These are questions with increasing popularity and with very good reason. Building a brand is a costly, long-term investment for businesses but one that comes with great benefits. Let’s dive in and figure out what branding is.
According to the Cambridge Dictionary, “branding is the act of giving a company a particular design or symbol in order to advertise its products and services”, which was an accurate definition of the main idea but not branding as a whole. Branding, a widely misunderstood and discussed subject, goes beyond the basic visual communication (name, logo, design, and packaging) of a company. It is a pattern of familiarity, meaning, and reassurance that exists in people’s minds, allowing customers to know what to expect from a company and stand out from the competition.
Successful branding is a perpetual process because it never stops due to people, markets, and businesses constantly changing and requiring companies to evolve and adapt in order to keep up. The structured process of branding where “who are the desired clients” needs to be discovered and a brand strategy must be created in order to position the company accordingly while constantly managing everything that influences this position in the market and in consumers’ minds.
Branding has been and will be absolutely critical to businesses because of the impact it has on the overall company. It can change consumer perception, acquire new clients and increase brand value but it can also do the exact opposite if done wrongly or not at all.
A common misconception about branding is that it is only used by big brands with huge marketing budgets. On the contrary, branding is has a lot to do with common sense and is heavily influenced by the market a company is in and the level that the company wants to be at, therefore, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to it.
Why is it important for your business?
Generates new customers
Building a good brand encourages referrals and referrals lead to more customers. Strong branding means a positive impression of an organization amongst customers, which are more likely to purchase from a company due to the assumed dependability and familiarity of a brand name they can trust. After establishing a solid and reputable brand, word of mouth will be one of the most effective and efficient advertising tools for a company. Think of brand reputation as the reputation of a person, it precedes it and triggers a chain of opinions which will then pass on the perception of the brand through word of mouth to others, just like speaking about a person you know to someone who does not know them. Positive reputation as a result of good branding will cause new customers to eventually come in contact with the brand, rather than a competitor, when they need one of the products or services it offers.
Improves employee pride and satisfaction
Employees that work for strongly branded companies and stand behind the brand are more satisfied with their jobs and have a much higher degree of pride in the work they carry out. Working for a reputable brand makes employees feel highly regarded in public and makes them working more enjoyable and rewarding. Employees are also the first line of communication for any brand and can be considered as ambassadors since they will be perpetuating the positive perception of the brand to peers and partners they interact with. This can also result in better products/services and more involvement from employees who feel close to the brand.
Creates trust in the marketplace
Brand reputation ultimately comes down to trust in the brand by its customers. The more someone trusts a brand, the better their perception of it, the stronger its reputation is and thus, the stronger the brand grows. Trust is created when a brand establishes an attainable and realistic promise that positions it in a certain way in the market and delivers on that promise. In all markets, trust is especially important because it can be the difference between intent (considering buying) and action (buying).
Branding is definitely not a one-article topic, it is ever-evolving and overlaps many areas of expertise such as marketing, psychology, design, advertising, and many others. It also has many different layers, each tied with its own meaning and structure. While there is a great overlap on common grounds with marketing and branding, we cannot acknowledge that one is subordinate to the other. They are interdependent and both have a primary goal to serve the business.