Why do you need a brand? Whether you are a brick and mortar store, an online business or a combination of the two, you have a choice to brand your business and yourself, or risk leaving the branding to your prospects, losing all control of what the end result might be.
Branding is one of the most important aspects of any business, large or small. Your business needs to create a positive image in the minds of consumers. An effective branding strategy for your company gives you a major edge on your competitors.
What is a Brand?
The Wikipedia definition of a brand is “a type of product manufactured by a particular company under a particular name.”
The foundation of your brand is your logo. Your website, packaging and promotional materials. All of which should integrate your logo and communicate your brand and company message.
At the very least you should answer the following questions about your business.
- What is your company’s mission?
- What are the benefits and features of your products or services?
- What do your customers and prospects already think of your company?
- What qualities do you want them to associate with your company?
After you have that information you can begin to dress up your brand with the visual elements people are going to attach to your company. But if at the core of your company you do not deliver on the intrinsic promises then you will never gain brand equity.
No matter how good you look your main brand ambassador is always your product. If your product is poor then your brand will not gain traction. IT might attract first time buyers but its the recurring purchases and identification that will grow your business.
8 Benefits of Professional Branding
Branding can help your company stand out from your competitors, add value to your offer and engage with your customers.
1. Great Logos Make Great First Impressions: The foundation of your brand is your logo. Before your sales person knocks on the door, before your truck pulls up, and even before they call you, potential customers consider your logo when they decide whom to trust.
“A logo is your business’s public face,” says Patrick Llewellyn, president and CEO of 99designs, a graphic design firm where businesses hold online contests to find new logos.
Your website, marketing and promotional materials should integrate your logo and communicate your brand.
2. Look Established: Home-printed business cards or cards printed with Microsoft clipart scream “small-time vendor” to your potential clients — and that is how they will want to compensate you.
A brand widely known in the market has brand recognition and builds up positive sentiment which further strengthens the company position among competitors.
3. Attract Clients: Some clients look for a well-defined company, and “look and feel” may be one of their criteria for making a purchasing decision.
For example, a a customer who loves your company (and trusts the brand) is more likely to try other products your company offers.
4. Earn Trust with Professionalism: A brand and professionally-printed materials show that you are committed to both your business and to your clients.
5. To Be Memorable: Forty percent of people better remember what they see than what they hear or read. So to have graphics associated with your business, and to keep those graphics consistent, makes you more likely to be at the forefront of potential clients’ minds when they need your goods or services.
6. To Brand Yourself: Your logo and branding will differentiate you from your competition. A well-designed logo can have many subtle meanings and can begin to tell the story of how you do business, including the special practices that make you stand apart from the competition.
7. Save Time and Money: Developing the brand of your business takes time and effort, but after it has been solidified, and after customers have had the chance to identify with it, your sales can increase naturally. You won’t have to spend as much time planning marketing strategies to attract the public.
8. Creating Habitual Buying: In a wide range of product categories, consumers make their purchase decisions based largely on habit. Your branding and marketing is what creates that gut feeling in potential customers to choose your business over your competitors.
Once that connection has been established you begin to build brand equity with that customer. That brand equity will pay off with reoccurring purchases and positive testimonials.
Quick Tip: Be consistent. If you can’t do this, your attempts at establishing a brand will limit its success potential.
Is your brand is the focus of all your marketing efforts? If not you should consider reevaluating your companies brand and work on improvements. The goal is to say something about your company, connect with your target market, and always create loyalty.