So what is branding? And why is it so important for your business?
A common misconception is that branding is simply a logo or slogan. Although these elements are a key part of it, it does, however, go far beyond this. Branding involves every aspect of a customer’s experience, from your logo to your website, your social media posts, staff uniforms and advertising; it even encompasses the way in which you answer the phone to how you interact with customers.
In short, branding is the way in which your customer perceives you when they hear or think of your company name, service or product. This includes everything they think they know about your brand, including factual information, such as your bright yellow packaging, but also emotive elements, like for example that it’s luxurious.
So why is branding so important? Take a look at our top 5 reasons why you should take your time developing your brand…
‣ Branding promotes recognition
Effective branding can promote recognition for your business. If your brand is consistent and easy to recognise, it can help people feel more at east purchasing from you. People adhere to familiarity and if you’re remembered as a quality provider, then you will encourage repeat business as they are more likely to choose your product or service again.
‣ Your brand sets you apart from the competition
In a highly competitive global market, it is crucial to stand out from the crowd. Remember that you are no longer competing on a local stage, you’re now competing in the global economy- Your brand will therefore help you stand out from the thousands or millions of similar organisations around the world.
‣ Strong branding generates referrals
A strong brand can create referrals or viral traffic because people love to tell others about the brands they like. People eat, listen and wear brands, and they’re constantly telling others about the ones they love. In fact, 84% of consumers have said that they ‘always or sometimes’ take action based on personal recommendations.1
Imagine falling in love with a brand but when you go to recommend it to a friend, you can’t remember it- this is why strong branding is so important; you can’t tell someone about a brand you can’t remember.
‣ Branding sets expectations
A strong, consistent brand will allow the customer to know exactly what to expect each time they encounter your business. A professional appearance will build creditability and trust, which bodes well as people are more likely to purchase from a business that appears legitimate.
Your brand represents your promise to the customer- like an unspoken contract so to speak.
‣ A strong brand adds value
A strong and successful brand will add value to your business, well beyond physical assets.
Consider companies such as Apple, Facebook and Coca-Cola; they are worth much more than their premises, equipment and/or products. It has been their brand that’s increased the company’s value, far exceeding their physical value. In 2014, the Coca-Cola brand name alone was worth $67million; accounting for more than 54% of the company’s stock market value.
In today's world, branding is more important than ever. But a good brand won’t manifest overnight- it’s a result of a meticulous planning, development and growth, which is why many start-ups and small businesses neglect it without realising the impact it has.
Good branding not only increases the value of a company, but it provides employees with direction and motivation, and makes acquiring new customers easier.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published in March 2015 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.