Many businesses make the mistake of thinking of themselves solely as a business, and not a brand. But branding isn’t just for the “big guys” or retail companies. Your brand is the core essence of your business, and has a huge impact on how consumers view your company, no matter your business size or industry.
Cultivating a business brand requires that you define who you are as a company, and align this vision with the way you present your business to the public (and your internal team, too). Knowing who you are as a company, defining your personality, and being consistent with your image is a crucial part of branding.
We’ve put together our top 10 reasons why branding is a must for any business, and why without it, your business’s identity and reputation can fall flat:
Think of the business brand as a personality: a voice, a visual appearance, and character. A brand is the perception that your audience has when they interact with or think about your business. It’s a concept or an idea that is supported by many intentional decisions. Together, all of your branding assets should tell a story about who you are as a business. When a customer sees your business represented in-person or online, your overall brand should convey a lifestyle, a set of beliefs, and the values of your company.
Your logo should give a great first impression, and your brand should support lasting recognition. From the way your team answers the phone, to the packaging of your materials, to the language in your social media posts, your brand affirms what the public believes about your business, and gives them something instantly recognizable and memorable. Familiarity increases the odds of someone purchasing from you again - get inside your market’s comfort zone by being consistent and unambiguous across the board.
Your brand is the guiding compass for everything you do within your company. When you have a set mission, a style guide and clear expectations about your brand, your team and customers will know what to assume about your business. Eliminate the time it takes to consider if your business is a good fit - show your audience through your brand exactly what they can expect from you.
Customers are more likely to frequent a business that they know and trust, and a consistent, cohesive brand gives them the tools to do just that. A well-developed, cohesive brand with a strong visual identity will show and tell them what to expect from your business. You can also offer social proof that your company’s services or products are what they claim to be, and help people feel at ease purchasing from you.
A strong brand will attract influencers (people who will spread positive word-of-mouth reviews) by giving them something tangible and relatable to help spread the word. It’s much easier for someone to talk about your company if they have a solid grasp on its strengths, abilities and identity. Your brand creates trust for your business, and your customers want to feel credible when they recommend you, too.
A brand identity incorporates all visual aspects produced for the company: logo, fonts, photos, content, and anything else your company produces as an asset for the brand. By creating a Style Guide based on your brand objectives and goals, you’ll build a consistent presence that’s recognizable and trustworthy. Define your brand’s font, colors, voice, and terminology, and then stick to the guide whenever developing new marketing content.
A strong brand creates a greater sense of value, purpose and pride within the workplace. Your staff may become your own best business evangelists when they feel motivated and inspired by your company’s unique message. Develop internal programs that align with your mission, and use your brand to give staff direction on everyday decisions.
Your business brand helps you stand out in an original way. Whoever you are in your market (the least expensive, the highest-quality, the most knowledgeable), show your unique qualities through your branding efforts. Don’t be just another business in your crowded marketplace - stand out from the group!
Consistency is key. Your brand establishes a baseline for expectations both inside and outside your company. The more your customers know what to expect from you time and time again, the more likely they are to purchase your product or services when needed.
Your brand promise ideally creates an emotional experience when customers interact with your business. Give them a feeling they can’t get from any of your competitors, whether it’s perhaps confidence, assurance, excitement, or relief. Help your audience connect with your business on a personal level, and you’ll strengthen the relationship between purchaser and brand.
Ideally, your business brand gives your customers and internal team something tangible to relate to. Be relentless in delivering on your brand expectations, and grow the attachment your audience has with your business. The stronger that attachment, the more likely they are to return to you (instead of your competition) time and time again.
Harvest Media specializes in building business brands and we would love to talk with you about yours!
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Sarah is Director of Marketing at Harvest Media. She loves working with business owners and key decision makers who have a vision for the future and want to take their marketing strategy and business growth to the next level.