First of all, what is branding? Branding could be defined as the personality of a company. It expresses values held by your company, and in building a strong brand image, customers will be able to easily identify themselves with your brand image, easy short answer to why branding matters! Branding is what makes a customer feel the message you are expressing though your product or service, reassuring them that the purchase is “their kind of product” or “just what they were looking for.”
When a company develops a branding strategy, customers not only feel good about products and service, but they feel good about your business as whole. This is how you build loyalty and trust with your customers, and like all good relationships, they grow over time. Branding doesn’t happen over-night.
A brand image goes deeper and further than just a trademark, logo, or slogan. While those are important parts of a brand image, and without them your branding strategy will likely fail, your brand is the full and complete scope of many components. The perception your customer has about your company, and its products and services, is the end result after experiencing these branding strategy components in action:
If you don’t have a clear plan for each of these components, you may want to re-evaluate your branding strategy. Many small business owners fail to accept that each and every one of these factors have a significant effect on the way their business is viewed. If you find yourself lacking in these areas, don’t panic either. Slowly begin building upon the branding you already have.
Branding is an art, and it is a science. How is branding a science, you say? Well, branding works because of the way human cognitive thought scientifically works. People naturally want to identify with beliefs and values. Often times, the human mind will turn a quick judgment or impression into a strong and long-lasting belief. People want to naturally hold on to the things they believe unbendingly. In every product or service, lies an association of belief or value. At the most basic level, a positive feeling is what the customer wants the most. Do your values show clearly? Do they speak to the customers you wish to attract?
Branding doesn’t happen over-night, but it something that is developed over time. Marketing and branding go hand-in-hand. With marketing plans and strategies you can also build your brand image. From you sales promotions to your advertising campaigns, you are building upon why branding matters. It is in all the little things that you do over time in the life of your company that builds brand. So what are some good steps to take in building your brand image?
To have a successful branding strategy, carefully manage and measure the branding that happens. That might sound a little overwhelming at first, especially if you are a small company, but it is easy to do if you break things down into internal and external branding, thinking of why branding matters primarily. External branding refers to the elements of your strategy that your consumers experience. This could be packaging, signs, logos, commercials, etc. On the contrary, internal branding refers to the elements of your strategy that are aimed at your employees and staff. Yes—it goes that deep! There are many ways in which your company staff can project your brand image, from the way a salesman interacts to the way a secretary answers phone calls. You can even find brand image projecting when a customer walks past an employee, say, texting on their cell phone. The thing to remember about branding strategies: every little thing counts.
So you think you’ve got a handle on your branding strategy, but you want to make sure, because you know why branding matters. There are ways you can measure the effectiveness of your branding strategy. Use focus groups to measure internal branding. This gives you a chance to correct misguided branding and instill confidence and direction into your staff. Surveys and reviews are great ways to measure external branding. Better than all of those, is the proper use of Social Media and your website. Don’t just let your online presence become stagnant, nor does it have to just be an online business card. Social Media offers you the chance to become directly involved with your client-base, and also with your staff.
Directly interacting on Twitter and Facebook will allow you to have a firm control of the way customers perceive you and your company. You can ask questions, make polls, and survey your customers. There is no comparison to the personal level Social Media brings you to, allowing you to easily influence your customers’ (and prospective customers!) perception. Ask yourself: 1) What are customers associating with my company? 2) Is your brand reaching your target audience? 3) How can it be more effective? There is always room for improvement!
I’m here to offer you informative advice and consultative services that will help your company grow. If you do need more in-depth consultation about what branding strategies would be the most beneficial to you, or how to start implementing a change in branding strategy, don’t hesitate to contact us and talk with one of our team members about what solutions we have for you.