At a time when many markets are oversaturated with choice for consumers, it can be difficult to stand out from the crowd. A branding strategy allows you to differentiate your business from that of your competitors and present a persona and values to the market.
So what is branding and why is it important?
Branding is a collection of assets, design specifications, and communications standards that define what you want to communicate to the market and how that message is communicated. It’s about presenting an image with specific connotations to your audience.
It can take between 5-7 impressions for people to remember your brand, and several studies suggest this can vary greatly by industry and by company. But you only have to think of companies who are famous for their branding to understand the impact it can have: think of Coca Cola, McDonald’s, or Apple. These brands are instantly identifiable by their logos, colors, and values.Image Source: Marketing Sparkler
#1. Branding Offers Recognition
One of the most difficult achievements in business is to have that instant recognition amongst your target audience. The ultimate goal is for people to know who you are, what you do, and the values you represent just by hearing your company name or seeing your logo.
So, how can you create a memorable brand?
1. Choose your colors carefully
There is a lot of research around the psychology of color in branding and the different emotional responses evoked by specific colors.
For example, blue is said to be a color that indicates trustworthiness which is why you see it used a lot for businesses such as insurance companies.
Make sure your color palette reflects the type of energy you wish to represent your brand.
This logo design company designs beautiful logos to elevate your brand perception.
2. Communicate across as many channels as possible
Consistently presenting a brand across multiple channels can increase your revenue by as much as 23%. The more impressions your brand gets, the more memorable it is. And memorable brands stay top of mind when it comes to purchasing decisions.
3. Ensure your branding standards are adopted across the organization for consistency
Consistency is key when it comes to branding. Your customers should have the same experience at every touchpoint with the company, from marketing to sales to customer service, both online and offline.
#2. Branding Boosts Company Value
The value of a brand is often expressed as “brand equity”. This term refers to the commercial value a brand commands as a result of brand perception rather than the product or service offered.
Brand equity is the reason that two products can look exactly the same, but one company can charge three times the price due to name recognition.
The fashion industry is a great example of the power of brand equity as consumers will frequently pay higher prices for the name on an item’s tag.
Brand equity also contributes to customer retention. Having customers who are loyal to your brand is worth ten times more than a one-off purchase.
#3. Branding Attracts New Customers
Managing a global, highly recognizable brand can be like managing an important political figure. Customers place a lot of value on supporting brands that share their values and outlook, and there are lots of examples of social media mishaps where a brand has been damaged by nothing more than an ill-advised tweet.
The flipside of this is that loyal customers who are invested in your brand are the best marketing you could ever have. They’re also a great source of revenue, too. 43% of customers say they spend more on brands to which they feel a sense of loyalty.
- Engage with your brand on social media
- Leave positive online reviews
- Spread brand awareness through word-of-mouth and recommendations
- Spend more time with your brand
Building a brand means strategizing about values and who you are as a company. This resonates with audiences; they like to know who they’re dealing with.
It’s also a lot about trust. People like to buy from brands when they can identify themselves among your existing customers, whether that’s through their friends or social interactions.
#4. Branding Builds Marketplace Trust
One of the driving factors of building a brand and brand success is generating trust between your business and your customers. In fact, 33% of consumers say that trust is the most important attribute of a brand.
82% of consumers feel more positive about a brand after reading customized content.
Tips for building marketplace trust
1. Build trustworthy, quality, valuable content
Content that provides genuine value and information to prospects builds trust in your brand as a thought leader within your industry.
2. Partner with other trustworthy brands
Partnering with more established brands for promotions or competitions lends trust to your business in the eyes of consumers.
3. Show off customer interactions
Post user-generated content (UGC) or client testimonials showing off interactions with your company. Interact with your customers online through social media, even if it’s to deal with complaints.
4. Encourage reviews and respond to them
Don’t be afraid of review sites. They have become extremely important to the buying cycle and it’s as damaging to avoid them than to be there with so-so reviews.
#5. Branding Makes Advertising Easier
Once you have established a brand, it becomes pretty clear that it makes all your other marketing activities easier.
And the numbers show that, if they’re being advertised to, users actually want branded content.
66% of Pinterest users say they would purchase from branded content, while 64% of consumers purchase after viewing a branded video.
Why do consumers like branded advertising better? It’s because your brand persona, tone of voice, and values give you direction when it comes to:
- Content to produce
- Channels to leverage
- Audiences to target
- Brand messaging and advertising copy
- Social media strategy
- Employer branding
By guiding your advertising strategy with your brand, you have a framework around which to establish clearer goals, target audiences, and content. Branding lends your advertising efforts a clear focus, resulting in streamlined ad campaigns and higher ROI.
#6. Branding Improves Staff Pride
Customers who purchase from you are not the only target audience to consider when it comes to marketing. You also have to position your company to attract top talent.
Consumer branding and employer branding spill over into each other, too. Consumers don’t like to buy from companies who are reputed to treat staff poorly, and people don’t want to work for companies who break the trust of loyal customers.
Companies who work hard to maintain a strong employer brand are sought out by top graduates and performers rather than having to spend money seeking them out. Positive employer branding can bring expenses related to hiring down by as much as 50%.
Not only that but working for a top brand with a great reputation is considered remuneration in and of itself. Brands with poor employer branding pay 10% more in salaries.
To establish positive employer branding:
1. Stay active on employer review sites
Employer reviews work the same way as product reviews – people are paying attention and they act on what they see on sites like Glassdoor.
2. Get HR on board and help them to develop sharp copy for job specs
Nothing turns an employee off quicker than reading a poorly written job spec that simply lists out the expected duties and requirements. The candidate is screening your company the same way you screen them, so try to create job postings that make highlight everything the company does for its employees and not just what it expects of them.
3. Promote your people
Your people are your best asset when it comes to employer branding. Promote staff testimonials on social media like LinkedIn. If there are team building or fun company activities going on, be sure to take photos and use them as part of your employer branding campaigns.
#7. Branding Helps Customer Acquisition At Lower Cost
While it’s true that measuring the results of pouring time and resources into branding can be difficult, it’s clear that branding lowers the cost of conversions and customer acquisitions.
This is because being recognizable to customers before the purchasing decision increases click through on paid and organic search results
In search results, 70% of shoppers click on retailers they already know, whether that be recognition from previous brand impressions, word-of-mouth, or both.
Whether a person has heard of you before or not is the most significant predictor of whether they will purchase from you. The process of brand recognition should start well before the purchasing phase of the buyer journey.
We mentioned earlier that it can take 5-7 impressions before a consumer remembers your brand. To increase the chance of conversion once they’re ready to buy, you can earn brand impressions through:
- Traditional advertising (print, radio, etc.)
- PPC campaigns
- Social Media
- Email marketing
- Content marketing
A conversion is not just one single instance that takes place at the point of purchase. Conversions happen over multiple brand touchpoints throughout the buying cycle, and your brand should meet the consumer at each one.
Send people to your most engaging content rather than sign-up forms. Sure, they won’t convert right away, but you can later remarket to them using social media ads. When you hit them with an offer next time, they’ll be 2x to 3x more likely to convert.
Branding is so much more than developing a logo. It’s about establishing standards for each touchpoint that customers have with your product from awareness to purchase. It can help to influence perception, drive down your costs, and cement your company’s place as a trustworthy, sought after brand.