Your brand will play a significant role in determining the success or failure of your business, so make sure that you get yours right. Here is a brief look at the basics of business branding.
What is branding?
Branding started out as a simple way to prove where a product was made as well as a means of showing ownership; however, over the years the idea of branding has evolved considerably.
Nowadays, your brand is seen as a combination of everything your customers know or have heard about your business, whether it is from your marketing efforts, their personal experience or via word of mouth.
According to the Tronvig Group, a brand is “…what sticks in your mind associated with a product, service, or organization – whether or not, at that particular moment, you bought or did not buy.”
Why does it matter?
Everything from your logo and packaging through to the speed and quality of your service will either enhance or undermine your brand. The strength of your brand will make or break your business; here are a few of the reasons why.
Stand out from the crowd – A strong brand will help your business stand out among your competitors, which is particularly important if yours is a rather saturated market. Having a distinctive logo, style, packaging or reputation will make it easier to catch the eye of a potential customer, as well as help those who are looking for your products to find them.
Inspire confidence – Most people like to know what they are getting when they make a purchase and an effective brand will reassure a customer that they have nothing to worry about. A brand that inspires confidence is vital, especially if you offer similar products or services to your competitors at roughly the same prices.
Connect with customers – A good brand will help your business connect with your customers on a deeper level by appealing to their lifestyle, habits or even their sense of self. Showing that you understand your customers by providing what they want in the way that they want it will encourage customer loyalty and do wonders for your business’s success.
Send a message – Your brand should make it very clear who you are and what you do, because it is safe to assume that not everyone will have heard of your business already. The more consistent your messaging is the stronger your brand will be, especially if you can establish yourself as an expert in your field.
Easy ways to boost your brand
Effective branding doesn’t need to cost a fortune. Here are a few cheap and easy ways to boost your business brand.
Simplify your messaging – Take a look at everything from your business website and social media accounts through to your packaging and advertising and ensure that your messaging is consistent and coherent. For your brand to be strong your messaging needs to clearly articulate why you are better than your competition, ideally in one or two simple points, and these points should be repeated consistently throughout all your business communication.
Tell a story – While it is easy to make claims about how great your business is telling stories that prove it are much more effective. Your website should include stories about how your business has solved challenging problems as well as testimonials from customers about your great service or the amazing longevity of your products. Be sure to include a company story in the ‘About Us’ section of your website describing who you are and how your business came about, as this will help you to humanize your business and build a connection with your customers.
Use color – Studies have long proven that color has a major impact on the human psyche, so make sure that you are using it to maximum effect in your business branding. While some colors will inspire trust and confidence others will evoke feelings of style and luxury, and learning about what each of those tones do will make it easier to ensure that you are sending the right message. If you are short on ideas, take a look at how successful businesses have used color in their branding, such as Coca-Cola, McDonalds and Starbucks. It all depends on your specific industry.
Regardless of how large or small your business may be, your branding is one of the most important elements that will determine its success. So if you are still struggling to establish a loyal customer base take another look at your branding.