When it comes to branding, it is so much more than a logo or some other graphic element. Simply put, branding is the customer experience. It is the logo, the website, the social media channels, it is how you talk to customers and your tone of voice in content. It is everything and more.
Small businesses, when starting out, often do not put much thought into creating an all-encompassing experience. Instead they work on one element at a time and wonder why it does not work in the end.
In a digital age, brands need to become less intimidating and more human-centric. As marketers or business owners, we often forget the human element of customers and thus create brands that treat customers as ‘fodder.’
Times are a-changing, small business owner. We need to start creating brands that behave like humans – are approachable and likeable but also show an element of vulnerability.
The following points highlight why you need a strong branding strategy & how it will work for you.
#1. Branding Promotes Recognition.
These are all brands that you recognise. They are familiar. Having a brand that is consistent & easy to recognise means that people will feel more at ease when doing business with you.
If your brand has several variations of logos across your website, social media and emails, how does that make you look? Customers will be confused who is contacting them but also feel like they are dealing with an amateur.
Go do an audit of all your sites, marketing collateral and social media – is the branding consistent across all platforms? Is the brand name the same for social handles? This is the first step in ensuring consistency in your branding.
#2. Branding sets you apart from the competition.
Remember the good ol’ days, when you set up a business, went around your local area, spoke to friends and family & your business thrived? Now is not those days anymore.
In a digital age, we are now competing on a truly global scale and your brand needs to stand out from the crowd. You may think that you are the best, but there may be someone off-shore who can do it for a fraction of the price?
Research who would be your competitors on an international market? Think about what areas you would target (dream list) and research companies in those areas, what are they doing? When you search do they appear first? Make a list of keywords that bring up these competitors and look at their branding strategy – how does it make you feel?
#3. Your branding tells people about your DNA
When you set up your business, it wasn’t a spur of the moment thing. You thought about it. You were passionate about an idea and saw an opportunity.
Your full brand experience, from look and feel to tone of voice tells customers your story & what type of company you are.
What’s your story? Do you have a compelling back story? Do people know what type of company you are by just reading your content or liking your social posts. Go through your content, your website and social media and see if there is a consistent story flowing through your content. Do you talk to big or small companies? Is your tone abrupt or friendly? Narrowing this down will help your business create a solid narrative
#4. Your branding provides motivation & direction for your staff
Building a team spirit is more than just doing a few team outings or gatherings, it is instilling the brand values on them so that they live and breathe the brand and values. This will then allow customers to see how passionate your team are about the brand & decide that working with you is the way forward.
#5. A strong brand generates referrals.
Have you come across a brand that you just love and have to tell everyone about? Yes? Then why don’t you do that with your brand? People love to tell each other about brands they love – it is the traditional Word of Mouth Marketing.
But a strong brand website strategy, like having a backlink strategy is critical to generating referrals or viral traffic.
Think about websites you would like to be connected to. Start creating links to these websites, reach out to them and try get guest articles on these websites (as long as they are relevant to your brand & niche) – linking to & from these websites will show Search Engines that you are a credible source and should appear higher up in the results
#6. A strong brand helps customers know what to expect
There is nothing worse than stumbling across a brand on Facebook, clicking through to their website and noticing that they are very different, and you wonder if you are even on the same company. When customers discover this – they drop off very quickly and do not return.
A brand that is consistent across all platforms and is clear cut, puts the customer at ease because they know exactly what to expect each & every time.
#7. A brand represents You and Your promise to your customer.
Your brand is so much more than a logo & website, it is an extension of yourself and your team. What do customers say about you when you in conversation? Are they courteous of your customer service or do they dread working with you? How does your team talk with your customers? Are they passionate or do they just tick boxes?
Taking pride in the brand values is something that will take your branding strategy to new heights
Branding is building on a strong idea…an idea that you can hold on to, can commit to and can deliver on. Marketers need to step away from being the intimidating, unobtainable brand that customers cannot approach – brands need to become community figures that instil conversation rather than stop it.
If you are wondering where to begin on how to take your brand from elements to community – get in touch with our experts & we can have a chat on how to take things further!