Branding is the secret weapon, the often-unsung hero of most companies.
But what makes it so important and, more importantly, how does it affect the bottom line?
Consistent, strong, and well-articulated branding helps consumers identify and relate to your services and organization
A brand is more than just a company name, a logo design, or a catchy tagline – it is everything that makes up your organization and helps to set you apart from everyone doing what you’re doing. For example, branding can be actualized with:
- The visual presence of the brand (logo, website, colors, and imagery are just some examples).
- Advertising and communications (the brand “voice” – consistent messaging helps the world to learn who you are and what you’re about)
- Collateral, document, and form design (this could even include clinical forms with your name on them)
- On-site experience (how does the customer feel and what do they see when they are in your space?)
- Sponsorship and partnerships (join with others who share your values)
Think of a brand like a person. Every person has their own personality: how they present themselves, their communication style, their values, the friends they keep, their quirks, and the stories they tell about themselves. This is what makes up who we are, and these same aspects of a personality make up a company’s brand.
Branding makes you stand-out from the competition
Consumers don’t have relationships with things or even with services; their commitment is to their perception of the brand, which is what relays the value of the item or service. As an example, if we applied no branding to bottled water, consumers would just buy water and for that matter, any water. It wouldn’t matter which because they would all look the same.
Branding can influence why someone will choose your service over your competitor. With proper, well managed, and a fully articulated, defined brand “voice”, branding can give the consumer a clear reason to choose your company over the competition. And it’s not just because your company is different; it’s because the consumer can relate to you and feel a sense of loyalty to your brand. The promises you’ve made to them though branding have resonated with them and they choose you.
Branding connects with the consumer emotionally
Branding helps you create trust and loyalty with your target market so these consumers come back when they need your product or service again. Hard-coding your values into your brand will help to create an emotional connection with people and influence how your brand makes them feel.
For example, you buy Apple because it makes you feel a certain way. They have a voice and you perceive their brand personality in a way that Apple has influenced. Their brand’s consistent personality creates in the consumer a feeling of “knowing” them. As an example, you can be watching a tv ad and before you’ve even seen the Apple logo, you know you’re watching an Apple ad.
Branding helps your consumers know why they’re choosing you
Brands provide consumers with reasons to choose their products or services. A company that communicates a clear brand promise and consistently delivers on this promise over time will build an army of loyal consumers who are often your best “salesmen.” Happy customers who know why they chose you are often motivated to share their experience with others because they want their friends to enjoy the same great experience.
Strong brands are a comfortable place to land in a consumers’ purchase decision process. Why struggle with the product research process when I’ve already become a part of a brand’s family. A consistent positive brand experience puts the customer at ease. They know exactly what to expect each time they engage with the brand.
Branding is the best recruitment strategy
Branding is used to attract talent to your company and retain your top existing employees. It helps your potential employees understand why they should work for you and may have already garnered a sense of loyalty before they’ve even become an employee.
Google is a great example of a company using branding to influence recruitment. They make all their employee perks (nap pods, free meals, international careers, free-thinking sessions) known to everyone and this not only bolsters recruitment efforts, but it plays a big role in their overall marketing perception and reputation. Google’s recruitment tagline is, “Do cool things that matter.” Who wouldn’t want to work for them?
Branding helps you build trust with various stakeholders
Branding helps companies shape their reputation and attract a variety of stakeholders: customers, employees, investors, business partners, providers, opinion leaders, purchasers, and licensees. These other stakeholders want to work with you because of your brand strength in the marketplace. There is power and influence in a strong brand. A well-defined and consistent brand acquires and builds equity which can be used to influence business deals. Said simply, a brand’s strength in the marketplace has actual intrinsic value.
Branding is more than a graphic design on a brochure, a logo, or clever tagline; it’s about these things and much more. Customer experience, brand promises, company philosophy, and culture are all things that define the personality of a company. Every person is unique and different; the same is true of companies. These differences set us apart. How a company’s unique personality is portrayed to the world is branding, and good branding is what makes leaders in an industry.
A brand strategy that is integrated into the overall business strategy of a company is a strategy for growth and success.