What is a brand?
Branding: it’s one of the hottest buzzwords in marketing. But what actually is a brand? And why is having one so important?
Before you develop or execute a marketing strategy, you have to first establish your brand: a unique name, image, or identity for your product, service, or company that distinguishes it from other competitors.
A clear, unique brand leaves an impression on potential consumers. So while a brand doesn’t necessarily have an inherent financial worth on its own, it’s the first step in acquiring new customers. Your customers notice your brand before they see your product features, pricing, testimonials, or any other marketing elements. In short, it’s how they remember you.
Creating your company vision, mission statement, and values is the starting point for developing your branding. These are the core aspects of your company driving everything you do.
Finding a clear, concise way to describe them to your customers (current and future) is crucial! Consumers want to do business with companies they align with and they can relate to. If they don’t understand your purpose, or if they can’t see where you’re headed in the future, that will cast doubt on whether they want to work with you.
Your brand encompasses how you do business: the language you use in your marketing, the values that drive your work, your standards for the work itself. And each of your employees has to maintain that brand’s image.
Coming up with a company branding game-plan & playbook is crucial.
It doesn’t have to be complicated: just one place where your team can familiarize themselves with words and phrases you use, your mission statement, visual elements of your brand, and more. Many times this is encompassed in a Branding Guidelines guide. Making sure your whole team is on the same page with your branding elements is critical to maintaining consistency in the customer’s eye.
Most importantly, your brand doesn’t have to remain static forever. If you see the business going in a different direction, get out ahead of that change! Forecast what will be different, and adapt your branding to fit the new direction. Be transparent with your customers about how and why your brand has changed. They’ll appreciate the honesty — and your new, aligned branding will attract the best-fit customers for your business.