We often hear people discussing branding in business. But what is it exactly? And, why is it so important? Here's a brief lowdown of what branding really is - and how getting your branding right can take your business to the next level.
What is branding?
When people think of branding, they often think of logos or colours associated with a company - such as McDonald's iconic 'double arches'. However, branding goes beyond mere graphics. It encompasses everything your customer experiences when they interact with your company, such as:
- Customer service
- Written content
- Images and videos
- Company ethos and manifesto
In short, it's everything about your business - and it's vital to create a cohesive, engaging brand if you want to resonate with your audience.
Here's just a few reasons why it's imperative to get your branding right.
- Boosting awareness. When you see a 'swoosh' - do you think of the sportswear brand, Nike? If someone tells you that you're 'worth it' - do you find yourself thinking of L'Oréal? If so, you've just experienced powerful branding at work. Building a recognisable brand helps raise awareness of your company - and can develop trust and loyalty.
- Standing out. Unless you do something really unusual, it's likely you'll have a few competitors out there - possibly hundreds or even thousands. As a result, you need to stand out from the crowd, and good branding helps you to achieve this.
- Echoing your business mission. Every good company has an overreaching manifesto - a way of working that governs their everyday business. Your brand can reinforce your company message - not only to your customers, but to your staff too. This creates a sense of cohesion and clarity.
- Meaningful connections. You can use your brand to establish much more meaningful connections with your target audience. Take John Lewis for example - who have established their brand to make it synonymous with good quality and reliability. This generates trust, whilst also forming an emotional connection. Think about how you can use your brand to reach out personally to your customers.
- Getting the message across. Ideally, your brand should encapsulate what your company does, without saying a word. A bold logo or dynamic home page should convey your products and services instantly - which is especially important on the internet, when it's so easy to click on to another site.
Creating Your Brand
When working on your brand, think about the following:
- Is it unique? It's tricky to create a brand that's totally fresh - but it certainly shouldn't be an obvious copy of an existing brand!
- Does it convey your products, services and ethos? Your brand should represent your company, linking to what you offer your customers.
- Does it resonate with your audience? Is it designed to appeal to your customers? Do the colours 'fit' with your products and services? Does your brand voice use the right tone and style? It needs to hit the right note with the right people.
- Is it easy to understand? Don't overcomplicate your branding - in most cases, simple is best.
- Does it work across your entire business? Does your branding suit your website? Does it work on social media, or in your email correspondences with customers? It's important to create a brand that is adaptable, whilst remaining true to its core values.
Building a Brand for Your Business
If you're finding it difficult creating an effective brand for your business, what are you struggling with the most?
If you've already created your brand - how did you find the process? Were there aspects that you found challenging? What tips could you offer those who are just starting out? I'd love to hear your ideas.
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