Whether it’s Coke vs. Pepsi, Nike vs. Adidas, MAC vs. Sephora, or the Apple vs. PC, there are companies you will stay loyal to until the end of time, because of all the money they put into branding their products and services. Before you start thinking about how you don’t have the budget for branding, I’m here to tell you that you had better find some money to get it right if you want your business to be relevant.
Branding is the most important step you can take to promote your business successfully, but first, let me tell you what branding is. According to Branding Magazine, branding is a marketing practice where a business or person creates a name, symbol or design that can easily be identified as belonging to that company or person. In this day and age, there are a million companies and influencers that do what you do.
The only way to set your business apart from the competition is by creating a distinguishable voice and look for your company that would compel your ideal audience to do business with you or follow you. Business branding is an adventure that demands a well-planned strategy which includes innovative ideas about the features that differentiate your brand from your competitors.
Did you even know that the facial tissue we use during the cold season isn’t actually called a Kleenex? That’s an actual company name. Tissue, regardless of the brand, is just called tissue, but because of the strength of the Kleenex brand, many people ask for a Kleenex when they need to blow their nose. The market is saturated with so many influencers talking about beauty, fitness, fashion, and travel that it’s hard to stand out from the crowd if you do exactly what they all do. There are so small businesses out there doing the same thing you’re doing, even within your local area and this flooding of the market with products/services/influencers makes brand strategies an important method by which to get ahead of the competition and reinforce your position with your potential clients.
Effective branding strategies help in increasing awareness of your product and in developing a favorable view of your product from customers. Developing a compelling brand strategy aims at grabbing the lion’s share of the customer’s attention and interest. This requires some know-how of the market, your customer’s preferences as well as your competition’s brand strategies.
Effective branding can elevate your business or influence into something new and unique, instead of being just one product or influencer among many similar others. Standing out in this competitive business market is quite difficult, but there are different methods you can use to make your product stand out effectively. This can be as simple as using colors and fonts in your design or packaging that your competitors are not using, which creates a lasting impression in the minds of consumers. Having that kind of visual queue can help consumers compare your brand in the marketplace.
It is the fact that customers pay more for a branded product than for an unbranded product because they see the quality of the design and have heard of the reputation of the company which assumes the quality of product/service. Even the company Brandless has a brand that stands out for selling goods that a much cheaper, more organic/eco-friendly products than the branded versions of those same products. Word of mouth doesn’t spread as fast when there isn’t something memorable to share.
It is presumed that your company is real and reliable when you have things like your website, business cards at networking events, plus all your packaging and digital presence is cohesively designed. How many times have you seen a crappy website that immediately makes you think the company is fake or fraudulent? How many Gmail addresses have made you rethink giving money to a consultant or coaching business?
When your brand appears professional, people automatically start to see you as an influencer, they think you and your people are industry experts, they are proud to share their allegiance to your brand with their friends, and they gladly open their pockets for your services and products.
When building your brand, think of it as a customer. Every one of us is a person whose character is made up of beliefs, values, and purposes that define who we are and with whom we want to connect. These things are important to understand when you are building a brand for your business. Be clear and precise to the customers. Have a clear definition of your brand’s objectives as you introduce your brand to your clients because this will make them trust you. Don’t dress up your offering and raise expectations that result in broken promises in the future.
Building strong brands, developing relevant and compelling messages, offers, and managing marketing ROI is now more complex than it ever was. At the same time, online players are changing the rules of the game. As a millennial, I can assure you that I only do business with brands that have a digital presence, great customer service, that are transparent about their business practices, and have great reviews online.
One of your greatest tools for understanding your target audience will be online. Check your competitor’s social media accounts and hashtags to see what people want to hear and what they need from that brand. Use that information to your advantage to distinguish yourself from them. Also, be sure that your brand voice is consistent because once something is online, it never disappears no matter how fast you delete that post.
To create an effective brand for your business, you should demonstrate that you have strong staying power. Think about your business and where it will be in the future. Branding is simply, a way of defining your business to your team, to your external audiences and most importantly, to yourself. Today, customers of different brands are so savvy that they can easily see through most attempts by companies to spin or charm their way to sales.
Whether you’re starting a brand new business that needs a logo, or you are trying to start or improve your social media presence, I can help you with your branding. Take a look at some of my branding projects or better yet, click the button below to set up a 30-minute consultation to discuss your branding needs.