It can be easy to view “branding” as an overused buzzword that doesn’t really have a fixed meaning. Whilst it may be thrown around during every meeting, it is incredibly important. Whether you’re a small start-up venture or a huge multinational company, branding can make or break a business.
Branding is how you’re perceived by potential customers. It often involves logos, slogans, social media, maybe even merchandise but the overall idea is larger than the sum of its parts. Customers have more choice than ever before and it’s so easy for a company to blend into the background. Your brand sets you apart and makes a promise, whether that be a promise of happiness, security, satisfaction etc.
Knowing just how important branding is for a business, what can you do to guarantee success?
One of the most useful aspects of branding is that it allows you to differentiate yourself from similar organisations. Whatever it is that you sell, whether it’s a product, service or both, you need to offer something unique. For example, pricing, do you want to offer high quality or high value or attempt to provide the best of both worlds. The side that you come down on with pricing will dictate the customers that you attract and could potentially dictate your overall success.
Obviously, there are many overly saturated markets and it can be difficult to stand out from the crowd. In instances such as this, you could consider a unique approach to social media, an interesting type of packaging or even just an eye-catching logo. Any way in which you can differentiate your business will help you to attract customers.
The most successful brands understand the power of selling emotions. Of course, when it comes to making a purchase, customers factor in price, quality, functionality etc but on a basic level, people want to feel. Ask yourself how you’d like your customers to feel and then tailor your branding towards this. Happier, less stressed, entertained, secure, relieved, the list goes on. If you can create a strong emotional connection with your customers, you will be rewarded with brand loyalty.
Branding is only effective when its consistent in its approach. A one-off, marketing campaign might make some waves but it’s not going to create a lasting impression on customers. Your brand should be a part of your DNA and showcased continually, whether that be via your website, packaging, social media or even in the way in which you interact with consumers.
Modern marketing has so many gimmicks and niches which come and go and it can be easy to fall in to the trap of following the trends. However, to truly stand out, you should establish your brand and continually nurture it.
Another common mistake with marketing is over-complication. Logos, tag lines, slogans and colour schemes should be relatively simple and easy to recognise. If you look at some of the most successful brands, there’s a noticeable shift towards minimalist, sleek aesthetics. Branding can be simple and still be incredibly effective.
When we think of iconic brands, we think of Disney, Apple, eBay just to name a few. These companies have created such a strong connection with their customers that entire communities have built up around them. With the advent of social media, community discussion and fan pages have become much more popular and it’s likely to play a prominent roll in future marketing. Often these types of communities pop up spontaneously, but brands can attempt to speed up the process. An active social media presence and regular interaction with loyal customers can help you to create a natural space for this type of community.
These communal spaces have become the modern version of “word of mouth” with consumers sharing reviews, generating interest in your products and potentially even providing free advertising.
With so much competition in the business world, branding has never been so important. Ignoring this aspect of business could lead to your missing out on all of the potential benefits.