Imagine you have a business meeting with an important client. Normally you will make sure you dress smart and look good,you may even rehears a few lines and try to look confident. Why do all that? it is simple, we want our prospective client to have a good impression of us. This is because people have the tendency to make an opinion on someone based on what they see. It is not that different with customers. Most customers will decide to use one product from one company over another, even if the price is lower, because they feel some kind of connection with the product. That is branding.
Branding is what your clients says about you, not what you say about yourself, all you can do is to influence their perception.
Markets today are flooded with companies producing similar goods, making customers hardly rely on a product's basic functionality alone to purchase it. They turn to develop preferences based on the perception or the feeling they have when interacting with the product. This factor has pushed many companies (big or small) not only to improve on their product's functionality, but also improve on they way the product looks in order to stand out from the crowd and appeal to a specific set of customers. One efficient way to do this is through identity design.
An identity design is a set of visual elements that represents a business' personality and its core values. At the top of these visual elements is the logo followed by packaging, color schemes, and many more. A concrete example of how identity design can considerably influence the perception of a product is the Mimbo brand.
Mimbo is a new brand in the Cameroonian wine markets, competing with already well known brands like Penasol and Baron.
The company started differentiating itself by choosing an interesting name: Mimbo, which is a well known slang in Cameroon used to refer to alcoholic drinks like palm wine. The name alone already establishes a connection with their prospective clients (Cameroonians). To emphasize more on their African values, the packaging of one of their flavors, have been designed with rich colors and patterns which is widely used in African artworks, instead of using gray or washed colors like their competitors. The company, put these elements together to make Mimbo feel like a local brand, made for Africans and their competitors to look foreign and outdated.
Here is the point, making a useful product is important, but it is very hard to operate in an industry without competitors. This gives customers a lot brands to choose from. So, your product will stand a greater chance if you design your brand to reflect the values your customers can identify with.