In the infancy of the term, branding was defined as the name, sign, slogan, design, symbol or combination of these elements, which distinguish a business, product or service from another. Flash forward to today, and branding has evolved into a practice which is more complex and perhaps even more critical for your business’s marketing efforts.
In this article, we’ll take a quick glance as to why branding is imperative in marketing your business in today’s competitive world.
What should brands do?
Branding is not as simple as solely getting your target market to opt for your offering as opposed to your competition’s. It is also about getting your potential clients to see you as the individual provider of a solution to their problem or need. At its core, the practice of branding is positioning your business to be the go-to solution provider in your industry.
A business with good branding delivers the following:
A clear message.
Confirmation of its credibility within the marketplace.
Emotional connections to target prospects via a product or service.
Motivation to the buyer to make purchases.
Understanding your customer and branding.
To succeed in your branding tactics, you have to understand the needs and wants of your customers and prospects. It is a science which is achieved by integrating your brand strategies through every facet of your business at every touchpoint with the public. Take a moment to think of branding as if your company or business were a living, breathing person. Imagine that said person is explaining who they are, why they’re valuable and what they are offering. As your consumers begin to identify with you, your brand will start living in the hearts and minds of existing and potential clients, as well as connect with them on an emotional level.
Why branding is essential is summed up in three fundamental questions.
Your brand is essentially the source of a promise to your target customer. If you’re calling yourself the leading manufacturer of energy-saving lighting solutions, your brand needs to live up to this statement. It’s of vital importance to spend sufficient time researching, tweaking, defining and fostering your brand.
When developing a strategic marketing plan for your business, your brand serves as the guide or blueprint in understanding the purpose of your key business objectives. Furthermore, it also helps in aligning your plan with your objectives. It’s wise to note that branding doesn’t only count during the time before a prospect makes a purchase; effective brand experiences have to last to generate customer loyalty. Customer loyalty is developed over time and can be created by addressing three simple questions:
Did your product or service perform as expected?
Was the quality as good as promised, or better?
Was the entire customer experience positive?
If you’re able to get positive answers to these three questions, you’ve successfully created a loyal customer.
Going beyond the loyal customer.
Branding does not only create loyal customers, but it can also result in loyal employees. A brand of a high-calibre quality gives individuals something to believe in, something to advocate for. It will help your employees understand the core purpose of the business they work for, as they’ll feel as if they’re a part of something valuable and significant and not just a gear in your machine.
Evaluating your brand with a basic checklist.
How does a business owner go about evaluating whether their brand is strong enough to give them the internal and external value they need? We recommend starting by asking yourself the following:
Is your brand relatable with your target audience? Are they able to instantly “get it” without too much thought?
Does your brand share the uniqueness of your offering and why it’s important?
Does your brand reflect the promise made to your target audience as well as hold value for your internal audience?
Does your brand reflect the values which you strive to represent to your customers?
Effective brand communication is one of the most important and critical aspects of marketing your business - this includes new customer acquisition and customer retention. Using the questions outlined in this piece will serve as a map for the active development of your business’s brand and image.