Everyone talks about “branding” even in small businesses. Today we will be looking at the “Meaning of Branding and its Importance to your Business”.
First we need to understand what the word branding means before going into its importance and how it can be important to your business.
What is Branding:
Branding is basically one of those big words that marketers and multinationals see as core to business. But what if you are operating a small business? What if you are not a giant company with a huge budget?
In the world of small business, where every dollar counts and every mistake is felt deeply, immediately and often personally, does branding deserve a place at the strategy table…and a line item in your budget?. This is the question we are going to be addressing today.
When it comes to small businesses, many of them make the mistake of overlooking branding efforts because they think of themselves as a business and not a brand. They believe that brands are the big fish in the pond with huge budgets and national recognition. Therefore you will discover that a lot of small businesses cannot do little more than to come up with a fun logo and some flashy business cards.
Now we ask, is branding really that important to small businesses?
The simple answer is YES. Branding is important for businesses of all sizes reasons because it increases their value, gives employees direction and motivation, and makes acquiring new customers easier.
Your “Brand” Defines the ‘You’ in Your Business
Your brand is the face, personality and the values espoused by your business and everything in between. Let’s just say that your brand is the sum total of your customers’ perceptions, notions and experience.
Your brand represents who you are, what you believe in and how you want to be perceived by your audience. That is why branding is so important to any organization/business whether small or large.
What Should Your Brand Accomplish?
Branding can assist you to accomplish the following objectives:
• Deliver a message clearly and succinctly
• Reaffirm your credibility
• Build an emotional connect with your audience
• Generate goodwill and loyalty
• Motivate your potential audience to buy or take the next step
The beauty about brand is that it’s not restricted to what transpires before a purchase is made. In fact, it’s got more to do with the kind of experience it delivers to your audience at various touch points in their journey, especially after a business transaction which can be identified when answering the following questions:
• Was the quality of the product as good as you had promised?
• Did it serve the purpose it was supposed to?
• How was the overall customer service experience?
Now let us discuss some of the importance of branding in details.
Here are some of the reasons why branding is important for your small business:
1. Branding Helps You Outdo Competition
In a market that is now stiflingly competitive, how do you stand out from thousands of similar companies that claim to be as good as you, if not better? The need of the hour is to realize that you’re no longer competing at a local level. With the advancements in online and offline technologies, the entire world is your marketplace, literally.
The proposition that your organization can and should cater to a universal audience clearly implies that your growth potential is only limited by your own imagination. However, the one downside to that is that you need to outdo that much more competition, potentially on a global level.
By establishing your brand and its credibility, you give your customers a valid reason to consider you before turning elsewhere. Research also tells us that people prefer to associate with organizations with a credible, reputed brand than those that don’t.
2. Branding Creates Trust
When a company presents themselves in a professional way, and when there is social proof that their products and service are quality, prospects will trust that company and feel more comfortable giving it their hard-earned money.
As your audience gets to know your business better, they will start trusting you more. However, in order to develop that elusive trust factor, you must shout out loud as to why they should try you out. Here, building a brand helps determine how your first few customers perceive the quality of your services.
Read also: Connection between marketing and sales
3. Branding Improves Recognition
While your logo should not be the be-all-end-all of your branding efforts, you should still put the time and effort into coming up with a professionally-designed, memorable logo. Not only should your logo be memorable, it should give the desired impression of your company so when people see it, they instantly think and feel what you want them to think and feel.
Let’s face it. Most people just don’t have the time or interest in figuring out why they should care about your brand even after you create a website. Thus, the onus is on you to ensure that the brand answers that all important question on your behalf.
For example, how can you tell your mates about the stunning golfing gear that you’ve found incredibly helpful if you cannot even remember the brand? Every organization needs to have a credible face and very often, branding becomes the face that engages their potential audience, delights them at every touch point of their journey and eventually earns their trust in that order.
Building brand identity is arguably one of the most effective ways of spreading the good news about your business. Equally, it is paramount that your marketing efforts, logo design, social media communication and reputation are congruent with each other to create a resounding impression on your audience.
As that happens, you’re more likely to convince your audience to become your success partners, opening up new and sustainable revenue outlets.
4. Branding Supports Your Marketing Efforts
Marketing is an important component of your brand. The mediums and channels chosen as well as the demographic targeted helps to build your brand. Be careful of too narrow of a marketing focus, or you’ll risk being “pigeon holed” and lose your ability to expand into new markets.
Then again, too broad of a marketing focus could lead to an inability to create a definable impression of your company in consumers’ minds.
5. Branding Motivates Employees
Anyone can hire employees, but only a strong brand can hire motivated employees that are inspired to carry your vision and mission forward. When your brand feels pride, your employees do as well. Having a strong brand is essential for employee morale and productivity.
6. Branding Generates New Revenue
Branding is one of the best ways to get referral or word-of-mouth business. And again, this is why it’s important that your logo, marketing, and reputation work cohesively to form an indelible impression on consumer minds. Think about it, you can’t tell your friend about the amazing golf clubs you just bought if you can’t remember the brand.
Your brand must align itself with your customers’ needs and wants. When starting any branding campaign, always have your customer in mind.
7. Your Brand Illustrates Your Value
You’ve got to create a direct and simple message of WHY your brand should matter to your customer. Most consumers don’t have the time or inclination to figure this out on your behalf. Your brand must create a story that answers the question, “why you?”
8. Harnesses the Power of Emotions
When you give your customers a good enough reason to feel strongly about why they should care about your business (which can only happen if you convince them about what it can do for them), they have a better reason to make the transition from fence sitters to active participants in other words, get one step closer towards making a purchase decision. This is an important point because, as mountains of research tell us, it is emotions and not logic that drives the purchase decisions of most buyers.
No matter what size they are, the most successful businesses are the ones that have established themselves as a leader in their industry by creating a strong brand. And, when these businesses focus on building valuable customer experiences, they easily transform customers into brand ambassadors.
9. Brands Signify Your Intent
Branding reflects a bold proclamation that your business makes. It tells your audience that you mean business (literally!) and are here to keep all the promises made by your company.
Everything that your organization exemplifies should be easily recognizable throughout the brand. Else, your customers will be quick to notice the gap between what was promised and what was actually delivered on the ground.
Needless to say, this gap can be catastrophic not just for your brand awareness, but also for your overall well-ebbing of your business. What this also means is that if you’re unwilling to back your intent with appropriate action, you might as well not intersperse it in your brand.