What is Branding?
Branding is one of many marketing practices that involves a company creating a name, logo and design that distinguishes it against its competitors. It is the best way to identify your business by allowing you to express its personality and unique qualities. It should also help you to identify your products and services and what makes them stand out against those of your competitors.
Good branding should reflect what your business and company stands for, including what makes it stand out in the market. It should also reflect every part of your business from business cards to staff uniform and should be the premise to all of your marketing and advertising materials.
There are a few different brand types including attitude, symbolic, functional, individual and own brands. The type of brand you choose should help guide all of your business decisions.
Why is Branding important?
Branding is vital in creating a successful business. It can change how people, including your customers, perceive your business and the products and services it provides. Here is a list of what good branding can help you accomplish:
- Recognition: Good branding will help your business get recognised by consumers in a crowded market. From your branding they should get a strong understanding of your business and what it has to offer them.
- Generate New Customers: Strong branding creates a positive impression of your company to consumers. Consumers that receive a positive impression and experience will come to trust your company and purchase from you again. Now they know they are getting a good and reliable service they are likely to share your business with their friends, and thus generating more customers.
- Creates a sense of Trust within the Marketplace: Effective branding will provide your business with a professional and trustworthy appearance for potential customers and investors. Strong branding will also reflect your expertise in the industry. Consumers are far more likely to do business with a company they think is professional and trustworthy.
- Increase your Business’ Value: Branding will help generate future business and a strong brand can also increase your business’ value by strengthening its influence in the industry. Your business will become a more appealing investment opportunity.
- Supports Advertising: Advertising is an element of branding, and any and all strategies will need to reflect your brand.
Developing a Brand for your Business
Now that you are aware of what branding is and why it is so important for your business, the next step is learning how to develop a brand. Branding should be considered fairly early on when creating your business and fully developed before being used in any advertising or marketing materials. A strong brand should support the direction you would like your business to go in and should be included in any overall business plans.
To develop a brand for your business you will need to:
- Conduct Market Research
Start by researching your market. Are you entering a large market? Who are your main competitors? Who are your potential customers? Work out what will make your business stand out against your competitors.
- Consider Successful Brands
Take some time to think about successful brands that you recognise instantly, such as Nike, Ben & Jerry’s and Apple. What has made their branding so successful? This may help you come up with a strong brand for your own business.
- Tell the Story of your Business
How did you start your business? What inspired you to start this business? What do you hope to achieve? Consumers respond better to brands and businesses that share their story.
- Stay Authentic
A good brand reflects the values and personality of your business. Always be honest about your business and what it can offer, including all products and services, when developing your brand. If you cannot deliver on what your brand promises you will lose customers rapidly.
- Keep It Simple
Keep your branding simple and relevant to your business and the customers you are looking to attract. Avoid using too many colours, images and fonts that are difficult to read. A simple brand will be easier for consumers to remember and understand. Just because it is better to keep your branding simple does not mean it cannot also convey a strong message about your business.
- Consistency Is Key
Stay consistent in the way you use your brand to market your business. Keep a style guide or manual to manage and keep track of your brand. It should include elements such as the colours you have used, fonts and communication style.
Elements to consider when Branding your Business
Branding should encompass all aspects of your business and should be reflected in:
- Business name: A good business name should embody your business and what it has to offer. Keep it short and memorable, long names are easily forgotten.
- Logo: One of the most important elements of your brand. It is the face of your company and needs to be memorable enough to get stuck in your customer’s heads.
- Tagline: Write a catchy tagline that also displays a strong message related to your brand. Good taglines are easily liked and remembered.
- Business cards: Keep it simple and in the same style as your logo. Try not to cram too much information on them. Only include the essentials: business name, logo, website address, email address and contact number.
- Marketing materials: All marketing materials should match your brand style. This includes anything from print to digital.
- Advertising: All advertisements from print, television and digital should match your brand style.
- Pricing: Do your prices reflect the services or products you are selling? For example, your branding suggests your products are high quality and affordable. The price should accurately reflect what your brand has suggested to your customers.
- Staff uniforms: If your business has a high-street store it would be a good idea for your staff to wear a uniform that includes your logo. This will make them easy for customers to identify if they need any help and gives the impression of professionalism.
- Customer service: Good customer service will reflect well on your brand. Consumers are more likely to purchase from a brand with good customer service reviews.