In the past, brands were objects and concepts which you had a relationship with. But today, they are the relationships. Companies can create greater engagement, differentiation, and loyalty when defining a brand’s particular kind of relationship. This is especially true with regard to areas of digital marketing – such as social media platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn – where people can develop a relationship with the brand directly.
What is a relationship brand?
Relationship brands have an inherent sense of belonging attached to them. Customers like knowing that they are part of a larger group who experiences the brand together. But their experiences remain unique to them.
Difference between relationship branding and object branding
A brand starts out as an identifying mark. It is a name, term, design or symbol that identifies a seller’s product or service as distinct from those of other sellers. It is applied to indicate ownership. A brand is sometimes thought of as a logo and tagline, such as KFC’s ‘Finger lickin’ good’ or Woolworths simple tag line of ‘The Difference’ which encapsulates its competitive advantage very succinctly.
Brands evolved from objects into ideas. It was no longer something you made, but something you managed. Brand equity has become something that companies want to maximise so that the equity that their customers associate with their brands is the most valuable.
Most recently, brands have become your customers’ experience with the product, service or company. It’s no longer something you manage over time, but something you deliver in the moment. Many brand managers actually go on social media marketing courses so that they can learn how to use social media to market their brands on these platforms.
Brands are currently evolving into relationship branding which means that they are focusing on developing a relationship with their customers and leveraging off this so that they can develop loyalty among their target audience..
Types of branding relationships
The default brand relationship is one-directional and asymmetrical. The company provides the product or service, and the customer consumes it.