A good brand is so much more than just a memorable logo – it increases the visibility of a business and makes acquiring new businesses and keeping existing customers easier.
So what exactly is a brand? – in short, everything.
It’s the personality and character of a business. It comes out of a company’s website and marketing collateral, their advertising, and PR. It also has its roots in customer service and ultimately reputation. And of course it’s the company logo, and much more.
A trusted brand has the power to grow.
Trust is at the centre of successful branding. A trusted brand is one that people will want to engage with. It will reassure people that investing time and money with that brand will be well spent. So this attracts new business enquiries with a promise that the company will deliver its product or service in a professional way. It’s equally important for a growing business looking to secure funding to convince lenders that it is solid and dependable. A company’s brand is it’s promise. It creates an expectation. It’s then up to the people within that business to deliver on that promise.
Consistency is the key.
It’s not just about defining the personality of a business. A good brand scheme is 1 well defined to communicate the offering of the business and equally important 2 consistently rolled out across all items. So every item from brochures to stationery to invoices to emails all feel like they come from the same business. When marketing and communications are inconsistent the message to the customers is negative – it says we’re not clear about what we are doing/not organised/not professional. So brand management (or ‘policing’) really is important. It sometimes seems pedantic that designers insist that the same colours are used on printed items, website and digital outputs but its all part of getting a consistent brand message across. A clear set of brand guidelines summarises this and acts as a technical tool.
Branding supports marketing – the importance of avoiding ‘me too’.
A good marketing and communications strategy will clearly identify the strength and USPs of any business, it’s target markets, it’s competitors, niche opportunities. That, in turn, will help to define key messages and the shape of any business. The best brands are clear in their branding, clear about what they are offering, what they are called and clearly differentiate themselves from their competition. Think supermarkets – you know which brands are budget, which offer good value, which are high end, and which are prestige. You won’t walk into a supermarket mistaking it for another. Their branding is clear from the first communication you receive to the point you set foot in the store.
Branding is not only important for customers.
Branding is also part of the employee experience. It gives employees a sense of belonging and clearly sets out the direction, the goals, the style of the business. It should inspire employees to present a good face for the business when they interact with customers and suppliers. It may seem old fashioned but a brand acts like a flag for employees to rally around. That’s why employee-facing comms should also be properly branded – so everyone feels good about being on board and understands the journey the business is on.
Isn’t branding only important for big businesses?
Definitely not. For small businesses, it’s equally important. Small businesses don’t have the benefit of extensive media exposure so they may only have one opportunity to make a ‘good’ impression. Competition can be fierce in the small business sector, so creating stand out and turning stand out into leads is really important. Small and medium-sized business can benefit indirectly from the complex but well engineered brand scheme of big names. If your business feels like it’s as well organised then it will come across as professional and good to work with. In short, whatever size your business, don’t undersell your business, think big, brand smart and don’t over promise and you will reap the benefits of a good brand scheme.