What is branding and how do I do it?
In the business world you probably hear the word ‘branding’ thrown around all the time. Everyone seems a bit obsessed with the whole notion of branding, but when asked straight up “what is branding?”, you’d be amazed at how many people struggle to come up with a basic, concise answer.
The dictionary definition of branding is -
But what exactly does branding actually mean, and how does it affect you and your business?
Simply put your brand is your promise to your customers. It tells them what they can expect from your products and services, and it differentiates you from your competitors. Your brand is who you are as company, who you want to be as company and who people perceive you to be as company.Your brand strategy is how, what, where, when and to whom, you plan on communicating and delivering on your brand messages to.
It is not simply your company logo, or where you choose to advertise – it is everything about your business. From the people you choose to employ, to the way you sign off your emails, you brand should run from the top to the bottom of your company.
But what is it that makes branding ‘good’ branding?
The key to making branding work is consistency! Consistent, strategic branding leads to a strong and trusted brand. You need to set about defining your brand, which won’t happen over night! It can be time-consuming and pretty difficult. Start with asking yourself these questions –
- What is your company's mission? Write yourself a concise mission statement.
- What are your core values?
- What is important to you as a business?
- What are the unique benefits and features of your products or services?
- What do you want people to think of when they think of your company?
- What qualities do you want them to associate with your company?
Spend time getting to know your target audience. What kind of people are they? What is important to them? What will make them like and trust your brand? What will make them choose you? All of these things will help you decide on who you actually want to be.
Once you know these things, the basic things you need to do to initiate your brand strategy are –
- Get a great logo. Like a really great, clever, relevant and recognisable logo. And put it everywhere!
- Get everyone on board. Let every employee aware of what your brand attributes are and what you want to communicate to your audience.
- Leave nothing out when it comes to developing your voice. This is so important for building trust and loyalty. This voice should be applied to all written communication and incorporated in the visual imagery of all materials, online and off. It’s really no use having a casual, witty social media guy making your customers smile on twitter, if when they call your company they speak to someone formal and serious over the phone. It just doesn’t work! It confuses the customer, and when people are confused by you they will not trust you. Decide on your voice and use the same voice consistently, be it on social media, in your company blog, or even in your email sign off – consistency is key.
- Last but certainly not least, be true to your brand! Customers won't return to you- or recommend you to someone else- if you don't deliver on your brand promise. Focus on what you do best and run with it.
In reality, branding is actually one of the most important aspects of any business – be it big or small, retail or B2B. An effective brand strategy can give you a major edge in increasingly competitive markets.
If you want help with your branding we can help set up a suitable brand strategy for you and your business. Give us a call to chat about what we can do for you, (you won’t find someone serious and formal, don’t worry!) As always I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic so please drop me a tweet at @isd_eimile.