Branding is vital for your business. In fact, your brand is one of your most valuable assets.
And it’s not just important for the big players, like Coca Cola, Starbucks and Apple. We small businesses need a strong brand just as much as they do. Sometimes even more so.
But what is your brand?
Most people think their logo is their brand. They use the two words interchangeably.
Your brand is so much more than that though.
Put simply your brand is how people perceive your business. So when you put across a good impression, you’ll attract customers.
Sure, your logo is part of that. But it’s also using a consistent set of colours and fonts, and using a consistent tone of voice and message. It’s behaving in a consistent manner in your marketing, sales and customer service.
Do you see a pattern here?
Being consistent helps you to build a strong brand. Because it manages people’s expectations about buying from you. Browsers become buyers when they’re comfortable and confident that you’re the right business for them.
And it lets them become loyal fans, eager to refer your business to all their friends.
Let’s take a closer look at how a strong brand helps your business.
It builds recognition
A strong brand is a recognisable brand.
While some purchases are pure impulse buys, people tend to buy from companies they’re already familiar with. It often takes several ‘touches’ with your business for people to decide to buy – these touches can include seeing one of your social media posts, reading a blog post, meeting you at a networking event, or having your business recommended to them. If your branding is consistent, they’ll recognise you as the business behind that helpful post they read.
I’ve often handed over business cards at networking events and had people recognise the ‘fi’ icon and the teal green from my logo because they’ve already seen me on Twitter or Facebook.
And the next time they need a designer, they’ll remember me and be more likely to get in touch than if they were just searching for designers on Google.
It lets you stand out from the competition
There are so many businesses out there, and if you’re in a saturated market you really need something to set you apart from the competition.
People need a reason to buy from you rather than any of the other companies out there. And if your branding properly reflects the quality of your products or services, that’s a big help.
A well-designed brand understands and speaks to your target market. It tells prospective customers you’re not just another generic business; it tells them they’ve come to the right place.
Think of superheroes. There are hundreds, if not thousands of them and a lot of them wear red and blue. So far, so generic. But each one has their own special skillset. And their own branding.
You see the cape and the big ‘S’ on his chest, and there’s no doubt that he’s Superman; it’s not Spiderman or Captain America, or just some random dude wearing his underpants on top of his trousers. You know it’s Superman because of his branding.
Your brand should be your very own cape and big ‘S’. It should let you stand out from all the other guys in red and blue suits.
It builds trust
Your branding helps you build credibility and trust with potential customers.
A strong, consistent brand looks far more professional than one that’s thrown together. It shows that your business is legitimate, that your products and services are worth spending money on and that you’ll take good care of your customers.
On the other hand, an inconsistent brand can make your business and your products seem cheap and untrustworthy. It makes you seem more like a takeaway coffee cup rather than a fine bone china teacup. Which one would you rather be?
It builds loyalty
It’s true that repeat business is easier to get than new customers. And branding plays a big role in turning normal customers into loyal fans, because when people have a great experience with your business, they’ll come back for more.
It’s why you’re more likely to visit the coffee shop with good coffee and great service than the one with great coffee and terrible service.
And it’s why Apple have devotees who’ll queue up for the latest devices and who wouldn’t ever dream of buying a Windows computer or Android phone.
And the best bit? These loyal customers you’re creating are also eager to spread the word. They’re only too happy to tell their friends, colleagues and social media followers how awesome you are.
It manages expectations
Have you ever walked into a shop then straight out again because the interior and products aren’t at all what you were expecting when you went in?
Good branding stops that from happening. It makes sure that the inside matches the outside, so people know what they’re getting.
Think of your brand as though it’s a shop window display. If the window display looks like Prada, but inside it’s more like Primark, people aren’t going to get it. If your target market shops in Prada then they’ll be expecting a certain ambience and style inside. They’ll be disappointed if it isn’t there. And if your target market shops in Primark, they’ll take one look at the Prada-esque exterior and assume it’s not what they’re looking for. They won’t even venture inside.
Your branding should help the right people find your products and let people know what to expect from your business, each and every time they visit.
Put your cape on
Now that you know why your business needs a really kick-ass brand, it’s time to put your cape on and slap a big ‘S’ on your chest so people know just how super your business is.
And if you need a bit of help branding your business, that’s where I come in. I love helping small businesses create awesome branding to attract more customers. Get in touch for a chat about how we can let your superpowers show.
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