Social Media Strategy and Branding: What Are the Eight Functions of a Brand?
A world class brand has 8 functions. It is critical to understand these functions to create a world-class brand. In a New Media Age, a marketer must have a solid understanding of branding. Social Media is a god send for a marketer. In order for this great tool to work, a marketer must be able to drive customers to their brand, at the exclusion of all other brands.
The great part of social media is its incredible scale. This is also its greatest drawback. In social media there is just so much content. People have to come to your product for social media to work—and this is why branding is critical.
The eight functions of a brand are IDENTIFICATION, PRACTICALITY, GUARANTEE, OPTIMISATION, BADGE, CONTINUITY, HEDONISM, AND ETHICS. Let me briefly summarize each of these functions.
A brand clearly identifies a product and clearly explains why that product is different than the other products in that market space. Simply, a brand is the thing that sets a product a part from all other products. It helps a consumer make sense of an offer. Simply, the brand will identify a product for a consumer. A brand will act as a lighthouse for a consumer, shining a beacon in their eyes, in order that they will know what products to select in a flooded marketplace.
Products and brands all have a “story”. With so many products in the marketplace, a consumer needs a mechanism to explain, in simple terms, what a particular product is, and why that consumer should select that product. A brand saves time and energy for a consumer. People know that this is the product they want at this time. On a hot day, after a hard day’s work, a consumer wants a place to regroup. Where do you go. You go to a building that is clearly marked (branded). You go to this building because you know that you can sit down a relax in this building. Over a long series of touchpoints, the product has assured you that sit in this building a enjoy this product.
A brand guarantees the product. The brand communicates to the consumer that if the product doesn’t work out as expected, the money or the product will be replaced.
A brand creates an image for a consumer. It creates a badge. The use of this brand communicates to other people that you are “successful”. A certain car is used by successful businessmen. Other cars might more sense, economically, to buy, but this car conveys “success”. If you drive this car, the brand gives you a badge.
Brands create a sense of satisfaction and trust. They create continuity. A bank’s symbol conveys that it has been in business for 200 years. If you bank there, the brand tells a consumer that their money is safe, and in good hands. When you buy a house, and there is a hurricane, a certain insurance company puts you in good hands. Brands a create friendship with customers in the social media age. This creates a relationship. It is relationships based on friendship that motivate a customer to buy.
Brands are hedonistic. The relationship between a customer and a product creates a friendship that leads to enchantment and attractiveness of the product. The hedonism of a brand creates loyalty. To create this enchantment, logos, theme songs, and phrases are created that communicate the experiential rewards.
The satisfaction that the product brings is linked to responsible and ethical behavior. This responsibility solidifies the relationship between the product and consumer and creates the long term relationship that leads to brand.
Some brands have succeeded in proving with their slogans that they know and understand what their fundamental task is: to transform the product category. A brand not only acts on the market. It organizes the market, drives a vision, creates a calling, and develops a clear idea of what the category is all about. Too many brands wish only to identify with the product category. In social media, products and consumers create a two way friendship.