New business owners have a lot on their minds and naturally wonder if investing in branding is necessary. If you ask me branding is one of the most important elements that a new business should focus on.
The term branding encompasses many different elements that tie together under the umbrella term of their “brand”. These are company colours, logos, fonts and a general persona. Branding is about who you are as a company and marketing is how you show that off to the public. Each of these elements are necessary and help to tie your business together in a distinct way!
Branding is a necessity for any business. No matter how big or small your business is,
branding increases your value and customers and also gives employees direction and motivation. Without a brand, your business essentially doesn’t have an identity.
Your brand is not just for your business, it is also a tool for the customer. It helps create a positive customer experience. Your logo is usually how your customers recognize you on the various social media platforms, signs, employee uniforms,etc. This is why a consistent brand message is necessary, without which your business appears scattered, unprofessional and irrelevant.
Unfortunately, many people neglect all this because they assume creating a brand can be difficult. They spend time on their work but not on the brand identity they want to showcase. It’s only when you think about the top brands in the world that you realise how important it is!
A brand is needed for a variety of reasons;
- Creates trust
Branding creates a professional appearance which establishes
credibility because it proves you offer quality products and services. This
gives customers more reason to trust and feel comfortable dealing with you.
- Improves recognition
A well-designed logo is not only memorable, but also creates the
desired impression of your company to people. In short, it should help people think, feel and recognize whatever you want them to feel and think.
- Helps with marketing
It helps with marketing, which is quintessential for a business. However too narrow of a focus can pigeon hold you and prevent you from expanding to new markets. On the contrary, too wide a marketing focus makes it
difficult for consumers to create a definable impression of your company.
- Boosts employee morale and productivity
A strong brand motivates employee morale and productivity to carry your vision and mission forward. It also gives them direction because they know where you are going, and their role in your journey.
It’s when they know what their roles that they do whatever needed to meet your organization’s goals to help with your business growth. All this indirectly leads to better job satisfaction on their part and more zeal to work for you.
- Helps generate revenue
By consistently using your logo and colours in your marketing efforts you become more recognisable. As people build loyalty to your company they will become repeat customers and also promoters of your brand. Having promoters is one sure way of generating revenue with new sales!
What makes a brand great?
Now that you know why and how important branding is to your business, it’s time to find out what makes a brand great. There are many different elements that inspire greatness, take a look and see if anything stands out.
1. Understands and keeps customers in mind
Brands that create logos, content and products with their audience in mind are starting off with an advantage. Tapping into your clients’ response to your product and services through relevant graphics and colors, can evoke different emotions in customers.
By doing this you can show who you are but also communicate how and why you are better than the competition. It shows you understand your target audience, especially if you create relevant messages. This, in turn, leads to increased brand interactions and consequently better traffic and conversions.
2. Triggers emotions and customer loyalty
Your brand is great if it shows customers why your brand matters so much to them. Remember customers don’t have the time or patience to find out why they should deal with you. They want to be told!
Creating a story and providing informative content or dedicated, personalized customer service illustrates your value, and gives them a reason to do business with you.
Most customers do business based on emotions and not logic. Your brand should trigger some emotions in them when they see it. It is an emotional connection with your prospective customers that turns the relationship into customer loyalty that lasts for generations.
This also means you should not interact with customers on social media through copy-pasted responses. Instead, bring out the personality in your brand by showing your human side, and speaking to them like you would to a friend. Even add in some humour, people love to laugh.
3. Is original & visible
These are the things of branding, the ones you remember and the ones that are instantly recognizable. It’s the original brands that are great. There’s no point in mimicking a competitor because it doesn’t give people a reason to choose you. Instead,
find an angle no one has taken and develop a unique image and voice that helps you stand apart from your competition.
A brand that’s as visible as possible helps build your reputation. You can do this by posting content on external publications, launching a social media strategy or investing in advertising and promoted materials. Once you promote your messaging it automatically improves your visibility. Think about a top brand like Coca Cola, their brand goes far beyond a drink.
How to measure brand awareness
Branding isn’t enough. You also have to measure your brand
awareness to find out how well your consumers remember or recognize you.
This is possible if you know how to measure brand awareness, and improve it using measures. Without knowing where you’re being seen, you don’t know if you are investing in the right place.
You can create online surveys or survey a group of people.
Including the question ‘How did you hear from us’ lets you know how people found you. It may be through your blog posts, referrals or social media. This information helps determine where users talk about you, and how you can best reach your target audience.
One easy way of contacting your users is by introducing a pop-up on your website. This way you can target the people on the site and actively ask them about your branding and where they came from.
- Website analytics
Use a free tool like Google Analytics to check your website analytics. The Direct Channel helps measure brand awareness by tracking the number of people who reached you by typing your website URL or using a bookmark. Monitoring this, and direct traffic proves if your brand awareness is improving or not.
Checking your main traffic sources also helps determine where you need to work more to increase brand awareness. If it’s the social media, then your social media marketing campaign needs some working on.
You can also use this to see where people are clicking on your site. It might make a bit of sense to include links on your logo and images on your site. Your website is your key to sharing your story.
- Social listening tools
The best way to find out if people are talking about you is by monitoring social media conversations. Search Twitter, Instagram or any other chosen platform by typing your brand name to see what comes up.
Also conduct searches to find out what turns up with common misspellings of your brand name, products, and features.
There are tools which do things like send you chosen keywords and posts with competitor complaints, and even collect posts recommending similar products. Social listening can give authentic results but be wary not to focus on the trolls if you have any!
- Review sites
Visit review sites like Yelp and Yellow Pages where customers leave reviews, and users visit to find out more about local businesses. With more than 97% of people reading local business reviews before doing any business with them, you must monitor them to find out what people are saying about your brand.
Reading the negative reviews tells you how and where you need to make improvements to your business.
Now that you know so much more about branding and how to brand, it’s now left to you to implement the information in your marketing campaign. it’s proper brand awareness that generates more business and helps you stand out from the competition. The focus should be on creative branding that’s measured through your customers and the public. Don’t be afraid to be daring, get stuck into branding and the results will prove the effort was worth it!