WHAT IS BRANDING AND WHY SHOULD I CARE?
Branding is a marketing practice that tempers how you perceive a company. It is a mark, symbol, look and feel or name that is easily identifiable as belonging to that company. When you think of Starbucks, most of us generally think of a general aesthetic present when we see Starbucks advertisements, walk into Starbucks or even hear others talk about Starbucks. Just reading this, you probably have an image or feeling in your mind Starbucks gives you. Branding is what sets one company apart from another. It makes a memorable impression on consumers and should be the best representation of a company as a whole.
Here are the 7 reasons your company needs a strong brand:
1. CREATES CONSISTANCY
When your audience sees consistency, over time, they begin to recognize your brand, who you are and what you do. The more you get in front of them with a consistent message, look, logo, etc., the more their brains are triggered to think of what you offer.
2. CAUSES A POSITIVE, PROFESSIONAL PERCEPTION
Immediately when I step into a business establishment, I can tell what kind of experience I’ll have. If the place smells clean, is aesthetically pleasing, has a great logo, and is consistent with their look and feel, I want to go in and stay there. I want to experience what that company is offering. If, however, the establishment is grimy, has no clear branding whatsoever or looks like it’s straight out of 9 separate decades, I’m immediately unimpressed and have a poor impression of my experience there… even if I haven’t even seen what products or services they offer. Good branding gives off the impression you have it together, you are professional and will do a good job at whatever it is you offer.
3. GENERATES NEW CUSTOMERS
Any good brand draws new customers easily. People are intrigued and want to know more when they see a fabulous-looking road sign, social media ad or product packaging. Packaging alone can sell a product. Good branding causes people to want what you have to offer.
4. INCREASES VALUE
Think of the more “natural” brands you know. Natural deli meat, natural hair care, natural salad dressing… those brands have a certain look and feel. Those companies design their brand like that on purpose. If the packaging looks “natural” then consumers assume the product is, in fact, organic, non-GMO, paraben-free, etc. and are willing to pay more for it. This is just one example of how good branding adds value. It’s truly amazing how much worth customers will automatically put into a company with great branding.
5. IMPROVES TEAM MEMBER PRIDE
Employees are proud to work at companies with solid branding. They’ll wear the company shirt in public and aren’t shy about telling people where they work. “Oh yeah, that’s the really neat-looking place off Highway 49!” Team members enjoy their jobs more when the company has at least the appearance of having it together.
6. ESTABLISHES TRUST
Apple does a good job at branding. Their look is consistent throughout time, clean and simple and easily identifiable. Even though it may not be a conscious decision, the average consumer trusts Apple to deliver the latest, most readily-available tech. Apple has developed a name for itself by careful branding over many years and it truly shows. When potential customers see consistency in branding over time, a level of subconscious trust forms.
7. EASILY SUPPORTS ADVERTISING
This point is so important. You want branding that looks nice, but what good is it if it doesn’t draw customers and can’t easily be put on a billboard or tote bag? For instance, the bounds of a good logo should fill at least 1/2 of a perfect square and be able to have variations of horizontal or vertical layouts. If you have a horizontal billboard and you are trying to place a logo on it that is very long vertically, the logo will end up being small and unreadable from the street. Good branding supports advertising. You should easily be able to have your logo on a variety of surfaces and applications and it be readable and recognizable.
It is not enough to be satisfied with a home-made logo and marketing materials you made in Microsoft Publisher at 1AM last Tuesday. You need strong branding that puts a positive, memorable message in the minds of your audience. Spending a little extra money in this area will go a long way in creating years of lasting value in your company.