Why Branding is the Key to Success
Why branding is the key to success
What do all the world’s most successful companies all have in common? Kick ass branding.
From Coca-Cola and Heinz to Sky and Innocent, brands are everywhere and fill every aspect of our modern lives. Big companies like these invest hugely in building their brands and it’s proven the ones who do it best last longer and make bigger profits – for example, Samsung may have vast revenues, but Apple having a much more desirable brand is much more profitable.
Today, there’s a multitude of factors that are making the use of branding more important than ever, perhaps even vital for survival. With a record number of self employed people in the UK and more businesses saturating every market – competition is only getting fiercer. Not only that but it’s easier now for competitors to clone your products, steal your concepts and duplicate your services. To top it off, consumers now have unbelievable power over business. With having websites and apps like Google, Facebook and countless review and comparison sites all at their fingertips – they can get all the information they need in an instant. Decisions are being made before even engaging with your business. The phrase “never judge a book by it’s cover” has never been so untrue!.
This is where branding comes in. When done and managed well, branding can bring a wealth of benefits to any business.
It’s a tool that, with a bit of know-how, anyone can use and often it can mean the difference between struggling to pay the bills or being inundated by customers shouting “shut up and take my money!”.
But if you say ‘branding is only for big companies’ or ‘I haven’t got bags of cash to throw at flashy graphics and visuals’, you’re wrong! Branding can be as accessible as you want it to be. Yes, having good design is important but there’s much more to it than that and a lot of it can be done by you and you can start right now. The key is first to understand branding and knowing what it can do for us.
What is a brand?
A brand is most definitely not just a logo. We’ve heard this time and time again. For some a logo is sometimes just enough, but if you want to leave them in the gutter and see your business take off and become the number one name in your field – then branding definitely needs to be much more than a logo. A brand can be anything from an idea to a product or even a person – we often hear Donald Trump being referred to as a brand, albeit a bad one and contrasted to Barack Obama who is much more fondly received.
To put it simply – a brand is a bunch of ideas and feelings your customers and your employees have about you.
“Your brand is your reputation”
The stronger and more positive those feelings are towards you, the more they’ll buy from you and the longer they’ll remain loyal to you. In the same way people build reputations – built out of how we dress, how we behave, what we do and who we associate with – our businesses build reputations too. Your reputation is your brand. You care about your reputation right? Everyone has one, I’m sorry (not sorry), but you have a brand whether you like it not.
Your brand is everything that touches the public. Its made out of your behaviour towards your customers, your customers experience with your service, how you look online and offline, what your promise is to your customers, how you deliver it and how you differ to everyone else. Your brand is the sum of these parts and the logo is merely a symbol of the whole.
“Reputation is everything, so look after it”
If you abandon your brand to chance you risk your reputation falling into disrepair putting you and your business at risk. A bad reputation means customers will avoid you. Simple.
Branding is about crafting your reputation to your advantage, its about getting your reputation to work hard and convince your target audience to choose your product over someone else’s and ultimately make sales.
But branding can’t be a singular activity, it’s a continuous daily process of delivering on your promise and forever living up to the needs and satisfaction of your customers. By paying attention to how you speak, by going the extra mile, being surprising yet consistent in everything you do – that’s the path to building a successful brand and a successful business.
How does branding help my business?
What makes you special? Ask yourself this. Why should anyone pick you over the next person – then how do you communicate that to your audience? Branding not only helps people identify and recognise your organisation but also recognise what point of difference you bring to the market. Your brand should celebrate who you are, your unique qualities and show them to the world. Own-ability. There’s only one you so let’s celebrate that.
02. Lovable Personality
No one likes a robot. Having an interesting, engaging personality is vital – it makes you memorable and makes you human. Branding creates a personality for your customers to engage with and it gives your business a voice. How can you develop any form of advertising and PR campaign without a brand voice to do the talking? With a voice, people will listen. Also if you are your business, then you are that personality.
People want to buy services from companies that appear ‘legit’. Whether your convincing customers, suppliers, contractors or potential collaborators, having a strong brand creates credibility on that you’ll deliver on your promises – it makes you easier to trust. Branding helps people take you seriously. Building trust and delivering a good product/service you’ll reap the rewards of loyalty, repeat purchasing and glowing reviews.
04. Adds Value
A brand with prestige can command much more value for its product than an identical product from a less respected brand. A good example of this is in cars. People will happily pay much more for a VW over a Skoda (we all know why that is). In other words you can charge more!
05. Stand out from the crowd
Strong branding acts as a beacon to your target audience to set you apart from your competitors.
06. Bigger than the individual
Branding has it’s uses to give the illusion of establishment and longevity especially when starting out.
In some industries being branded is expected in order to deliver a high level of service. Especially in some fields such as legal and accounting, people want someone they can trust and they need that brand behind them to create that.
08. First Impressions
Yes, we judge books by their cover. They count big time. By having a strong clear brand potential customers will instantly understand what you offer and how it can benefit them. Leave them confused and they’ll simply walk away. Think of craft beers or wine – we make our pick completely based on the labelling and Brew Dog know this and have done phenomenally well for it.
09. Member of the Club
A brand can become a part of someone’s identity, like being part of an team or a club. Giving the customers and employees a sense of belonging and exclusivity whilst giving them a deeper purpose. It’s every brand’s dream & ultimate goal. Customers for life. If you’re into Football then you’ll already understand this!
So what are you waiting for?
Branding’s undeniable power to bring prestige and profits to any business is clear. It’s a process that involves every little detail of your business – there are no short cuts. It’s more than a design on a product, a logo or strap line. Your brand is the sum of all it’s parts and more – from its visual identity and customer experience to your business culture, brand promises and how you act upon them.
So its down to you to build your brand. By discovering the right voice, personality and message of your brand you can build the right reputation to target your ideal customer. Your brand has to be clear on 3 things: who you are, what you offer to your customers, who you are helping and why. At the end of the day a brand’s purpose is to build loyal customers and draw in sales through a message and voice they can trust.
Fortunately, small businesses – unlike the big cats – can quickly adapt, making them best placed to build the best brands. So investing in your brand isn’t cheap, but in the long run having a solid brand will save you money and make you even more. There are plenty of things you can address yourself right now. Is your service/product as good as it could be? Are your customer relations at their best? Are you delivering a clear message in your communications? Asking yourself these questions is a good starting place.
Ultimately, people make their judgement on who’s service to buy based on reputation. It’s down to you to build the right one. So don’t leave your reputation to chance. Grab the bull by the horns and use branding to it’s full potential. Then you can watch your business grow and reap in the rewards.