I have been on and about branding yourself and your business but what do we understand by that word, what is branding? How does it affect sales and marketing?
Branding, is a marketing practice in which a company creates a name, symbol or design that is easily identifiable as belonging to the company.
It is the process of creating a strong, positive perception of a company, its products or services in the customer’s mind by combining elements as logo, design, mission statement, and a consistent theme throughout all marketing communications.
Smart business branding is critical today to stand out from the competition, it helps companies differentiate themselves from their competitors and build a loyal customer base.
Success with branding in marketing and sales comes down to excelling in all three of those areas:
- Standing out from the competitors
- Targeting the right audience
- Communicating your story consistently
Why is Branding Important?
A unique brand can have a huge impact on your bottom line by giving you a competitive advantage over your rivals and helping you acquire and retain customers at a much lower cost. In e-commerce, where new companies (and therefore, new competitors) are springing up every day, an established brand can be an invaluable asset in bringing customers and generating profit.
By carefully constructing your brand through stories, relationships, marketing messages and visual assets, you have the opportunity of shaping your customers’ expectations and creating a unique bond that goes beyond the buying-selling relationship.
Good branding is strategic, while marketing is tactical. When you establish the higher objectives and clearly define your brand promise, you can start crafting a marketing plan that’s geared towards achieving those goals.
Branding is absolutely critical to a business because of the overall impact it makes on your company. It can change how people perceive your brand, it can drive new business and increase brand awareness.
Branding Gets Recognition The most important reason branding for branding a business is because it is how a company get its recognition and becomes known to the consumers. The logo is the most important element of branding, especially where this factor is concerned, as it is essentially the face of the company. This is why a professional logo design should be powerful and easily memorable, making an impression on a person at first glance.
Printed promotional products are a way of getting this across.
Increases Business Value Branding is important when trying to generate future business, and a strongly established brand can increase a business’ value by giving the company more leverage in the industry. This makes it a more appealing investment opportunity because of its firmly established place in the marketplace.
Generates New Customers A good brand will have no trouble drumming up referral business. Strong branding generally means there is a positive impression of the company amongst consumers, and they are likely to do business with you because of the familiarity and assumed dependability of using a name they can trust. Once a brand has been well-established, word of mouth will be the company’s best and most effective advertising technique.
Creates Trust within The Marketplace A professional appearance and well-strategized branding will help the company build trust with consumers, potential clients and customers. People are more likely to do business with a company that has a polished and professional portrayal. Being properly branded gives the impression of being industry experts and makes the public feel as though they can trust your company, the products and services it offers and the way it handles its business.
Branding Supports Advertising Advertising is another component to branding, and advertising strategies will directly reflect the brand and its desired portrayal.
So how do you go about building a brand?
- Understand your customers. You have to identify the elements that influence your target customers and focus on leveraging them. What do they like? What motivates and attracts them? What do they like about your brand?
- Define your brand persona. A brand persona is the personality of your business in which you will deliver customer experiences. It will be strongly influenced by the insights you manage to gather about your target customers. What tone of voice will suit this audience? What type of language will have the greatest effect? What images will attract their attention.
- Brand promise. What is the ultimate promise you’re making to your customers? How will your products/services make their life better? How are you going to deliver this promise?
- Perfect your visual assets. A brand’s visual assets are all the front facing elements, such as the website design, fonts and typography, color palette, logo and ad designs as well as the packaging and unboxing experience you create. It’s a powerful branding tool that reaches its peak when all the different moving parts are consistent and work harmoniously. A memorable signature color will increase the chance of customers recognizing your brand by 80%.
- Refine customer experience. Although you have little control over how your customers will ultimately feel about your brand, you should do your best to make sure every interaction and touch point you have with your customers is aligned with your brand promise and follows your brand guidelines.
- Remember to give back. Something as simple as saying thank you to your loyal customers can go a long way in strengthening your brand image. Show gratitude by running special loyalty programs or promotions, offering occasional free gifts or extending discounts. It’s a surefire way to build long-term relationships with your customers and humanize your brand.
When coming up with branding strategies for your branding business plan, keep it simple. Business branding isn’t rocket science, but it does require creativity and strategic thinking.
Sometimes, you will hit that magic spot with your customers, other times, you will have to work at it to find the right brand voice.
Let’s take a quick look at a few types of branding that businesses and individuals can leverage on.
- Product Branding: This is the most common and easiest type of branding. Product branding is a symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products. Product branding is very easily noticeable when you walk through a supermarket filled with different products as most products are branded with a unique color, design and logo.
- Personal Branding: This type of branding is very common among politicians, athletes and celebrities. Personal branding makes it possible for famous people to reflect a good image of themselves to the public. Politicians, for instance, use personal branding to create a good impression and convince voters that they are right for an office.
- Corporate Branding: This type of branding is used by businesses interested in creating and maintaining a good reputation. It cuts across an organization’s services, products, employees, corporate culture as well as corporate social responsibility. Every activity carried out by an organization has a positive or negative effect on its reputation.
- Geographical Branding: This type of branding is used for specific services and products that are peculiar to a particular region which is commonly used in the tourism industry. Various countries and regions try to brand things that make them different from other areas. Landscape, cuisine, tourist centers within a popular region are usually advertised and eventually become associated with the region.
- Retail Branding: this is mostly used by industry giants to increase the interest of consumers and make product sales outpace the competition. A lot of money is spent to develop unique brand images that convince consumers to select their brand instead of others. Retail branding however requires a lot of planning. The right strategy needs to be adopted to ensure its success.
- Co-Branding: This type of branding associates the brands of two or more companies with a specific product or service. It can also be described as marketing partnership between two or more brands such that the success of one brand rubs off on the other. Co-branding is effective in building business, increasing awareness and breaking into new markets