced only 8.7% of the copier market, making them the sixth largest copier manufacturer. This teaches us two lessons. First, if you’re on top, you need to always work hard to stay there. Memories fade and new generations are open to new ideas. Second, hard work will get you to the top eventually. In 1970, Canon’s copier industry market share barely registered. However, in 2007, Canon was by far the world’s leading copier manufacturer with 21.6% of the market. This doesn’t make them a monopoly but it does ensure that consumers feel confident when they decide to purchase a Canon copier.

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