January 22, 2019 | by Amanda Pearl, Project Manager
Can you name these companies just by looking at their logos?
These simplistic and iconic logos are prime examples of powerful and effective branding. Not only is each logo immediately recognizable, but they also portray a feeling, story, and memory. Branding is one of the most crucial aspects of any business, small or large, B2C or B2B. To understand the importance of branding, you must first understand what branding actually is.
So, What is Branding?
There are countless, drawn-out, and downright daunting definitions of branding out there. Simply put, your brand is the way consumers perceive your company or product. It is the face, personality, and core values of your business. The entire customer experience. It’s everything, really. Previously, branding was defined as a company name, tagline, symbol or design, that distinguishes one company, product, or service from another. Today, branding is much more complex, making it more important than ever.
Why is Branding So Important?
Marketing and Branding affect how someone perceives your company as a whole, your effectiveness to drive in new business, and overall brand awareness.
As a business owner, you may be thinking to yourself “I just do not have the time to put effort towards my branding every day”. However, a strong brand could mean the difference between gaining a loyal customer for life and losing one to a competitor.
Research suggests that approximately 50% of consumers indicate that they consider becoming more loyal to a brand during their first purchase.
Whether you are a start-up CPG company looking to stand out amongst established CPG brands, or a long-standing service company looking to increase leads, your first impression to consumers is paramount.
From a distinctive, eye-catching logo, to the user experience on your website, to your social media posts and digital campaigns, to the interactions experienced with your staff, consumers are taking note and choosing their purchasing decisions accordingly.
Why is Branding More Important Than Ever?
Now that you understand what branding is and why it’s important; It’s necessary to understand the ever-evolving advertising industry and how your brand needs to evolve to keep up.
Your business shouldn’t only be recognized by just a logo, color scheme, or a catchy tagline. Consumers, more than ever, want to feel a part of the content they are engaging with. They want to be exposed to organic and authentic content that tells a story they believe in. This makes the personal touch of branding much more relevant an imperative in today’s marketing efforts.
The list of channels and platforms of which consumers can be exposed to a product or service is growing every day. Today’s marketing opportunities are much more extensive than they were five, ten, twenty years ago.
Here is a run-down of some of the top platforms and channels today:
- Social Media – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Pinterest, and Yelp are some of the top social platforms your target audience may be on.
- SEM (Search Engine Marketing) – Google AdWords, Bing Ads, Yahoo Ads
- Shopping Campaigns– Google Shopping, Amazon Advertising
- Video Streaming – YouTube, Hulu
- Voice Activated Assistants – Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Amazon Echo, (Iphone’s “Siri” is in the talks). Over 43 million Americans own a digital assistant.
- Influencer Marketing – 49% of consumers depend on Influencer recommendations
- Augmented Reality – Augmented Reality is expected to have 1 billion users by 2020
- Proximity Advertising – In-Market Audiences, Beacon technology
The above list may seem intimidating, but once you understand your target audience and their online behavior, you will be better able to gauge what channels your brand will benefit from most.
Once you have your marketing plan in place, it is imperative to keep your branding consistent over multiple channels. This is where many companies make mistakes. Consistency is key. It is what will, in time, teach your audience that this is a brand they want to pursue; a brand they can rely on and trust. The redundancy will help users remember you over your competitors.
As more and more businesses are moving into the digital realm, it is essential to hone in on your own brand. Monitor how your brand is being perceived on new channels and how new audiences are reacting to your brand over time. This will ensure your brand evolves with industry changes and will stand out amongst the rest.
Building Your Brand: Key Elements to Consider
The fundamentals of building a brand are simple. No one knows our company and why you do what you do, like you. Follow these key steps while building your brand and you will have a strong online presence that resonates with your audience.
Understanding your target consumer is key. Who are you speaking to? What is their age range? Where do they live? What are their hobbies/interests? What are their values? What do they care about? Which platforms are they on? What are their purchasing trends? Do your research, run A/B testing, and learn your target consumer.
All companies need a “voice”. This is the personality that your brand portrays. Whether it’s young and playful, corporate and informative, or whimsical and personable, your brand voice should directly relate to your target audience and be kept consistent overall marketing efforts.
What core values does your brand encompass that make you stand out from your competitors? It starts internally. Build a team that harvests these values and your brand will stand true and authentic. Consumers value values.
Most importantly, every consumer wants to feel confident in the brand they are pursuing. Create a trustworthy message consumer can rely on.
Is your brand different than from your competition? Positioning is the message that relates to what your brand does best and what your audience cares about.
Consumers to understand your brand is important and brand Perception is understanding how your consumers view your brand. This should be monitored regularly, as it can change over time. One way to monitor how people view your brand is by offering surveys on their experiences. Understanding how you want to be perceived is the first step. Define this first, then create a roadmap on to how to accomplish this.