Branding is vital to the success – or the failure – of your business regardless of its size – small or large, B2B or retail. Get your branding right and have customers come to you. Get it wrong and you’ll spend all your time chasing them. From logos, to slogan and marketing, your brand reveals the face of your business. Here is a beginners guide to defining a successful brand.
You might be wondering why branding is so important or what it means to your business. This is a crucial part of your business strategy, and it shouldn’t be overlooked. From smaller operations to more established companies, customers expect a business to leave a strong brand and marketing impression. So ask yourself, what is your brand all about? Can you sum it up in just one sentence?
As you carry out your daily activities, you’ll come across several brands at every turn. You may recognize some brands without giving it a second thought, while some are new to you. A number of companies have gotten branding right, and we sure all recognize them straight away.
So what does branding mean?
Your brand is a blend of several elements that describes your business. It’s a set of brand style guidelines that doesn’t need to be complex; a simple style guide can be enough to get you started. However, you should be able to dedicate time to upholding it. These include your logo, slogan, motto, business ethos and identity.
The face of your business is your brand — it denotes who you are and the promise you seek to deliver. Despite what a lot of people may think, branding is not just about creating a logo. To leave a strong impression, you need to create a marketing message that is undeniably you and that it “sticks”. And that requires consistency and uniformity.
That’s because your branding tells your customers what to expect from your services and products. When a customer sees or hears from you, your brand and identity should evoke the same kind of feeling. This feeling will set you apart and differentiate what you offer from your competitors.
Jeff Bezos, founder and president of Amazon, said: “Your brand is what other people say about you when you are not in the room.”
Defining your brand
(It doesn’t happen overnight!)
This process can be compared to a journey of self-discovery for your business. It can be uncomfortable, time-consuming and difficult. To say the least, you have to answer some of these questions:
- What is the mission of your company?
- What are the features and benefits of your services or products?
- What do your prospects and customers think of your business?
- What are the qualities you’d like to be associated with?
And most importantly – why does your business exist? Yes, that’s the golden WHY question that all businesses need to answer.
Carry out detailed research
Learn the desires, habits, and needs of your prospective and current clients. Know what your customers think and don’t make assumptions. After defining your brand, the next task is getting the word out. Here are some classic tips that never get old:
- Design an eye-catching logo and display it everywhere.
- The next thing is to write your brand message.
- Ideally, every staff should know the attributes of your brand and embody it.
Integrate your brand
Just like we said earlier, your brand embodies your business. It extends to all aspects of your company – how you respond to customers, answer the phone, what you wear, your email signature etc. Everything you do must reflect your brand. That’s why it is important to create a voice that mirrors your brand. Apply this voice to everything that pertains to your business – written communication, and all visual imagery for your company both offline and online.
Create a tagline
Taglines are one of the best ways to make your customers remember you. Write a concise, meaningful and memorable statement that shows the spirit of your brand. Create brand standards and design templates for your marketing materials. Your color scheme should be uniform across board, same as your logo placement. Again, consistency is key.
If you do not deliver on your brand’s promise, it’s not rocket science…you’ll end up with no returning customers either. Which means that your brand will only feed off from new customers, who will never take the time to recommend your brand. This will be the beginning of the end. So, be true to your brand, to your promise and to your customers. Sounds pretty simple and straightforward, but it’s what businesses do so poorly in the long run.
This tip is the most important and it entails all that we’ve been discussing above. Your branding attempts will all fail if you are not consistent. Remember, make that first impression last by owning your brand’s identity all the time. The moment shoppers start coming directly to your online store and not stumbling upon you through Google, that’s when you’ll know that you did a good job.
>> Check out our article “5 Essential Tips to Improve Your Online Presence” for tips on how to improve your business’s digital footprint and attract more customers.