Branding is possibly the most used word for modern businesses. This is because as businesses start and grow, they require elements that identify and distinguish them from other similar products and services. Branding is important because not only is it what makes a memorable impression on consumers but it allows your customers and clients to know what to expect from your company. It is a way of distinguishing yourself from the competitors and clarifying what it is you offer that makes you the better choice. A “brand” is something very specific. It is a promise to the buyer about the kind of product or experience they are purchasing, and how they will feel when they use it.
Marty Neumeier, author and speaker on all things brand, defines brand by first laying out what a brand is not: “A brand is not a logo. A brand is not an identity. A brand is not a product.” Neumeier goes on to say that “a brand is a person’s gut feeling about a product, service, or organization.” Philip Kotler famously quipped “If you are not a brand, you are a commodity.” To billionaire Jeff Bezos, “Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.”
Typically, people assume the logo is the most important element of branding, but there are 6 components of an effective branding strategy.
- TARGET AUDIENCE.
The target audience is the most important variable to any business, and they determine its future. Who are your target audience? Who are its decision-makers? How can you target them with key messaging that achieves desired goals?
- BRAND PROMISE.
The brand promise is the message that speaks to your target audience. It tells them what to expect from purchasing your product.
- BRAND PERCEPTION
What do people say about your company when you are not there? You’ll want to take a look at what the perception of your brand has been in the past, what it is now, and what you want it to be in the future. One way to do this is to survey your current customers to find out what they think of your brand. A brand audit helps you know what you are doing wrong/right.
- BRAND VALUES
Clearly define what guides your company’s decision-making. These are the core values that your brand seeks to embody.
- BRAND VOICE
How does your brand “speak?” What is its personality? How can that personality be extended across all touchpoints with the customer? The answer to these questions will depend the audience you are trying to engage, and there should be a fit between your audience and the voice you use to speak to them.
- BRAND POSITIONING
Brand positioning is defined as the position that a brand holds (or wants to hold) in the mind of the customer. It can usually be boiled down into a one or two sentence “positioning statement” that defines the target audience, who the brand competes against, the benefits of using it, and a statement of proof for the brand promise. It tells you what the brand’s position in the market is relative to its competitors, and what sets it apart from the rest. There are many components that make up a brand, including logos and packaging, brand equity (which is the value of perceptions and expectations about your brand), and the brand persona or voice.
Now, let’s talk about the reasons why your company- especially if it is a small business – needs to build its brand this year.
1. Branding Increases Business Value
Do you rate a company better because you have heard about them? Branding is important when trying to generate future business, and a strongly established brand can increase a business’ value by giving the company more leverage in the industry. This makes it a more appealing investment opportunity because of its firmly established place in the marketplace.
2. Branding Generates New Customers
A good brand will have no trouble drumming up referral business. Strong branding generally means there is a positive impression of the company amongst consumers, and they are likely to do business with you because of the familiarity and assumed dependability of using a name they can trust. Once a brand has been well-established, word of mouth will be the company’s best and most effective advertising technique.
3. Improves Employee’s Pride And Satisfaction
Anyone can hire employees, but only a strong brand can hire motivated employees that are inspired to carry your vision and mission forward. Effective branding ensures your employees put soul into the company when they feel ownership and pride. Having a strong brand is essential for employee morale and productivity.
4. Branding Creates Trust Within The Marketplace
A professional appearance and well-strategized branding will help the company build trust with consumers, potential clients and customers. People are more likely to do business with a company that has a polished and professional portrayal.
5. Branding Supports Your Marketing Efforts
Branding enables effective marketing. Marketing promotes and branding reinforces. Marketing can get you leads and sales, but branding will help enhance your reputation and strengthen customer loyalty.
Article By: Tope Osunrinde