What Does Branding Even Mean?
Branding is one of the most important aspects of any business. It is also a very empowering word that tends to overwhelm people. So, before we dive in to the good stuff, let’s start with something simple. The definition.
a process involved in creating a unique name and image for a product (or service) in the consumers’ mind, mainly through advertising campaigns with a consistent theme. Branding aims to establish a significant differentiated presence in the market that attracts and retains loyal customers.
Phew! I bet simplifying that down to the basics make you feel much better and hopefully less overwhelmed when you start thinking about the process. Even simpler, try thinking of branding as a mental picture of who you as a company represents to consumers who are influenced by the elements, words and creativity that surround it.
Now let’s dive into the good stuff …
Branding is not only about having your target market choose you over everyone else but about your company being seen as the sole provider of a solution to their problem(s), needs and/or wants. Objectively, a good brand will achieve the following:
- Delivers clear and conscience messaging;
- Emotionally connects target prospects with what is being offered;
- Motivates the buyer to buy;
- Creates real and true user loyalty; and
- Confirms credibility.
When it comes to the branding process, there is much to consider. Things such as your logo, the overall look and feel of your design, your company’s strategy, your company’s identity and values, advertising and marketing. Think of defining your brand like a journey. A journey of business self-discovery. At times, it may feel time-consuming, difficult and maybe even a little bit uncomfortable but at the very least, start by answering these questions:
- What is your company’s mission, vision and values?
- What are the benefits of what your company offers (product/service)?
- What qualities do you want your company to be associated with?
- What does your target market think they already know about you as a company?
Next, get on your research. Learn all the needs, wants and habits of those prospective customers. Defining your brand and developing an entire strategy for it can be quite complex but once you have everything narrowed down take next steps on getting the word out. How do you do that you ask?
Here are a few time-tested steps to get you started:
- Get a great logo designed and place it absolutely every where. Uncertain of where to start? Refer back to last week’s blog post “Places to Use Your New Logo”.
- Make a list of your brand messaging. Think about the key messages you want your brand to communicate.
- Develop a tagline. Write a memorable, valuable and concise statement that captures the essence of your brand.
- Integrate your brand into every aspect of your business (e.g. website, email signature, letterhead, how you answer the phone, what you wear and how you present yourself, etc.).
- Create what they call a “voice” that reflect your brand on every level. This “voice” should be applied to all graphics and written communications both online and offline.
- Create brand consistency. Meaning … use the same fonts, colour choices, logo placement and graphic elements with the same look and feel throughout every single piece/project your company presents (even internal only documents). Everything doesn’t need to be gloriously fancy or anything, just consistent.
A successful brand will remain so if you (and your team if you have one) are able to maintain its values in the eyes of your customers. It is therefore critical that any changes you make are sensitive to their existing relationship with your brand and the most profitable companies all have one single thing in common …. They have established themselves as a leader in their industry by building a strong brand.
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