Your company branding is an important aspect of your business and should not be overlooked. Branding can help you stand out from the competition, build customer loyalty and increase sales. In addition, there are many benefits of having a strong brand identity, such as being memorable, increasing visibility, and gaining new customers.
When you’re establishing a new business, take time to sit and create a strong branding from scratch. On the other hand, if you’re running an established company, re-assess if your branding is still getting those patrons through your door.
In this blog post, we’ll tackle what branding is in detail and how it can benefit your company.
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What is Branding?
Some entrepreneurs neglect the importance of branding and branding strategy. According to a Cambridge definition of branding, branding relates to the “design or symbol” so companies can promote their products or services.
If you ask me, this is a superficial definition of branding. Branding goes beyond the visual identity or aesthetics. Branding revolves around visual assets such as the color palette, attractive product design, product packaging, typography, logos, and other graphic elements.
Branding is identifying, creating, and regulating a brand’s visual elements and distinct actions to embody the anticipated perception within the brand’s target audience and stakeholders.
In layman’s terms, branding relates to how you want your customers to perceive your brand. For example, do you want customers to think you’re a chic brand? Do you want to portray formal branding? Or would you instead show a fun and quirky brand personality to your target market?
While others think that branding only relates to the company’s visuals, this is where they’re mistaken. The key elements of branding may involve the right color palettes, typography, or icons. However, the branding process is an iterative method that impacts the business in the grand scheme of things.
We’ve broken down our definition of branding into four components:
- Branding is a perennial process that companies must do to keep up with the times. Your initial branding may lure more customers from the start. However, the competition and evolving consumer demands can make your branding outdated. This could mean that brands have to do a rebranding to give the business a new zeal.
- Branding involves proper positioning to like-minded individuals. Did you know that 71 percent of users choose brands with similar values? This means proper brand positioning with highlights on the brand’s story, mission, and vision is critical.
- Branding not only entails the creation of a company’s visual assets but also maintaining the assets via various channels. Branding consistency is vital when expanding your client base. That said, your branding strategy must involve maintaining the visual elements across all brand channels to increase brand recognition.
- Branding means upholding your identity in a way that contributes to good reputation. This process involves administering corporate social responsibilities, excellent customer service, compelling marketing materials, user-friendly websites, and more. When you have good reputation amongst your target audience, you’re instilling top-of-mind awareness.
Think about branding this way. Imagine yourself in a grocery store. You see the shelves filled with all different products and their packaging. When a company has killer branding, consumers can immediately identify a brand when put side by side against its competitors. The logo, colors, typography, and overall appeal will all seem familiar to the consumer due to several reasons, such as repetitive exposure to these visual assets or excellent customer service.
Overall, branding permeates within your target audience via visuals and actions. And to achieve a consistent promotion using your brand’s visual collaterals, every company would need a brand style guide.
What is a Brand Style Guide?
Sit down with your entire team and create a brand style guide to ensure branding consistency. A brand style guide or otherwise known to marketers and entrepreneurs as the “brand bible,” is a book with all your brand assets.
These assets contain your logos, colors, typography, imagery, and so much more. Brand style guides are created to help maintain the overall look and feel of the brand. In addition, it acts as a guide to help you, your team, and third-party services refer to it when creating marketing collaterals.
Without a brand style guide, you can go off-track and confuse your target audience with graphic elements that aren’t part of your branding. Therefore, entrepreneurs must know the importance of a brand style guide to communicate with their audience across all channels.
When creating a brand style guide, make sure to consider these factors:
- Mission and vision. Your mission statement should be why you established the company in the first place. On the other hand, your vision should show where your brand is heading short-term or long-term. Also, this may or may not include your slogan.
- Target audience. Determine who your target audience is and jot down why they would likely be interested in your products. This will include your audience’s pain points and solutions on how your product or service can resolve their problems.
- Brand personality. Once you have your branding in place, this will determine your overall brand personality. You want to make sure you show the right brand personality to your audience. That said, think about five adjectives that describe your brand. Moreover, think about five adjectives that don’t describe your brand. This will draw the line between what your brand personality is and isn’t.
- Brand values. Brand values are essential when running a business. Your brand values should be part of your company culture to ensure that your teams stay on brand. Your brand values will cover your decision-making process, principles, advocacies, and actions.
10 Reasons Why Exceptional Branding Matters
Entrepreneurs who overlook branding will never scale. Think about the big brands that started from rags to riches. For example, the brand Apple was created out of Steve Jobs’ garage. The tycoon wanted simplicity, seamlessness, and sophistication for all his products.
To date, most people know of Apple as an elegant brand with a different target market than other Android mobile phone companies. Additionally, anyone in the world can recognize an Apple product from a mile away! This means they did exceptionally well in creating and promoting their branding across teams and channels.
You want to be that brand that everyone recognizes. And that’s why exceptional branding is essential for your business because it makes you memorable. On top of that, here are other reasons why branding matters — A LOT!
1. Promotes recognition
Consumers feel more comfortable when choosing familiar brands that align with their values. When you stay on-brand across all marketing channels, this will reel like-minded prospects who will stick with your brand. Exposing your brand assets to your target audience will instill brand recognition in the long run. According to research, it would take five to seven impressions for consumers to remember a brand.
These days, the thing about online advertising is that you can use Analytics to display your ads to like-minded individuals. On the other hand, you can also find similar audiences who would be willing to try out your service. For example, Facebook or Instagram has a Lookalike Audiences feature that lets you target other users who didn’t even engage with your page whatsoever.
2. Outplays the competition
Here’s a scenario. Imagine having to choose between two people to be your friends. One person has a bubbly personality you can jive with. The other person, however, is seemingly dull, with no distinct personality whatsoever. So which person will you choose to be your wingman?
The same concept applies to branding and how consumers select brands over it. Customers who have the same values and principles will likely choose your brand over others. For instance, when you’re targeting a younger audience demographic, expect a fun and lighthearted branding to be more akin to this type of audience.
Simply put, showcasing appropriate branding to your target market means you’re one step ahead of the competition. With the right brand personality, you can outplay your competitors that have none.
3. Conveys your story
Behind every successful company is an interesting story. Let me tell you Coca-Cola’s story. Did you know that it was first called Pemberton’s French Wine Coca? But that’s not where it gets exciting. Coca-Cola was once filled with cocaine to fend off morphine addiction. A veteran who was dependent on painkillers created Coca-Cola as a way to become free of this addiction.
Interesting stories like this should be part and parcel of your branding and marketing. These are the stories that people live for. Having the right branding will allow you to share your story with your target customers.
4. Provides direction for the whole organization
During the onboarding process, ensure that your branding resonates within your office walls. If you achieve this, it will be easier for you and your staff to know how they should act in the organization. Also, a branding guide will help the entire team to be on the same page with everyone else in terms of goals and objectives.
5. Encourages word of mouth
People tend to remember brands that pique their interest from the beginning naturally. So you want to be that brand that consumers would remember right from the moment they see your advertisements.
Also, telling your brand story lets you connect with audiences in a personal way. This will then lead to consumers telling their friends and network about their favorite brand stories. In addition to that, you can also achieve word of mouth through mentions and backlinks, provided that you position your brand in the best light.
6. Sets the right expectations
A powerful and strong branding sets the right expectations within your target audience. Remember to be honest and transparent when sharing your brand story with consumers. This way, people won’t expect too much or too little from you.
When customers affiliate with your business and get the same excellent user experience every time, this will be ingrained in their minds. As mentioned, providing an excellent user experience is part of branding. A simple mistake such as a bad website user interface will not contribute to great user experience, hence, shooing away customers.
7. Presents your unique selling proposition
Every brand has a unique selling proposition. Therefore, your branding should be designed to present your unique selling proposition in a way that stands out from the crowd of brands competing for shelf space, customer attention, and market share.
Suppose you want your company to rise above other businesses in the same industry. In that case, it’s important to have an eye-catching brand identity design that will capture people’s attention and get them excited about what you do.
For instance, if I were starting a new business retailing organic foods or handmade clothes from around the world, I wouldn’t choose fonts with elaborate curlicues like those used by Victorian booksellers. Why? Because they would clash with my emphasis on healthiness and sustainability. However, I would select something more modern like Helvetica might work well instead.
8. Connects with your customers
An emotional connection is a massive factor in persuading customers to buy your product or service. According to a survey, 62 percent of consumers claimed they felt connected with their chosen brands. Also, 76 percent said they stick with a brand for more than four years because of trust.
Your branding can create brand intimacy, which fosters emotional connections. These emotional connections can make the difference between a customer who wants to purchase or not.
Brand intimacy refers to all the positive emotions a customer feels when exposed to advertisements, product packaging, assets, customer support, and more. There are many ways you can make your branding connect with your customers emotionally. MBLM summarizes these connections in six ways:
- Fulfillment. This is when you satisfy your customers’ needs through your products or services.
- Identity. This reflects the revered values and aspirational image that resonates within your audience.
- Enhancement. When you enhance your customers’ way of life through your wares, this will build trust and loyalty.
- Ritual. This refers to how you make your brand, website, or content connect with your customers on a regular basis.
- Nostalgia. If you make customers remember significant memories through your products or services, this garners a deeper connection.
- Indulgence. This is when you make user experience fun and gratifying.
9. Increases brand value
Strong branding will increase the value of your company. It will solidify what you offer to potential clients, and it will make it easier for them to choose your services over others.
Brand awareness is a measurable return on investment ROI with modern marketing methods. Branding drives higher customer retention rates which translates into greater profitability in an almost linear way. In addition, as a brand becomes more recognizable, its associated revenue rises exponentially.
Three pillars can help build your branding campaign: product quality, service excellence, and effective communications driven by consistency across all touchpoints.
There isn’t one specific secret sauce when it comes to achieving success – there’s no magic wand that offers an instantaneous increase in sales. The most essential thing is that you build your brand’s value over time to see the positive impact it will have on your company.
Brand value doesn’t only pertain to your monetary value. But wouldn’t it be nice to go neck and neck with the five top valuable brands? According to Statista, Apple sits at $263 billion, Amazon at $254, Google at $191, Microsoft at $140, and Samsung at $102.
10. Creates employee and customer advocates
Branding contributes to unity and identity. Moreover, branding has the power to create employee and customer advocates for your company. For instance, if employees are proud of working in your company, they feel a sense of affinity. This can make employees rally around a positive message to people about the organization they’re part of.
On the other hand, branding also builds a loyal herd of customers. For example, brand ambassadors are consumers that have a strong emotional connection with your product or service. It can be because of their experiences in using it, working on it, or feeling part of something larger than themselves as they use it.
Brands become cultural icons through this emotional bond that strengthens a loyal base of advocates. That said, it’s important to understand what makes you unique, so customers feel like they belong and get involved in telling others about them.
7 Best Branding Examples
If you’re still a bit hesitant on where and how to start your branding, take a leaf from these seven companies with stellar branding.
Donning unorthodox imagery and hand-drawn illustrations, Casper is a company you must look up to when it comes to branding. Their brand colors stay consistent on all channels — from their website, landing pages to social media posts and online ads. The brand’s visuals are also slick and straightforward, showing the benefits of how customers use their mattresses.
Skype likes to keep it simple and clean when it comes to user interface. And that’s part of their branding strategy. Being a video and messaging platform, Skype aims to offer a better user experience through simple navigability. Indeed, you can very well see that on the Skype tool itself.
Headspace is a meditation app that offers free and paid sessions. The overall goal of using this app is to eliminate stress in your life, and welcome happiness. And this is displayed through their brand color — a genial, bright orange, coupled with quirky illustrations.
You’ll instantly recognize Spotify’s logo, colors, and overall visual aesthetics. This music app relies on three color codes when using its color palettes across all mediums. However, the brand’s focus leans more towards the album artwork and logo variations.
For the wanderlusts, Airbnb is an excellent companion when looking for accommodations and destinations to explore. And due to this, their branding visuals rely on people-centric imagery, showcasing active lifestyles outdoors. Their pink, bold logo also sticks out like a sore thumb on every channel and marketing material.
The classic red logo is quite recognizable for one of the biggest streaming services online. Netflix not only displays snippets of the movies and shows, but they also dwell on the logo’s simple rules. The brand decided on capitalized typography, with dark themes on their website and all channels.
Patagonia is a sports and apparel brand that centers on sustainability and responsible practices in the apparel and retail business. Their website doesn’t fall short on advocating their love for the environment, nature, and animals as well. Patagonia’s imagery is primarily reliant on nature, and even their website shows where they source the materials from.
Branding is one of the reasons why your company becomes memorable, recognizable, scalable, and versatile. Take time to create a well-thought-out branding that’s based on the company’s principles, values, and people. Then, tell your story to potential customers, and you’d be surprised at how branding will move mountains for your business.
Do you want to know more about branding and how it can catapult your business? Shoot us an email, and we’ll connect with you in a jiffy!