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Your brand has to mean something to shoppers

Being involved in building a brand is a dream, but it can also be a nightmare unless the basic principles of branding are applied.

Branding is, despite what some sceptics say, not a marketing or sales gimmick, but instead it is about refining and defining the identity of your product.

The word brand may be small but to make it a big success involves massive budgets, commitment, passion, energy, amazing people, love and lots of sleepless nights.

It is a must that a brand has meaning to its consumers, its organisation and the employees that work with it every day. But the essence of branding is sometimes its simplicity, and there are easy rules to follow when trying build your brand.

Customers buy brands they know and trust. From John Lewis to Nike, the power of brand loyalty and brand heritage is evident across the high street and to create strong branding, every level of customer-facing communication needs to work in harmony.

The perception that both shoppers and the market have about you and your company – the products you offer and service that you provide –  is a major factor in shopper choice of brand and shopper buying behaviour.

As an agent, I am offered many brands to sell in the UK. Half of them are clothing companies with a load of clothes on a rusty runner rail and with absolutely none of the above brand power. The others may have major brand awareness, but they have a poor product offer. Finding the right one is often as difficult as plaiting fog.

Shopper perception is subjective so, more than anything else, the most important part of a brand’s identity is the promise that it makes to its customers.

Mark Ashton is managing director of Concept Fashion Agency, the UK agent for Ichi and Iska

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