Back in the day, branding meant a clever name, memorable logo and punchy colour palette. Throw in some pretty fonts… sweet, we’re good to go.
Today, brands are much more than this. Branding is the whole entire experience you give your customer. And it includes absolutely everything. How they feel when they flick through your socials – inspired, tranquil, revitalised? How your staff talk on the phone – are they chatty, reserved, personable? If your customer is lying in bed at night and thinking about the service you offer, are they thinking about you, and if so WHAT are they thinking when they think of you? Intimate yes, but these are the questions worth considering. Everything and anything that helps a customer or supplier (or anyone) form an impression of your business is your ‘brand’.
1. A good brand…. creates reputation and recognition
A strong, consistent visual identity is extremely important and will help establish your business. A distinctive, well-designed logo, an attractive colour palette and a collection of graphic elements that are both memorable and recognisable will form part of your visual toolkit. Your brand should be used across your website, social media profiles, physical location, basically wherever you are visually present.
Cohesive and consistent branding makes you recognisable. Recognition brings familiarity, and people like to feel familiar with a brand, making them feel at ease choosing your products or services.
2. A good brand… generates new customers
If people have had a good experience with your company, they’re usually pretty keen to share this with others. People feel comfortable sharing their choices because they’re confident you’ll have a good experience too. This is where branding makes it easier for you to win referral business – you need to be easily identified and stand out from competitors. Word of mouth can soon become a very effective (and cheap!) advertising method. Win win.
3. A good brand… allows customers to know what to expect
When people choose your brand, they should have a good idea of what they’re signing up for. It could be that they appreciate the personal touches, or being able to sleep at night knowing their job will get done no matter what. Expectation doesn’t mean boring either, perhaps your brand is known for constantly innovating and exploring new avenues and technology. Other brands may stick to a tried and tested method that works, and that’s exactly what makes their brand what it is and why their customers are loyally returning.
Customers look for assurance and comfort in their choices. That’s why it’s so it’s important to stay on-brand.
4. A good brand… inspires its employees
A brand who knows its identity will have a clear purpose, vision, mission and values. Employees that understand your brand and it’s over-arching goal will know how to carry themselves, how to communicate, how to meet business goals and simply, how to be. They will understand the overall goal and what you stand for. This adds huge value to your business. Your employees will have integrity. They will do their work with meaning and value which will inspire them to work to achieve that goal. They will feel part of something significant and not just another cog in the wheel.
5. A good brand… builds trust and loyalty
When we interact with a strong brand we want it to feel familiar and authentic. Imagine you’re meeting someone who is confident in themselves – they know what they like, think and what they believe in. They are self-assured and reliable, meaning you can trust what they have to say. However. Picture meeting someone completely the opposite, maybe they change their stance depending on who they speak to, or don’t stand by their beliefs. They’re a little bit shady and you can’t exactly count on them. You’d probably have less confidence in them and wouldn’t trust them as much, right?
Strong brands know you they are and therefor you know you they are. A weak brand with an inconsistent, topsy turvy approach will leave the customer feeling unsure, questioning and more guarded.
6. A good brand… gives your business value
Your brand value is much more than the services you provide or the equipment you own. A professional image and branding adds immense value to your business – it’s your perceived value. Your brand is a perception in the consumer’s mind if they place a lot of value on your brand then your brand is effectively worth tenfold.
7. A good brand… has a strong, knowing identity
Without a clear brand strategy in place, it’s easy to aimlessly wander from idea to idea. A good brand is a big, shining guiding light. When making decisions you can see if they align with your greater brand values. Ventures can be measured to see if they are worthwhile and match your goals.
We humans make millions of decisions for ourselves everyday. Each one of these decisions creates our personal profile, who we are and what we’re about. The same logic applies to branding – what would our brand think, do, see and be if it was a person. For us to do this with integrity and meaning, we have to know our brand and what it stands for. Otherwise it doesn’t mean much at all.
Crafting a brand strategy is crucial to building an authentic entity that is here for the long-haul. A strong brand understands why it exists and the role it plays in your customer’s lives. It’s known, and recognised and it’s employees know what the brand stands for too. It should permeate every aspect of your company and will bring reliability and deep connectivity with your customers. It’s an important investment which shouldn’t be overlooked – dedicate the time at the start and you’ll be thanking yourself later.