25 Jun What is Branding and Why is it Important for Your Business?
What is Branding and Why is it Important for Your Business?
Typically, when people talk about branding, they refer to the logo or the colour palette of a company. But actually, branding is so much more than that. There’s much confusion about what branding means, and this is a shame because branding is what can differentiate your business from just another company to a brand that everyone remembers.
And this is all the more important now because there is fierce competition out there. You don’t want an invisible brand that gets lost easily in the crowd. You need to aim for the exact opposite. You need to create a brand that is easily recognisable and highly memorable. But how do you do that?
This is where branding comes in. So, let’s go ahead and start with the very basics – what is branding really about? I always like to define branding as the soul of your brand. It’s the aesthetics, yes, but it’s also the feeling your customers get when they experience your brand.
These feelings can range from perceptions to specific shapes and aromas. Think about Starbucks. Part of its branding is their logo and colours, which you immediately associate with that brand. However, if you step inside, you will be struck by the smell of coffee and the beautiful jazz music inside. All those sensory experiences are also part of Starbucks’ branding.
And guess what? Those experiences are also what differentiates Starbucks from other coffee stores around the world so well. So, branding is a huge part of what makes a company memorable. Are you wondering how to create a strong and memorable branding strategy for your company? Keep reading to find out!
Why is branding so important?
We previously defined branding as the soul of your company. So, now let’s do a little exercise. Picture your business without a soul or purpose and answer the following questions:
Do you think it could survive the fierce world of competition out there? What makes you think that your customers would remember or identify your brand from so many others?
Without branding, your business would be a faceless mask in a sea full of big and hungry sharks waiting to devour it. So, let’s do a quick recap – branding is what allows you to gain recognition, awareness, and loyalty from your customers. A good branding strategy is crucial if you are serious about making a name for your business.
Here’s how to make branding work for your business
The first thing you want to concentrate on is your brand identity because it’s what other people will see. But what exactly is brand identity? The brand identity can be thought of as your business’s visual representation, and it must embody your company’s values and its mission.
Ideally, you want these to be crystal clear, so your customers know what your brand is about the moment they see it. Let’s go back to the Starbucks example. Whenever you see that green forest and white colours, don’t you automatically think of Starbucks? Well, that is what we call great branding.
Now imagine if you could do that for your company as well, your brand would be highly memorable for your audience as well as easily recognisable. That is the power of branding. I see that you are interested now. But you are probably wondering where to start. To create your new brand identity, you will need to start with a great logo.
If you have never designed a logo before, bear in mind that logos are not random. They have a meaning, and they should express your company’s values. Next is the brand imagery. This term can be easily confused with the brand image, so let’s clear that up.
“learn the importance of on-point branding to your marketing game.”
Brand image vs brand imagery
Brand imagery is the visual representation of your brand’s core messaging. Remember when we talked about experiences? Smells, shapes, tastes? That is part of your brand imagery too. Everything that your customers experience with your brand is part of its imagery.
Next is the brand’s voice, which is the communicational tone you will use to express your brand’s personality through written messages. Creating a brand’s voice helps breach the barrier between your company and your consumers. You will need to decide the tone of voice you want to adopt – serious, witty, or casual.
Choosing the tone of voice will depend on the type of relationship you want to create with your customers. However, once you decide your tone, you can’t change it. Why can’t you change the tone of voice? Because the brand’s tone of voice helps its customers recognise it and form a meaningful bond with it. So, think it through carefully.
Lastly, there are the brand guidelines. These guidelines help tie your branding together neatly, and they ensure cohesiveness throughout your communication strategy. Typically, the brand guidelines hold all the information about your brand and its identity, and they help your brand come across as a consistent unity when introduced to your consumers.
The brand strategy
We have gone through all the steps to create a strong brand identity. All of the steps above will give your brand consistency and a solid presence online. What’s next? Now we have to focus on its strategy. By now, you are aware of the importance of careful planning in all areas of marketing, and this is no exception.
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You will need to know the when, how, why, what, and who of your communication strategy to pull it off successfully. But how do you plan a brand strategy? Every brand strategy consists of three major pillars – the target audience, the positioning, and the brand story.
So, let’s start with the first pillar – The Target Audience. What is it exactly? Your target audience is the people your brand wants to communicate with. For example, if your brand is selling pacifiers for babies, your target audience would be moms and moms-to-be because they would be the ones buying your product.
There’s a simple exercise to identify your audience, and that is to write down its demographics and basic interests, like so:
- Where Can I Find Them?
- What Motivates Them?
- What Will They Be Getting from My Product or Service?
- What Are Their Concerns?
- What Are Their Fears?
- What Are Their Hopes?
You can add more of these questions, as many as you need to pinpoint your ideal customer. Once you have all the information down, you will have correctly identified your target audience. Bear in mind, though, that you may have more than one group within your target audience. So, when you market your product or service, you will need separate strategies for each group.
Now that you know who your potential customers are, you need to move on to the next step, which is defining the place that your brand will hold in its customers’ minds.
This step is called Brand Positioning, and it’s one of the first things that they teach you in Marketing School.
Brand positioning is vital to any company because it establishes how people will think of your brand when they think about it. You may want your brand to dominate the market in its niche by being the only one offering that product or service, or you may want it to offer additional value to its competitors.
This decision cannot be chosen on a whim. It will depend on the market your company is in, your target audience, and your competitors. So, you will need to do some in-depth research first and then see how your brand can be positioned in its industry.
Let’s now move on to the last step of your Brand Strategy – the brand story.
Your brand story will be the heart of your communicational messaging. From there on, you will establish regular communication with your customers. Keep in mind that your brand’s values and mission must always be visible and present when you interact with your customers and that you should have a mission statement.
If you don’t have one yet, we can go back to the pacifiers example to see what a mission statement would look like. If your company sold pacifiers, its mission statement could be “providing peaceful moments to every baby in the world”.
Always remember the tone of voice you chose for your company and its core values when interacting with your audience. All of this is what makes a solid branding image.
In this article, we have covered a huge marketing topic which is branding. There’s a general confusion about what the term means and why it’s so important to any business, especially online.
We have covered all the steps involved in creating a solid and memorable brand image, as well as its strategy. If you follow all of the info we shared with you, you should now be able to create a brand that has a fighting chance in the online market world. You now know what branding is and why it’s so important. So, if your brand didn’t have a clear branding image or strategy, now it’s time to work on it.
Remember to study the market, your competitors, and your audience first because it will give you clear insight to use later on. When constructing your brand image and strategy, we may be tempted to use the “just do it” mentality and forget about the importance of background study.
Nothing about branding is random. If you don’t understand your industry or what your audience wants, anything you put out there is going to fail. So, learn as much as you possibly can about your industry and ask your potential customers what they want and expect from you. Use that information to your advantage.
However, we know that branding is tough. So, if you are still unsure about how to build your branding strategy yourself, we will be more than happy to help. Just contact edirect, and we will help you create a brand image that is solid and memorable!