Becoming Iconic: The Importance of Branding
Brands permeate our consciousness and influence society in imperceptible ways. Companies spend millions of dollars a year not just to remind you that they exist but to burn their logo and colors into your consciousness. But what exactly is "branding"? What parts of a company become part of the brand? And why bother?
Branding is, at its heart, a connection with a consumer. The goal is to convey to them a simple, direct message about your products or services and what they can do and raise awareness of the great qualities your business can bring to the table. Every part of a brand contributes to that message. This includes the colors chosen for the logo, the tagline, all of your marketing and advertising efforts, and sometimes even the words your employees say when interacting with customers. Every choice that you make can contribute to branding. Take Starbucks, for example: Their branding is inextricably linked with everything inside their locations, down to the music they choose to play and the people they choose to hire. It goes beyond printing and promotional marketing and influences even the tiniest customer-facing decisions made about the business.
Branding has a direct influence on whether or not customers are going to choose to patronize your business. If a consumer doesn't see any difference between your business and your competitor's, then they have no reason to choose anything other than the one that's cheapest. The goal of branding is to make sure that they can see the other differences. Maybe the biggest difference is that your company focuses on the human aspect and has excellent customer service. Or maybe it's as simple as your employees having more experience in the industry. No matter what sets you apart from the competition, expressing it in your branding results in attracting more customers who are interested in your values. In the end, branding is about how you want to be perceived in the market by customers and competitors. It's incredibly important to set yourself apart and make sure that every aspect of your brand, from the colors you use to the advertising you publish, serves that goal.
Of course, building a brand isn't as easy as "just tell customers why you're great." Every time you interact with customers in any way, it should move your brand forward. This means every time you print promotional material, it should remind the customer of the brand and its characteristics. For example, say that you're selling coffee and the brand message you'd like to send is that your coffee is sustainable and environmentally friendly. Your business cards may have printed on the back that they are made with recyclable materials, reinforcing your commitment to sustainability. Your may offer a promotion encouraging people to bring in reusable cups and refill them. You might even donate some of your proceeds to charities in the countries your coffee beans come from. All of these things contribute to your brand and help you build it. It's important to note that if you already have some form of branding and are looking to change it, you should wait until the most opportune time, considering the industry's schedules, when you will get the most attention, and how to cause the least confusion for your customers. If you have two different brands going at the same time, how will people be able to make the connection?
Learn about the basics and the importance of branding and get some tips on how to build a brand by using the following resources:
- What Is Branding?
- Branding Basics for Entrepreneurs: Building Your Message
- What Is Branding? A Tutorial for Nonprofit Organizations
- Influencing Through Design
- The Difference Between B2B and B2C Branding
- The Role of Branding in Nonprofits
- Why Branding Is Important for Both Internal and External Success
- Branding Is More Than Design: How Pursuing Brand Clarity Pays Off
- Why Defining Your Core Brand Values Is More Important Than You Think it Is
- What's So Important About Personal Branding?
- Importance of Building Brand Loyalty
- Why Brands Are Important
- Why Every Project Needs a Brand (and How to Create One)
- Branding in the Age of Social Media
- Branding for Results
- Brands and Branding
- The Do's and Don'ts of Civic Branding
- Branding: The Basics
- The Concise Guide to Successful Business Branding
- Branding Techniques Employers Use
- Eight New Rules of Branding: How to Build an Unbeatable Edge
- Brand Marketing
- The Role of Brand in the Digital Age
- Branding 101: How to Build a Strong Brand in the Digital Age
- Managing Your Brand in the Digital Age