What is branding, again?
As a business owner, you have a lot on your plate. From managing employees to finding unique ways to market your services in an oversaturated industry, it can be easy to let your company branding sit on the back burner. Sometimes, smaller issues that come into play are a result of unclear messaging or brand values. If you are feeling stagnant, it may be time to consider revisiting your brand.
Get back to basics.
You may be considering a logo redesign, a brochure to feature that awesome new thing you’re offering, or maybe you want to launch an ad campaign on social media. These are all great ideas on how to improve your bottom line and attract new customers, but let’s step back and take a look at the bigger picture.
One of the foundational building blocks to your business’s success is how well your brand communicates your company’s message and converts prospects to loyal consumers.
A long time ago, “brand” used to mean something different. It used to be a logo, packaging, or even a tagline. While these elements are critical to the identity of a company, they are not the brand itself. These are just tools used to communicate the brand’s core message.
Marketing guru Seth Godin defines a brand as “the set of expectations, memories, stories, and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.”
The overwhelming consensus is that a brand goes beyond the tangible. Anne Handley articulates this well: The brand is the image people have of your company or product. It’s who people think you are. Or quoting Ze Frank, it’s the “emotional aftertaste” that comes after an experience with a product, service, or company.
A brand is, essentially, your business’s personality, and the promise to the customer that your brand’s personality will remain intact throughout the customer’s experience. What’s your brand’s promise? Is it to provide the coolest, most user-friendly cutting-edge phones, computers, and other electronics? Is it to deliver to your customers overnight, guaranteed? Is it to inspire and nurture the human spirit–one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time? Can you identify the three brands just described?
Why is branding so important?
Proper branding is critical to your company’s success because it sets the tone for all communications between the business and the customer. It sets expectations and allows you as a company to build trust by meeting them. It tells your prospects why they should choose you over your competitors; it conveys the unique selling point that sets you apart and above the rest.
In this way, branding adds value to your product or service.
Once you are crystal clear about who you want to be as a brand, as well as the relationships and experiences you want to create with your customers, you can begin to craft your brand promise and set your brand strategy into motion.