What branding is, benefits of branding and key steps to branding your business (or yourself).
WHAT IS BRANDING?
Branding, as a whole, is essential for any serious business because a company’s brand is what distinguishes it from its competitors. Most businesses must have an online presence to stay competitive in today’s computer age. An effective internet branding, just like its offline counterpart, helps bring awareness to your unique business offering and drive customer demand.
While Internet branding offers huge business opportunities, one needs to attract and engage its customers for it to be effective. This isn’t easy on the internet. Branding is not as easy as putting up a website and adding your company logo and slogan. Your internet branding strategy should make your online brand noticeable and apparent. Remember that there are thousands of others doing the same business as you online. You need something to lock down your customers and make them remember you. Make them trust you enough to invest in you.
Note that I said invest in you and not throw their money at you, because people do not throw money, people spend money for several reasons. Still, the underlying factor is that they must always get something in return for the money they are spending – Value. The value they are getting could be knowledge, profits, satisfaction etc. Let this school of thought influence your branding decisions. Branding involves utilising available tools to create an online presence for your business.
Important elements to bring your online brand to life include graphics and animation, website design, social media pages, etc. An attractive website that helps customers easily and quickly find the information they need is the key to getting customer interaction and eventually, business and income. You need a well-designed and functional website to make an impressive and long-lasting impression on your visitors (hopefully customers).
A strong online image will make the difference between a customer who buys from you online or switches to your competitors. Their decision depends on the impression they get from your brand. Branding seeks to convey an immediate unique message about your business to your target clients.
BENEFITS OF BRANDING
Your business needs to create a positive image in the minds of consumers. Contrary to what most people believe, branding isn’t just a logo. Your business’s purpose, focus, and image all combine to create your brand. Why should you make this effort? Below are a few benefits:
- Make customers remember you: It’s hard to remember a company with a generic name and no outstanding feature. It is usually hard to distinguish their purpose and business focus. And why would you contact a business if you couldn’t tell what they did? Branding your business ensures consumers will know what you’re about.
- You gain customer loyalty: The fact is, people build close bonds with brand identities. Consumers want quality products they can trust. So, your business should have an identity that your customers can cling to. People will remember you if your company delivers great products and services and has a great brand identity. In addition, they will often refer you to friends and family.
- You become well known: You want the people who have not done business with you to still know who you are and what you do. If they see your ads on the internet, hear them on the radio, see them on television, or any other media, they will know your brand identity. And when the time comes that they need your product or service, your company will be the first to come to mind.
- Consumers pay for image: We are a very brand aware society. People commonly associate brand names with quality and may only buy from certain brands. If people only want one brand of a particular product, they are willing to pay a higher price. Having a great brand will make your company have a superior image and cause consumers to forget about the competition.
- Branding is what gives your company value and separates you from your competitors.
- Enhanced perceived value allows for top pricing and shelters you from price competition.
- Branding will provide protection in times of negative press.
- A strong brand enables you to launch new products and services more quickly and cost-effectively.
- The branding process allows you to take control of your identity and influence the perception others will have about you and the services you offer.
- A brand allows you to establish yourself as an expert and become a celebrity in your area of specialty: Gain name and recognition in your area of expertise where it counts the most – in your customer’s mind. Make a lasting impression and be super-rewarded for your individuality.
KEY THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND ABOUT BRANDING
Here are four things you should keep in mind as you build your company’s brand:
- Own the “Significant Thing”: Don’t try to be all things to all people. Spend your time focusing on passing a clear message. Apple successfully communicates the “luxury brand” image because it’s been focused on that message for decades.
- Consistency is key: consistent presentation will ensure that your customers recognize you. Be consistent in the use of logos, taglines, visual elements, tone, and ad copy. Coca-Cola is one of the most recognized brands in the world because they haven’t changed in decades. Make sure your brochures, website, Direct mail, and all the other advertising have the same feel and message.
- Make your message relevant: know your audience, know what they care about and how to speak to them. Make sure what you sell is what they need. Remember the conversation should always be about your audience, not you.
- Use a strong offer to motivate: you want your audience to remember you and most importantly to buy from you. You need to make them take action. A strong offer should give them a reason to buy. Make the offer clear and appropriate for your brand.
- Your brand will become better with more effort. Branding and managing a brand is tough work. You need to put in the work. Take any action you can towards building your brand, even if it seems minute, “just do it”.
- Research the successful competitors. Study their communications and how they position themselves.
- Study what values are most significant to customers. Develop a questionnaire and interview key customers and prospects.
- Develop a strategy from the information you gathered. It must be achievable and differentiating.
- Leverage brand strategy by integrating marketing communications. Check for consistency of all communications from every department. Sending a cohesive message will build brand equity.
- Evaluate and measure performance. Make changes as needed but be patient. Remember, you need to be consistent.
These are key tips to help you build your brand and become a recognizable name in the business world. We will be providing more tips and resources that can help your business grow.
The-One media can help you solidify your online presence by designing a befitting and functional website for your business that will help you capture leads, hearts, and pockets.