Building a brand is more important for small businesses than it has ever been before. Why, you may ask? It is important for small businesses to build a brand because it creates trust, improves recognition, supports all marketing efforts, motivates employees, and generates new revenue. You see, products have life cycles and as technology grows and our lives change, products must change too. It is thus safe to say that brands outlive products.
Once established, a brand builds incredible value for your company. This happens because people don’t have relationships with products, they have relationships with people. A successful brand works to convey a message of who your company is and what your customers can expect every time they seek out your product or service. This value is what keeps customers coming back to you every time.
Unsure if the brand you have created is enough? Keep in mind that every aspect of your business speaks to your brand. Answer these questions honestly to get a better idea if you are on the right track.
When customers look at your website, blog, pamphlet, etc., what do they see? How does your business stand out? Have you left a lasting impression on your customers? Will they remember your organization based on your brand alone?
What is branding?
Let’s start with the basics. When you Google the term branding you will instantly be faced with an overabundance of definitions. At M3Growth, our belief is that out of all the available definitions, Entrepreneur.com said it best. Entrepreneur.com defines branding as the marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products.
This definition might catch you off guard, just as it does for many of our new clients. You see, organizations often come to us with the assumption that a brand strictly describes one’s logo, website or business card. While it is true that a brand does speak to the logo, website and business card; a brand goes far beyond the identity found in those items.
Branding encompasses everything from the messages you put out to the tone you use in your posts. You see, the tone you use in your messages allow the audience to gage who your business is, and thus determines how they feel about you. Your brand could easily be considered your way to emotionally connect with your customers, and it is important to seize the moment and do just that.
When a brand is created correctly, it has the potential to increase the value of your company, guide employees with motivation and direction to excel in their positions, and it leads new customers directly to your door.
Branding sounds as though it’s worth the time investment when defined in that manor, don’t you agree?
Why is having a brand identity important?
I’m glad you asked! A brand identity is important because it increases brand awareness. Your brand identity is what makes you recognizable to customers and helps translate a positive image in the process. This identity is how you portray your business to customers and is the foundation of building a captivating and desirable brand. Your brand identity is the face of your company and creates a trust and expectation one grows to expect when coming to you for a product or service. It includes your business name, logo design, colors and graphic shapes and the consistent tone of voice that you utilize throughout all of your advertisements.
It is also important to understand that your brand identity helps you to stand apart from the competition, as it distinguishes you from your competitors. Simply put, a brand identity is the total of impressions a customer has with your organization and relays the quality and consistency one can expect when they turn to you for a product or service.
The strongest brand identities are the ones that are instantly recognizable, such as Starbucks, Nike, and Apple. Now, let me stop you before you continue down the mental path in which you are most likely falling. We understand that you may not be a large-scale organization like Apple, but what your brand identity will represent to your customer base is a quality that customers will want to pay a premium for. It all boils down to if you look better than your competitors in your customers mind, you will be better.
We assure you; a strong brand identity makes it easier to shape your business in a recognizable manor that will lead to larger organizations taking you seriously, and word-of-mouth referrals. Both of these items will help push your business to grow and thrive.
Your brand starts from within.
A brand is designed to guide people to your business, but it should also guide your employees within your business as well. Afterall, your brand encompasses WHO YOU ARE AS AN ORGANIZATION and thus HOW YOU WANT IT TO BE LED.
Your companies brand sets the tone for all employees and provides them with the knowledge and desire necessary to work for your company. It offers a sense of pride for your employees and provides them with the satisfaction in knowing that they work for an incredible organization. This is important because many employees need more than just work, they desire something to work towards. When the mission of your business runs through the veins of each and every employee you have, you will have an incredible team of individuals who want to strive to meet the goals you have for your company. You will also have a group of dedicated individuals who will consistently advocate for your organization just as you do.
Elements to build a powerful brand.
A companies brand describes the complete story of what it hopes to communicate to others. With that said, the elements we focus on with our clients to develop an effective branding strategy are as follows:
In my opinion, purpose is the most critical element of your brand. These are questions that need to be answered honestly and help pave the way for a successful business and thus brand. Your companies response is crucial because it thoroughly communicates your why, and shouldn’t just detail what you intend to sell.
Answer these questions honestly and with compassion. Your responses should provoke emotion within you.
What is your companies’ mission? Why is your business necessary? How will you be set apart from the competition? Does your business hope to improve others quality of life?
Identity is an overall term that we use to describe a series of elements within itself. What I mean by that is your identity refers to items such as the name of your organization, your logo, the tagline or slogan you choose, your color scheme, the overall image you want to display, the shape of your product or images that reflect your businesses, your graphics and the typography you choose.
These items make up an important piece of your brands overall story and are the foundation for how your customers should and will remember you.
Brands are not just described by how they look; they are described by how they sound. Emotion is difficult, yet critical to get across to your potential customers. Your personality is the character that represents your organization and showcasing that through advertising and social platforms allows you to fully bring your brand to life. Let’s face it. People want to do business with people they like. If you are able to effectively express your personality for all to see, you will gain business.
A brands promise goes hand-in-hand with its ability to maintain a consistent front for their customers. Consistency is essential for building a strong brand as it shows your businesses’ dependability. The mindset is that if you present your organization by consistently being in the forefront of ones daily advertising interactions, you will be able to provide a dependable product. That might sound silly, but that is the psychology behind growing your brand.
Branding is important because it shows who you are, what you stand for, and how you feel as a company. It is a true representation of your business and how you want to be perceived in the process. It is important to remember that every decision your business makes should reflect your brand it what it hopes to accomplish in the long run. So, this begs me to ask… is your brand really working for your organization? If you are looking for help with your brand, give M3Growth a call. Our branding professionals are standing by and ready to help you get to the heart of your organization and create a message that communicates that to the right people.