You’ve probably heard of major companies like Disney, Facebook, and Amazon. What do all of these companies have in common? The answer is simple: branding. They weren't always big names in the business world. However, each one of these companies has taken calculated steps to build up their brand so people recognize them almost immediately.
If you own a small or medium-sized business, focusing on your brand is as essential to the success and growth of your business as it is to these brand powerhouses. Here’s why.
The Importance of Branding to Your Business
If you're just starting out or having trouble getting noticed, the right branding can help you stand out from your competitors and keep you top-of-mind with your customers and potential customers.
So, how do you get people to notice your business? First, start with the brand consistency. Develop a brand style guide that includes:
- Brand Position
- Brand Voice
- Brand Culture
Be sure to include your Unique Value Proposition, Tagline, and Mission, so everyone on your team is on the same page.
Then consider your website experience. Is your website user-friendly? Is it consistent with your branding? Your message and style need remain consistent to eliminate confusion with your customers.
Create an online experience that provides quick load time, easy access to informative content, and consistent messaging to attract and retain customers. You want them to remember you and not your competitor.
Remember, your branding needs to remain uniform across the board. Whether you're creating a social media page, a new webpage or a sales brochure, your brand style guide must be followed to allow for easy recognition of your brand.
Separates You from Competitors
Regardless of your industry, you always need to consider your competitors and what you can do to set your business apart. With the right branding, this can be achieved.
Take Amazon, for example. This online distribution pioneer has revolutionized the way goods are bought and sold, all because they have one of the most easily recognizable brands. Their logo is easily identifiable, and your expectations of services and products have been set. Also, because of their strong branding other sites that operate like Amazon, such as Overstock and eBay, have taken a back seat these past few years.
If you want to create a strong brand that sets you apart from your competitors, begin with creating an easily recognizable logo. You want it to be distinct and resonate with your target audience right when they see it. Make sure it’s completely different from your competitors as well, even if that means thinking outside the box.
Defines Your Company
Your potential customers are in search of a business to provide a specific product or service. Thanks to the Internet, they will have a ton of options to choose from, and it's your job to make their decision an easy one.
Let your audience know who you are, what you do and what to expect when doing business with your company. Branding goes beyond a catchy phrase or logo. It incorporates much more, including your company’s culture, customer service, and mission statement. When these branding elements align, consumers can better understand your company and feel more confident when doing business with you.
Generates Positive Reviews and Referrals
The key to any successful business is gathering as many customer referrals as possible. Why? Because nowadays, people rely on customer reviews and referrals when selecting who's going to get their business. The better the reviews, the better chance you have of gaining more customers and the stronger your brand will become. Never underestimate the power of word-of-mouth.
If you're having trouble getting online reviews, develop a review campaign. Request reviews from happy customers and direct them to places like Google+, Yelp or Facebook. If you're dealing with some negative reviews, try addressing them professionally online and ask to take it offline to rectify the problem. Talking to unsatisfied customers about their experience can sometimes change a bad opinion to a positive one. Excellent customer service can make or break your business, so make sure it's emphasized in your company culture.
Helps Connect with Customers on a Deeper Level
Most popular brands try to connect with people on a deeper level, tapping into their emotions and creating a lasting impression which often compels action from consumers.
For example, marketing your brand as a revolutionary movement intended to better the world probably will be more effective compared to a brand just promoting a product. That’s because the former method tries to get people connected to something bigger than themselves. The more emotional you can get consumers when thinking about your band, the greater chance you have of turning them into life-long customers.
The entire process of purchasing a product is emotional. Consumers feel like a product will make their lives better in some way. Establishing a strong brand helps you engage in these emotional purchases, making people feel good overall.
Makes it Easy to Introduce New Products
Once you’ve reached a point where your audience is familiar with your company and brand, introducing new products is much easier. You've built trust with your customers, and they know what to expect when doing business with your company. Just make sure the quality and experience remain the same or improves. You don't want to break the trust and reputation you've worked hard to build.
No matter what type of company you have, it won’t be successful unless you have a brand that people know and trust. Creating a strong brand won’t happen overnight, but the more time and energy you put into it, the more successful your company will be and the more customers you can ultimately reach.