Branding is key to the success of your business. It determines how people feel about your business and whether or not they want to buy your products or use your services. In short, it helps to build loyalty and grow your customer base.
When it’s done right, branding can deliver real results over time but getting it right isn’t always straightforward. Poor branding efforts will, at best, result in a waste of time and money. At worst, it can have a negative effect on how people view your business.
So what exactly is branding and how do you get right?
Branding in brief
Branding is the process whereby a range of tools is used to introduce your brand message to your target audience. It’s about building awareness, developing preferences, and inviting would-be customers to have a positive set of associations about your brand. Your branding is the entire identity of your business and it gives your business personality.
So what does that mean in practice?
First, let’s clarify what branding isn’t.
What branding isn’t
When thinking about branding it can be useful to think about what it’s not. Here are five key elements people often mistake for branding:
● The product
Your product needs to deliver on the promise of branding, but it’s not the branding.
● The logo
A great logo can help support your branding, but it isn’t branding itself.
● Your website
Your website is one means by which people will understand your brand, but it isn’t your brand on its own.
● Brochures, flyers and other promotional materials
All of these will reflect your branding, but on their own don’t constitute branding.
While it’s crucial to work out and write down where your brand stands in relation to the competition and customer expectations, your brand position isn’t branding.
In fact, all of the above will flow out of and reflect your branding. Branding begins by taking a step back from all of the above and thinking more deeply about your motivations, ideas and plans for your business.
How will you turn those things into something coherent that speaks to customers, employees and suppliers with whom you work?
What does branding impact?
Branding makes it easier to market your products to different customer bases. It helps to establish, sustain and grow a loyal customer following. Having regular customers who are emotionally connected to your brand is the holy grail when it comes to creating a sustainable business. Branding gives you a platform to reach people, and when you’ve reached them, you gain a platform from which to plan for the future.
Branding is important for customers because it gives them a quick indication of what your products and services are all about. More importantly, it gives them an intuitive sense of your business ideals and values. If those ideals and values speak to them, then they’re likely to be interested in what you have to sell.
Smart branding shapes how you present your products and services, the look and feel of your website, your promotional materials and your social media content. It may even determine which social media channels you choose to concentrate on.
Branding doesn’t just have an impact on your customers. It will also affect how you run your business, the commercial and ethical choices you make, and even your choice of suppliers.
When you begin employing people, your branding will help to determine the working culture within your business and might even influence the kind of talent that applies to fill your vacancies.
In summary, branding does a lot of heavy lifting when it comes to how your business runs, presents itself and its chances of ultimate success.
Why is branding important?
Good branding gives your company a more human side and helps it to stand out from your competitors. It makes your business instantly recognisable, making it easier for satisfied customers to find you and your products whenever they need to.
Branding also makes it easier to develop your marketing strategy. It ensures that you remain consistent in your marketing efforts and that you are always building on your previous work. It gives shape to how your business develops and makes sure that you don’t unconsciously stray from your overall values and goals.
This consistency is important for your customers as it helps to build trust. You’re not inadvertently undermining your branding message with a contradictory presentation. Over time, you reaffirm your branding values, helping people become more connected with your brand.
How to get started with branding?
Creating a brand can feel complex and overwhelming. There is a lot to think about so it’s important to take a step back and not rush into things.
Firstly, ask yourself what motivates you to get up in the morning and work in your business?
What is your big motivating idea and what is that you want to do differently from your competitors?
Few people are motivated to start businesses purely by money. Instead, they want to create something meaningful or different. Perhaps they’ve spotted a gap in the market or want to create a business that reflects their ethical values.
Secondly, you need to consider your target audience and their values and priorities. Is there a market that will be inspired by your vision and values for your brand, or might you need to compromise on some aspects to better meet their needs?
This can seem like a daunting task so working with a branding agency can be a smart move. Branding agencies are experienced at getting to the heart of the matter and know how to tease out your ideas and turn them into something tangible.
Getting your branding right Dawn Creative can help you get your branding right the first time by working creatively to deliver real results with a track record that speaks for itself. There’s lots to consider when it comes to branding, so it’s always best to get experts involved.