What’s the difference between practically free tap water and the $4 bottle of Fiji water? Both use the same ingredients, so why would anyone pay more money for something they can have for less? The answer can be complex and intriguing: branding.

What is branding?
To put it simply, branding is everything consumers associate with a company and its product: image, reputation, identity, name, title, design, logo, or slogan. With successful branding, businesses are able to add value to their company and gain new customers, while keep the existing ones satisfied. Look at Apple or Nike: both have their own identities, are well known, and are incredible successful. It’s probably no surprise that they also have excellent branding strategies—simple, clean, and innovative, not to mention both companies have two of the most recognizable logos in the world.

What does branding do?
When businesses want more profit, they naturally think sales, sales, sales. But where do these sales come from? Branding, branding, branding. Consider Fiji again. Why do consumers reach for Fiji, when there are cheaper, and even free, alternatives? Because the brand identity that Fiji projects—luxurious, high-end, tropical, pure, and exotic—is one that consumers want to emulate. Fiji’s specific advertising and branding, right down to the palm tree and hibiscus flower next to their logo on the bottle, is exactly why they are able to keep their prices high and make a profit. After all—it’s just water!