Everyone talks about“branding” even in small businesses. Today we will be looking atthe “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 basicallyone of those big words that marketers and multinationals see as coreto business. But what if you are operating a small business? What ifyou are not a giant company with a huge budget?
In the world of smallbusiness, where every dollar counts and every mistake is felt deeply,immediately and often personally, does branding deserve a place atthe strategy table…and a line item in your budget?. This is thequestion 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, isbranding really that important to small businesses?
Thesimple answer is YES. Branding is important forbusinesses of all sizes reasons because it increases their value,gives employees direction and motivation, and makes acquiring newcustomers easier.
Your “Brand” Defines the ‘You’ in Your Business
Yourbrand is the face, personality and the values espoused by yourbusiness and everything in between. Let’s just say that your brand isthe sum total of your customers’ perceptions, notions andexperience.
Your brand representswho you are, what you believe in and how you want to be perceived byyour audience. That is why branding is so important to anyorganization/business whether small or large.
What Should YourBrand Accomplish?
Branding can assistyou to accomplish the following objectives:
• Deliver a messageclearly and succinctly
• Reaffirm yourcredibility
• Build an emotionalconnect with your audience
• Generate goodwilland loyalty
• Motivate yourpotential audience to buy or take the next step
The beauty about brandis that it’s not restricted to what transpires before a purchase ismade. In fact, it’s got more to do with the kind of experience itdelivers to your audience at various touch points in their journey,especially after a business transaction which can be identified whenanswering the following questions:
• Was the quality ofthe product as good as you had promised?
• Did it serve thepurpose it was supposed to?
• How was theoverall customer service experience?
Now let us discusssome of the importance of branding in details.
Here are some of thereasons why branding is important for your small business:
1. Branding HelpsYou Outdo Competition
In a market that isnow stiflingly competitive, how do you stand out from thousands ofsimilar companies that claim to be as good as you, if not better? Theneed of the hour is to realize that you’re no longer competing at alocal level. With the advancements in online and offlinetechnologies, the entire world is your marketplace, literally.
The proposition thatyour organization can and should cater to a universal audienceclearly implies that your growth potential is only limited by yourown imagination. However, the one downside to that is that you needto outdo that much more competition, potentially on a global level.
By establishing yourbrand and its credibility, you give your customers a valid reason toconsider you before turning elsewhere. Research also tells us thatpeople prefer to associate with organizations with a credible,reputed brand than those that don’t.
2.Branding Creates Trust
When a companypresents themselves in a professional way, and when there is socialproof that their products and service are quality, prospects willtrust that company and feel more comfortable giving it theirhard-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 shouldnot be the be-all-end-all of your branding efforts, you should stillput the time and effort into coming up with aprofessionally-designed, memorable logo. Not only should your logo bememorable, it should give the desired impression of your company sowhen people see it, they instantly think and feel what youwant them to think and feel.
Let’s face it. Mostpeople just don’t have the time or interest in figuring out whythey should care about your brand even after you create a website.Thus, the onus is on you to ensure that the brand answers that allimportant question on your behalf.
For example, how canyou tell your mates about the stunning golfing gear that you’vefound incredibly helpful if you cannot even remember the brand? Everyorganization needs to have a credible face and very often, brandingbecomes the face that engages their potential audience, delights themat every touch point of their journey and eventually earns theirtrust 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 successpartners, 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 hireemployees, but only a strong brand can hire motivated employees thatare inspired to carry your vision and mission forward. When yourbrand feels pride, your employees do as well. Having a strong brandis essential for employee morale and productivity.
6.Branding Generates New Revenue
Branding is one of thebest ways to get referral or word-of-mouth business. And again, thisis why it’s important that your logo, marketing, and reputationwork cohesively to form an indelible impression on consumer minds.Think about it, you can’t tell your friend about the amazing golfclubs you just bought if you can’t remember the brand.
Your brand must alignitself with your customers’ needs and wants. When starting anybranding campaign, always have your customer in mind.
7.Your Brand Illustrates Your Value
You’ve got to createa direct and simple message of WHY your brand should matter to yourcustomer. Most consumers don’t have the time or inclination tofigure this out on your behalf. Your brand must create a story thatanswers the question, “why you?”
8.Harnesses the Power of Emotions
When you give yourcustomers a good enough reason to feel strongly about why they shouldcare about your business (which can only happen if you convince themabout what it can do for them), they have a better reason to make thetransition from fence sitters to active participants in other words,get one step closer towards making a purchase decision. This is animportant point because, as mountains of research tell us, it isemotions and not logic that drives the purchase decisions of mostbuyers.
No matter what sizethey are, the most successful businesses are the ones that haveestablished themselves as a leader in their industry by creating astrong brand. And, when these businesses focus on building valuablecustomer experiences, they easily transform customers into brandambassadors.
9. Brands SignifyYour Intent
Branding reflects abold proclamation that your business makes. It tells your audiencethat you mean business (literally!) and are here to keep all thepromises 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.