No matter how big or small your business is, your brand is an integral part of your company. While some business owners and entrepreneurs don’t believe in the importance of branding, many marketing experts will argue that it is one of the elements that make up a successful business venture. But what exactly is branding and why is it important?
In an article on Entrepreneur.com, John Williams defined brand as “your promise to your customers.” According to him, it tells your customers “what they can expect from your products and services, and it differentiates your offering from your competitors. Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be, and who people perceive you to be.”
In other words, your brand is much more than your company’s logo, which is just a visual representation of your business. It encompasses a lot of things. To put it simply, your brand is very important because it gives your business an identity.
Define your brand
The first step towards establishing your brand is to identify the core value of your business. According to Williams, when defining your brand, you should be able to answer these questions:
- What is your company’s mission?
- What are the benefits and features of your products and services?
- What do your customers and prospects already think of your company?
- What qualities do you want them to associate with your company?
To answer these questions, a great deal of research should be carried out. Also, a series of discussions among the leaders of your organisation – not just your marketing team – about what your company stands for is also required. While Williams acknowledges the fact that defining your brand takes a lot of time and effort, it can make significant contributions to how you present your business to the world and how you want people to perceive it.
Get the word out
Once you have defined your brand, there are many ways for you to spread the word about it. For starters, you can come up with a unique logo that you should place in all instances of your brand communication, not just on your products. Williams also suggested developing a memorable tagline that “captures the essence” of your brand, as well as creating branding guidelines for the company and its marketing materials, which are an important way to ensure your team follow a certain approach to communicating externally.
Integrate your brand
As mentioned earlier, your brand is more than just a visual representation of your business. Therefore, you should integrate your brand in all aspects of your organisation. From the way you answer customer enquiries, your staff’s uniform, your email’s signature, to how you deal with people, your brand should reflect everything your business stands for and what you promise your customers.
Consistency is key
As with everything in life, consistency is vital in developing and maintaining a solid corporate brand. Natalie McCatty of Search Engine Journal wrote that businesses that cannot make up their mind about their identity usually find it hard to establish a strong brand that consumers can easily recognise.
Citing McDonald’s as an example, McCatty said the fast food giant has a strong and highly recognisable brand because everything they do is branded. McDonald’s is consistent with everything, from their social media strategies to their offline marketing tactics. For the last 50 years, McDonald’s has been using the golden arches logo to represent itself and everything it stands for. As a result, it is fairly easy for everyone to associate the golden arches with inexpensive food and quick meals, among other things.