Branding is frequently overlooked, but it is an extremely powerful tool for all types of businesses.
Coca-Cola put the need for branding simply:
“If Coca-Cola were to lose all of its production-related assets in a disaster, the company would survive. By contrast, if all consumers were to have a sudden lapse of memory and forget everything related to Coca-Cola, the company would go out of business.”
What is branding?
One of the reasons branding may be an afterthought for some is due to its often misconstrued and ambiguous definition.
Your brand is not a physical asset per se and it’s certainly not something you can touch or hold in your hands.
Think of it as your business’ DNA – what makes you, you.
It’s not solely about the way you look, but it’s not entirely about what you do – it’s a combination of the two.
Branding encompasses your values, how you speak with your customers, how you treat your staff, alongside what font you use, the colours in your logo and on your marketing materials. It’s all that and more.
According to the Design Council:
“The simplest answer is that a brand is a set of associations that a person (or group of people) makes with a company, product, service, individual or organisation.”
Meanwhile, Forbes explains it as a promise to customers.
The bottom line is that branding can help your business stand out from its competitors. It’s a way of adding value to those that invest in your product (whether that’s time or their hard-earned cash) and it’s a way of engaging with your customers on a different level.
So, why does branding matter to your business?
Connect with your customers.
A well-executed brand is able to speak with their target audience on a deeper level.
When your values align with your ideal customers’ values, something magical happens.
Popular car brands are a good example of this.
Volvo promises safety and comfort and those who want that from a vehicle are more likely to buy into the brand.
Meanwhile, another car manufacturer, such as Porsche, may bring about other words and feelings.
And, that’s what a good brand will do – connect emotionally with people.
Add value to your clients and staff.
Creating an effective brand can also mean added value to your customer’s experience, as well as the experience of the people who work for you.
Design Council takes the example of Tesco – which started out as an economy supermarket. It’s main brand attributes are affordability and ease-of-access.
It has grown from a simple grocery shop to an online retail giant, as well as the plethora of stores we see on our high streets and on big retail parks. But, at its core, it’s stuck with its brand attributes of value for money and convenience.
Stand out from the rest.
Nowadays, we are exposed to so many different companies trying to sell us their products and services. Having a powerful brand ensures that you can create a difference between your company and the rest.
Again, highlighting what makes you, you can mean all the difference when attracting and retaining customers.
With a strong brand, it shouldn’t matter if your market is saturated. Think about what makes you different from your competitors and shout about it.