Let’s be real.
When starting or running a business there are a lot of things to think about. From marketing and acquiring clients, to delivering products or services, branding for many people can fall by the wayside as an afterthought.
And you might be wondering…
What is branding anyway?
Business Dictionary defines branding as:
The process involved in creating a unique name and image for a product in the consumers’ mind, mainly through advertising campaigns with a consistent theme. Branding aims to establish a significant and differentiated presence in the market that attracts and retains loyal customers.
Okay, okay that sounds great and all…
But in the grand scheme of things how much of an impact can a logo, a few design elements, and some well crafted words really have on the overall success of a business? Well as it turns out, branding plays a huge role!
Branding is what makes your business easily recognizable, communicates what you stand for, and ultimately shows people why your business is the best choice over the competition.
Think I’m exaggerating?
Let’s dig a little deeper and take a look at seven reasons why branding is important for your business.
1. Make the right first impression
One of the most important things to consider about branding is that it’s the first thing people see when they come across your business. People wear brands, eat brands, listen to brands, and interact with brands in just about every aspect of life. With this in mind, having professional branding puts you in a strong position to make lasting impressions and generate new customers.
Depending on the industry of your business there are a lot of ways to make a good first impression through branding.
Imagine you’re a restaurant owner and you want to increase awareness of your restaurant in the local area. A first rate logo prominently displayed on the restaurant’s exterior could go a long way by catching the eye of people walking by.
And why stop there?
You could take it a step further by putting your logo on the bags or boxes that people carry away when ordering take-out. This way even more people in the area would see your logo. All of this helps to create a professional presence and would make your restaurant more recognizable.
Little things like this go a long way to cultivate a strong brand and increase future business.
2. Represent what you’re about
Recognition aside, branding is also a great way to tell people who you are and what you stand for.
Let me explain.
Your brand is an extension of you and your business. With that being said, your messaging and visual identity play an essential role in how people perceive you. When people come across your business, they may ask themselves, ‘Why should we do business with you’? Professional branding helps answer this question by communicating your vision and beliefs and making your identity crystal clear.
The online retailer Amazon does an excellent job with this type of branding. Not only does the arrow in their logo point from A to Z, (representing the fact that you can find just about anything at their store) it also forms a smile as their ultimate goal is to have happy customers.
The commercial below shows Amazon telling their story in a compelling way so that people can see what they stand for.
More on how branding and advertising go hand in hand later.
3. Create trust
There’s no doubt that people like to do business with things they trust, recognize, and associate with.
Do you see where I’m going with this?
Professional branding is essential to ensure that your business is portrayed in a polished and professional way.
If your branding clearly comes across as high quality, there’s a good chance people will assume your products or services are also high quality and they will be more likely to want to do business with you.
As with anything else, building a reputation takes time. According to Action Card, people need to see your brand 5-7 times before they remember you. However, being consistent with your messaging helps people formulate a lasting opinion.
Knowing your target audience goes a long way in creating trust with potential clients or costumers. It’s best to fine tune your messaging and brand strategy based on who your ideal customers are.
A perfect example of this is the company Chubbies whose shorts started popping up on college campuses all over the US a few years ago. Their social media platforms depict images of young men having a good time, college humor, and even memes! While this isn’t typical for an apparel company, this strategy has worked well for them as they’ve built a brand that is very attractive to their ideal customer – young college men.
4. Creates loyal customers
Similar to building trust, good branding plays a role in creating an overall positive experience for your customers. It helps to connect with people on an emotional level and associate your brand with their experience. There’s an old saying that goes something like ‘people don’t always remember what happened, but they remember how it made them feel’. Generating feelings of positivity and good vibes can go a long way in creating lasting relationships with customers.
When customers come to know what to expect from your business, they tend to come back again and again.
Consistency is key!
People also like to talk about positive experiences which can generate new business through word of mouth referrals.
Think about this for a moment:
People are four times more likely to buy something when referred by friends.
So ask yourself, is my brand providing experiences and messaging worth talking about?
5. Increase employee pride and satisfaction
In the same way that a professional sports team brings it’s players together to achieve a common goal, a strong brand can go a long way in uniting everyone under a single purpose.
Professional branding helps to improve your employee’s sense of belonging and fulfillment and can make them feel as though they are a part of something bigger. When your brand clearly communicates your vision and beliefs, your employees are more likely to feel a sense of pride in what they are doing.
A uniform can be a great way to increase employee satisfaction. In addition, it’s helpful for customers when employees are easily identifiable. This way customers can find employees quickly if they have a question or need assistance.
6. Branding supports advertising
As we mentioned earlier, branding and advertising really go hand in hand.
Advertising is a great avenue for promoting your business and strong branding plays a large role here.
If your branding is professional and your brand clearly communicates your beliefs, it makes it much easier to spread the message about what your business is all about. This helps create effective advertising campaigns and ensures that people understand what you stand for.
When it comes to advertising, there are a lot of different approaches a business can take. However, it’s important to keep things consistent with the overall brand.
In the Super Bowl commercial above Pepsi uses humor to illustrate that their beverage is ‘more than okay’. Pepsi embraces the fact that Coca Cola and Pepsi are big rivals in the beverage industry and gets the point across that their signature drink is really good.
7. Provides your business with financial value
Perhaps unsurprisingly, many of the most successful brands in the world like Apple, Nike, and Coca Cola are all valued far more than the worth of their physical assets. This is because they’ve built brands that are easily recognizable, trustworthy, and that people will keep coming back to because they have positive associations with them.
A professional brand helps to establish you as a force in the marketplace, increases future business, and in turn increases your value overall.
The streetwear clothing company Supreme is a perfect example of added value through branding. Because Supreme has created such high demand for their products through smart branding they are able to sell simple t-shirts and other articles of clothing for hundreds if not thousands of dollars. They’ve created a cult following among people who like street fashion and are have built a very successful brand in the process.
So all in all your brand communicates who you are, helps generate business, and ads value to your company. It can help unite your organization under a common goal and add a level of professionalism in everything that you do. This is why when you think of branding, it’s really worth doing it well because it can have a huge impact on your business as a whole.