Branding my Brand – Why is it Essential?
Updated: Jan 31, 2018
BRANDING THAT IDEA:
Key success behind an idea in this new generation, you don’t have one, you won’t be able to sell it?
It has long amazed me how a person in entertainment who has no singing, dancing, acting talent, can sell out stadiums. It is no longer about a great attribute or idea, it is as much, if not more, about how you brand yourself and more so, your idea. “People buy People”, so how do you put you, into your brand. It’s simple really……
Branding: Me + Idea = Great Brand.
Branding is one of the most important aspects of any business, large or small, retail or B2B. An effective brand strategy gives you a major edge in increasingly competitive markets. But what exactly does "branding" mean? How does it affect a small business like yours?
Simply put, your brand is your promise to your customer. It tells them what they can expect from your products and services, and it differentiates your offering from your competitors'. Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be.
A brand, simply put, is your product/service as plainly put as possible. Define this process exactly, make it catchy, make it full of impact and you will attract attention without even having anything in place. So what do you need to do this?
WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY BRAND & BRANDING?:
The Brand Promise – what is your promise to your customers. What will they get when they put their hands in their pocket.
The Brand Perceptions - Brands are built by consumers, not companies. Ultimately, it’s the way consumers perceive a brand that defines it
The Brand Expectations - Based on your brand promise, consumers develop expectations for your brand. When they pull their hard-earned money out of their pockets and purchase your products or services, they assume their expectations for your brand will be met
The Brand Persona - Rather than asking, “What is a brand?” a better question might be, “Who is a brand?” Every brand has a persona. Think of your brand as a person. What is that person like? What can you expect when you interact with that person? From appearance to personality and everything in between, your brand persona is one that consumers will evaluate and judge before they do business with you.
The Brand Elements - Your brand is represented by the intangible elements described above as well as tangible elements such as your brand logo, messaging, packaging, and so on. All of these elements must work together to consistently communicate your brand promise, shape brand perceptions, meet brand expectations, and define your brand persona. If one element is awry, your entire brand can suffer.
Now the difficult part, how do you do the branding and what is it. This is the implementation process of your brand. Make sure everything you have stated come out and true in your branding. This means an amazing graphic designer that will be able to visually represent your brand.
HOW HAS THE WEB CHANGED OUR APPROACH:
You'll not be amazed to hear there is an app for that, in fact there are hundreds of apps for that. It is amazing the amount of tools companies are using these days to help them with their customer base. This is purely just following what customers do and what their patterns are. One message that is clear, make sure your message is clear. The last thing people want to see is “Apple, we are the worlds greatest phone brand” then turn to another source reading “Apple, we are the worlds greatest Property Management”, although they are so big they could probably get away with saying anything. But seriously, don’t get complacent.
Branding is not marketing, but marketing can not even begin, until you have created and developed a SOLID brand concept. DO NOT START MARKETING, if you haven’t got this in place. It is your job then to pass all the details to the marketing team, so they can relay and assign appropriate messaging to the larger market.
Branding is also essential to your sales activities, we will discuss this at a later date.
Refer to the world of entertainment if you want to know how important branding is.
HOW BRANDING CAN HELP YOUR BUSINESS:
Everyone has heard of Viral marketing campaign. The biggest brands in the world are not behind the most successful ones, Gangnam Style is one of the most successful proof.
How do you create this? Innovative, creative, unique idea, delivered through the web…..but there is no science, it’s marketing, there is not such thing as an expert, it’s all about trial and error. Throw as much as you can to the board and see what sticks. The real secret is behind your ability to analyse the data that you collate, to the finer details that just impressions, CTR, conversions. Once you have learnt this, you will have the power of Rain Man, you will look at a campaign see it as clearly as Neo in Matrix World!
Getting a retweet, like or smiley face, will not help drive sales, how you react to this is what will.
Everyone in branding and marketing is a sales person, whether they like to think it’s part of their role or not. I don’t care what they say, their role is to generate traction, presence, interest for the brand. Combined they have to make sure the message is so clear, that the sales people don’t have to work so hard. The sales role is to simply provide the best solution to what the potential client is looking for. That is if branding and marketing has been successfully implemented and conveyed. The amount of clients I deal with and even existing businesses out there, that don’t convey in simple, layman's terms, what the hell they do, is amazing.
HOW TO COMMUNICATE, MANAGE AND DEVELOP YOUR BRAND IDENTITY:
It’s pointless investing time or money in developing your brand without first ascertaining what will resonate with your audience, and to understand your customer’s habits, wants and needs it is essential to talk to them.
You can tick all the obvious brand-building boxes – market research, developing a brand identity, brand and logo design, and full integration of your brand story across all communication channels – but if you fail to convey the right messages to the right people effectively, those efforts will be wasted.
Embracing failure might not be the first thing that springs to mind when it comes to branding tips, but it’s a critical part of the brand-building process, you have to learn valuable lessons from a brand personality that failed. The best stage to fail is at start up, fail when you are established and you lose more than your pride.
If there’s one brand-building mistake to avoid, it’s thinking like a small business. Yes you are one, but if you present yourself as one, people are less likely to believe in what you are offering, remember, we all like to have security in what ever decisions we make, especially when buying. Be it a product or service, make sure you show professional outfit. Don’t mistake this as being “Hello World, I am a Computer”, your personality still needs to come out, but convey relevant things. Posting pictures or videos of a drunken night out, is just not going to work!
Many small businesses make the mistake of confusing their brand with their logo, but it’s vital to differentiate between the two. A brand is about much more than a logo, it is the public personification of your company, conveying everything you believe and hold dear about what you do, he says. But ultimately what you do is no different from your competitors so why you do it has to be front and centre in branding because, people buy a product but they join a cause. Airbnb has done this spectacularly well, its brand has never been about finding accommodation; what their customers are actually buying into is belonging and finding community.
THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN DESIGN AND BRANDING:
I get approached a lot about wanting to help with branding. The first thing I always ask is “what have you done so far”. If someone replies back with, nothing, I am in branding phase, I tell them to go away and think about the basics of what your idea is. I do pass on some helpful hints. Anyone who goes and hires a branding consultant as conception stage, you have wasted the money and that consultant, 9/10 will have just made money out of you for nothing.
A brand consultant should only be helpful and used when you have gone through your testing phase. This means you have identified some areas of improvement and you just need someone to run through. Unless you have amazing amounts of money, why would you go to a branding expert? They will ask you to do everything I’ve told you and charge for it. They will not be able to bring your brand to life, because they will be missing one key element, “YOU” what personality do you have, that will be going into that brand. Only you can add this part, it’s like a secret ingredient in a recipe.
Build a perfect relationship between Designer, Brander and Marketer. Why? Because these people have to b synced to one another in order for them to all come together to produce the best piece of music in an orchestra. One of them is off key or doesn’t work in harmony with another, then it goes from a Pavarotti to wailing cat singing live. Why is Brander in the middle? Because they are the composer, they relay their message to the designer, designer creates the visual image, they take it back to the marketer to display with words to the world.
THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING BRANDING:
We have now entered the world of “I can’t be bothered to read that”. Whether it is because we have less time free or that we all have ADHD. Just like children who see pretty colours, we are attracted to what appeals to us quickest.
1. Branding Improves Recognition
One of major components of your brand is your logo. Think of how we instantly recognize the golden arches of McDonalds. As the “face” of a company, logo design is critical because that simple graphic will be on every piece of correspondence and advertising. A professional logo design is simple enough to be memorable, but powerful enough to give the desired impression of your company.
2. Branding Creates Trust
A professional appearance builds credibility and trust. People are more likely to purchase from a business that appears polished and legitimate. Emotional reactions are hardwired into our brains, and those reactions are very real influencers.
3. Branding Supports Advertising
Advertising is another component of your brand. Both the medium chosen and demographic targeted for advertisements builds a brand. Too narrow an advertising focus, and a company risks being “pigeon holed” and losing their ability to expand into new markets. Too broad a focus, and the company fails to create a definable impression of the company in the minds of would be customers.
4. Branding Builds Financial Value
Companies who publicly trade on a stock exchange are valued at many times the actual hard assets of the company. Much of this value is due to the branding of the company. A strong brand usually guarantees future business. Whether a company is in the position to borrow funds for expansion or rolling out to an IPO, being perceived as more valuable will make the process advantageous for the owner of the company. The greater a company’s devotion to build its brand value, the better the financial return from its efforts.
5. Branding Inspires Employees
Many employees need more than just work, they need something to work toward. When employees understand your mission and reason for being, they are more likely to feel that same pride and work in the same direction to achieve the goals you have set. Having a strong brand is like turning the company logo into a flag the rest of the company can rally around.
6. Branding Generates New Customers
Branding enables your company to get referral business. Would it be possible for you to tell a friend about the new shoes you love if you couldn’t remember the brand? A large reason ‘brand’ is the word used for this concept is that the goal is an indelible impression. As the most profitable advertising source, word of mouth referrals are only possible in a situation where your company has delivered a memorable experience with your customer.
The most profitable companies, small and large, have a single thing in common. They have established themselves as a leader in their particular industry by building a strong brand.