The value of corporate branding has never really been in doubt, but new research from B2B service provider guide Visual Objects reveals that, in an age of scrutiny about every brand’s goal and mission, along with the widespread availability of customer reviews, a full half of consumers (50 percent) say that their opinion of a company is now affected by corporate branding, such as advertisements about a company’s value.
The firm surveyed consumers to learn about what kind of branding materials they encountered in the past year, where they saw or heard branding, and how different types of branding affect their buying behavior.
The data reveals that the types of branding consumers were most likely to encounter over the past year were:
- Product branding: 39 percent
- Retail branding: 37 percent
- Service branding: 31 percent
Experts say that branding’s function is to capture a company’s personality and characteristics.
“Branding gives products an identity,” said Debra Pokallus, founder of Bel Essence, which sells natural skincare products, in a news release. “People know the mission and values of our company through our products.”
Most consumers say retail branding affects their opinion of businesses
Close to 6 in 10 people (59 percent) say that retail branding such as in-person or virtual design and layout, affects their opinion of the company hosting them at their store or on their website.
Experts say that retail branding is important because it aligns brand goals and people’s shopping behaviors.
“Creating an atmosphere for shopping that is aligned with your brand is a critical component of shaping your brand experience,” said Melissa Packham, chief brand strategist for A Brand is Not a Logo, a marketing and advertising agency.
Parkham says that the Apple Store, with its signature sleek, minimalist design, is an example of a distinct retail experience that reflects the values of the company.
Other experts say that the principles of retail branding should be applied to the growing field of e-commerce.
“When consumers are shopping online, they are looking for convenience and tools that assure them they are making the best purchasing decisions possible,” said Matthew Paxton, founder of Hypernia, a guide to video gaming servers and consoles.
A website’s layout, design, and loading speed all contribute to user experience, which affects whether consumers will purchase products.
Service branding often happens through the word of mouth
More than one-third of people (36 percent) say that the last time they hired a company to provide a service, such as an accounting firm or web developer, it was because they heard about it from an acquaintance.
Experts say that this sort of word-of-mouth service branding often occurs on social media.
“Modern word of mouth referrals now mostly come through positive reviews from existing customers,” said Robert Brandl, founder and chief executive of WebsiteToolTester, a website builder for small businesses, in the release.
To facilitate these reviews, Brandl suggests that companies add social sharing buttons to their websites.