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August 31, 2016
Maria Pesin

We live in an era where branding is incredibly crucial to the success of your fashion brand.  It is no longer  just a business buzzword. It has become the essence of selling in the new economy.
Branding is the  marketing practice of creating a name that identifies and differentiates a product from other products.

Branding is vital. Branding is basic. Branding is necessary for many reasons.

Building brands builds incredible value for companies and corporations.  Well, known and popular brands create brand equity.  Examples of this are the upcoming sales of Donna Karan International Inc. to apparel company G-III Apparel Group Ltd. for $650 million including debt and the Qatar’s sovereign investment fund Mayhoola For Investments takeover of Balmain which insiders expect could cost as much as 500 million euros ($560 million).
Stores want brands.  That’s because their customers want brands.  People like brands they know because there is consistency in product.  They know what to expect.  The fit is consistent.  When I am shopping for a handbag  I know the price, quality, and style I like and the brands I associate these attributes with so I look up those brands.
Branding creates recognition.  There is a saying “out of sight and out of mind.”  The fact is if you’re not front and center  in your target markets mind they will not think about you when it is time to by your kind of product.  The other day I was looking to buy an everyday handbag.  I went straight to Vince Camuto because I know their brand and I like their styling.  I didn’t just type in handbags on my google search.  I typed in Vince Camuto handbags.
Branding is a tool for developing and maintaining a competitive advantage.  The object of branding is to create a relationship between customers and product by an expectation from the consumer about what they get when buying a brand.  Nike customers want and expect sneakers that perform to the needs of a certain activity.  By communicating that message and delivering sneakers that live up to that promise they create loyalty.
People have too many choices and too little time.  Branding helps the consumer reduce decision making time when viewing the hundreds available options in the market. Today we live in a culture where people are deprived of time.  I don’t have the time or patience to weed through all the product that is available to find what I want.  So I find myself going to the brands I know and love.  They usually do not disappoint.
Having a great brand attracts talent.  Employees want to work for brands that they like and brands that are successful.   A strong brand creates desirability for recruits and aids in the retention of staff.
Branding builds trust.  When a brand stands for something and consistently delivers on that promise customers feel confident in continually buying from that brand.  I like to buy dresses and sportswear from Eileen Fisher.  Their fit is always the same which works for me.  They have good quality and are an ethically run business.  I can trust that my purchases from them will always be something I am happy with.
Branding increases your customer base.  The more established your brand becomes the more people hear about it.  It may be through social media, advertising, pr, or customers telling their friends but you will grow your audience which will increase sales.
Remember that marketing is what you do, branding is what you are.   Also remember branding is not just a fancy logo.  It is everything you do from design to fit, quality to  customer service, and advertising to pr.
Once you create a brand it is yours.  You own it and if you manage your image with care and thoughtfulness your business will thrive.

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Maria Pesin

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