No matter the size of your business, your brand - and how you market it - will determine your success. Sure, the terms "brand" and "branding" get a lot of mileage, but for good reason. More than just a buzzword, branding is a key marketing concept that, when applied well, can create much-needed recognition for your enterprise.
For example, who doesn't associate the trademark “Just do it!” with Nike, or the golden arches with McDonald's? When was the last time you called a cola-flavoured fizzy drink anything other than Coke? This is the power of branding.
A central part of branding is having a logo. Today, there are many logo creators available, such as the Wix Logo Maker - which is good news for freelancers or small business owners who would benefit from having a logo, but may not be able to afford to hire a designer.
Read on to find out more about logos and other aspects of branding.
What exactly is branding?
Today, given our increasingly digitised lifestyle, where almost anything is just a click away, gaining competitive advantage for your business is essential. This is because businesses have to compete for consumers' ever-dwindling attention spans in a fiercely competitive and crowded marketplace.
Therefore, building a memorable brand that sticks in the consumer's mind is a must if you want your business to stand out.
By definition, branding is a marketing strategy that helps you establish and build your brand. In other words, it helps you identify your business and distinguish it from the competition.
Branding is a process that entails deciding on a business name and creating a logo - an image, symbol or design - that represents your firm. Your brand should make a memorable, lasting impression on your customers or clients.
It is not only the face of your firm, but also how you want to be perceived. Through branding, you can emphasize why you and your product or service are truly the best choice for customers or clients.
Once you have established your brand identity, there are many ways to develop and promote it. These may include specialized customer services, online and offline events, advertising and promotional merchandise. Together, all of these elements can create a unique and (hopefully) memorable market presence.
Why is branding important?
What good is your business without clients or customers? This is where branding plays a crucial role. Here are just four (of many) reasons why branding is so important in growing your business and remaining relevant.
1. It creates and sustains brand recognition
Branding helps you create a market presence by building and/or increasing awareness for your product or service. A great way to communicate information about your business is through a logo.
Creating an attractive, unforgettable logo that makes a lasting impression will stoke brand recognition among customers or clients. After all, many people can immediately identify a particular business when they see their logo.
2. It attracts new customers
Branding efforts, like advertising, help introduce your name and reputation into new market segments. The more familiar consumers are with your brand, the more likely it is that they will do business with you. Once your brand is established and widely recognized, word of mouth can effectively bring new customers.
3. It builds trust with customers/clients
Consumers are more likely to do business with a firm that has a trusted reputation for professionalism. Strong branding strategies can reinforce the impression that you are an industry expert whose product or service deserves consumer trust.
4. It can change how people perceive you
Rebranding your business can work for better or for worse. For example, remember back in the '90s when Apple was on the verge of bankruptcy?
Nowadays, you don't need an iPhone to know that the rebranded company, with its tech-driven approach and “Think Different” tagline, is one of the world's most successful.
On the other hand, American donut chain Dunkin's Donuts recently caused a stir among consumers who felt betrayed after it changed its name to Dunkin'.
How to define your brand
Defining your brand identity can be challenging. Are you an industry disrupter? An innovator? Or do you represent something more traditional and reliable?
Just remember, your business can't be all things to everyone. Your brand identity should be partially based on your target customers' or clients' needs and expectations.
Here are some important questions to consider while defining your brand:
- What is your business' aim?
- What are the features and benefits of the products or services you provide?
- What qualities do you want your customers or clients to associate with your business?
Be sure to thoroughly research the needs and habits of your customers or clients. Doing so will help you reach them more effectively.
How to market your brand
Once you've defined your brand, here are additional branding tactics that can help your business gain more exposure:
- Create a memorable logo. Remember, a great logo can make a big difference in how people identify, perceive and remember your business. Once you have a logo, be sure to share it.
- Be clear about your brand message. The clearer you are about your brand message, the easier it will be for others to understand and spread it.
- Create a tagline. Write a catchy, concise and memorable statement that encapsulates the spirit of your brand. Include it in all promotional and marketing materials.
- Think holistically. Integrate your branding efforts into all aspects of your business. Include your logo and/or tagline on employee clothing, in email signatures, on promotional merchandise, product packaging, and even in phone greetings.
- Be consistent with your brand's tone and look. Is your brand friendly and conversational, or is it more serious and formal? Whichever voice and look better suit your brand, apply them consistently to all marketing materials. Also, be consistent about your use of colours and logo placement.
- Always be true to your brand. Always deliver on your brand promise. This will ensure repeat customers or returning clients.
The power of branding
Your brand can be a powerful asset in differentiating and growing your business. Strong and consistent branding efforts that stir recognition for - and confidence in - your business can relay trust and quality, all in just one name or logo.
In fact, according to Nielsen's Global New Product Innovation Survey, almost 60% of global respondents prefer to purchase new products from brands that they are already familiar with, and 21% said they bought a new product because it was from a brand that they like.
The bottom line is that branding leads to brand recognition, which can mean the difference between your business' success, stagnancy or failure.
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