Branding is a differentiator. It's the special ingredient in your family's favourite recipe, the fun fact you share during icebreakers, your most cherished party trick. It's what makes your business different from every other business out there.
But what exactly does branding consist of? How do you explain it? Why does it matter? And how can you build (or strengthen) your unique brand?
What is branding?
Branding can be defined in a lot of different ways. Part of branding involves design. What is your company's logo? Do you have a style guide? What colours are associated with your business?
The aesthetics are important but the branding we want to talk about today is much more intrinsic. We are talking about the values that your brand cherishes, the personality you take on as a company and showcase to your customers (both current and prospective). Whether you are a fun and quirky boutique that values transparency and community or a professional and direct software company that values quality products and in-depth customer service – every business has a brand.
The combination of both artistry, personality and brand values is what works to make up your business brand.
The combination of both artistry, personality and brand values is what works to make up your business brand. Through marketing channels, customer service experiences and sales interactions, your company is constantly building and contributing to your brand – whether you are aware of it or not.
Why does branding matter?
Before we get into the logistics of building your brand, it's worth understanding why branding is so important for every business (big or small). The core value in branding is that it defines your business. In the current marketplace, consumers often make purchases based on brand preference.
Just think: If you saw three people standing on the road offering the exact same product at an identical price, wouldn't you gravitate towards the person that you feel you'd best get along with? That's essentially how branding works.
Customers gravitate towards businesses with the same set of values and personality traits and in a business environment where plenty of companies offer the same product at a near identical price, your branding efforts can be the difference between securing the sale and losing out to your competitor.
Beyond defining your business, branding can help you build a loyal customer base – saving both time and money. According to a study by Facebook, 77 per cent of respondents consider themselves to be loyal to brands when making purchasing decisions. When companies have a strong brand presence, they are more likely to secure the repeat business of consumers. This means more revenue and less time spent on customer acquisition.
How do you build your business brand?
Okay, so, we have you sold. Branding is not only important but completely and totally necessary for any modern business. That leaves us with one major question: how do you create your very own business brand?
The good news is, you more than likely already have all the pieces you need to build a top-notch brand. It's something that exists in the way you speak to your customers, the tone you use when writing online content and the values you hold dear in your day-to-day business. Excited to get started? Let's take a look at the most important steps.
Define your purpose
You have the tools to create a stellar brand, you just need to identify and refine them. Sit down with your team and determine what values you have, what personality traits you are displaying. Discuss whether these are aligned with what you want your brand image to look like. Are there parts of your current brand personality you don't like? Are there certain values that you aren't quite emulating but want to be?
You have the tools to create a stellar brand, you just need to identify and refine them.
Pinpointing these things is critical to building on your brand. The clearer you define your values and personality as a business, the easier it will be for you and your team to make sure that brand is shining at every level of your business.
Integrate your brand
Speaking of the different levels of your business, one of the biggest steps in building a brand is ensuring that your brand identity is integrated throughout your organisation. A brand is something that exists at every step of the customer experience.
From your sales representatives, to your customer service team, all the way to your product developers – everything that happens in your business should be aligned with your brand. Consistency is key here. You don't want to sell the idea of a bubbly and energetic brand and then have stale customer interactions.
This extends to the aesthetics of your brand as well. You want your colours, fonts and logo to appear consistently across email signatures, marketing collateral and any brand merchandise. The takeaway here is when you build your brand you want it to be spread over everything you do – a strong brand is a stable brand.
The key to building and maintaining a strong brand is balancing consistency with flexibility. Once you build your brand you want to stick to your core pillars – these are your values, your tone, your style. However, you want to be able to change according to the times. According to Hubspot, consistency is what sets your brand standards, flexibility is what allows you to shift your strategy to continue generating interest.
Your audience's preferences will change as the market changes, so accommodate these shifts wherever you can.
Your audience's preferences will change as the market changes, so accommodate these shifts wherever you can while remaining true to your more important brand traits. According to Hubspot, consistency is what sets your brand standards, flexibility is what allows you to shift your strategy to continue generating interest.
"Effective identity programs require enough consistency to be identifiable, but enough variation to keep things fresh and human," notes Kevin Budelmann, president of Peopledesign, in an interview with Hubspot.
Need help with your brand building? Leading Edge is here to help. We can help build a marketing and sales channel strategy that aligns perfectly with your brand. Reach out to one of our team members today.