If you have a business, even a small one, you need a brand. How many times have you heard that? Probably one too many times, that’s why you’re here. Unfortunately, many companies overlook the real benefits of branding, to their loss. Establishing not only a name, a logo, and some specific colors, but a genuine brand may be a bit challenging to do. However, in terms of marketing, it will unquestionably pay off. Here are the basics when it comes to branding your company, to get you started on your way to greatness.
What Is Branding?
While an abstract concept, a brand is the soul of your business. It has been described as the feel or emotion a person has when confronted with something that is related to your business. It also involves their taste, smell, sight, and memories, which might help give you an inkling as to how important branding yourself and your business truly is.
The brand is also an image that occupies a place in front of all that your company believes in, stands for, and tries to accomplish. Taking all this into consideration, you’ll see how a brand quickly becomes your business’ personality. We all know how the human mind works. Therefore, we are surely aware of the fact that a particular personality attracts associations. Building on this idea, you can easily see how valuable a brand is, in reality, and how quickly it can attract customers.
We brought customers into the discussion because the audience is what accurately forms a brand. You might desire and even actively work to construct a particular brand. However, if the public simply doesn’t see you in that way, there’s not much you can do about it. Therefore, it’s crucial you understand right from the beginning that a brand has to fall precisely in line with your company’s goals, business, and audience.
Try to understand how the mass market sees your label and work from there. Always make informed decisions. In other words, do not project ideas and goals that are not sustained by reality. In this way, you will get to the hearts of the customers a lot faster, not to mention that you will be building a brand that will endure over the years and, why not, centuries.
As a tip – your brand should always be omnipresent, consistent, and following a definite strategy. Remember that, unlike your logo or your personal business colors, branding is an emotional ride on which your customers embark. If your logo and colors help put an easily recognizable and everlasting face to your company, the brand is a feeling your customers want to share with you.
Via branding, you are not selling a T-shirt anymore. You are selling a sensation or a community your clients want to be part of. Think of all the celebrity brands out there. They reach a certain level of stardom, and they start selling products that have their name on them, such as perfume, shoes or clothing. In reality, they are not selling a pair of sneakers, but rather the idea of you belonging to the distinct community that identifies itself by wearing those sneakers. You can buy all kinds of running shoes anywhere, but there’s only one type that will instantly put you on the map. That’s branding.
What Is the Difference Between a Brand and a Logo?
If you already have your own business or are planning on starting one, this question or its answer might sound redundant to you. You’ll find out soon enough that it’s not, since many people cannot, in fact, differentiate between the two.
Simply put, a logo is meant for clear identification. Your business needs a face and the easiest way to give it one is by adopting a logo. Typically, a logo will derive from the name, meaning or symbol of the company itself, although that is not set in stone. Take KFC, for example, where the logo is a stylized drawing of its founder, Colonel Sanders. Regardless, unlike a brand, it’s meant to help customers visualize and remember the company with extreme ease.
It’s not there to explain or to sell anything, but merely to put your business on the map. Therefore, do not think of your logo as a marketing strategy. It simply has to be memorable and represent you and your company.
Here are a few tips when it comes to logos.
- Make sure it’s simple – customers will never remember a crowded or overcomplicated logo. When choosing a logo for the first time, you will get the urge to create a spectacular one. Don’t. Some of the best logos of all time are incredibly simple.
Think about FedEx, which is just their name, Nike, Adobe, which is a stylized A, Target, which actually has a red target for a logo and, of course, the most famous one of all, Apple. A two-dimensional apple with a bite taken out of it. How simple is that?
- It has to be versatile – think about the fact that it needs to be transmitted to your audience across a plethora of means of communication, from the digital one to banners in the city and small business cards.
- It has to be timeless – A few good examples here are the Olympic Rings, McDonald’s M, and Disney.
A brand is completely different from all that. As pointed out above, it’s an actual rollercoaster of emotion your customer goes through upon seeing the aforementioned logo. Seeing things in this light makes you understand just how important it is you, in fact, differentiate the logo from the brand.
Why Do You Need a Brand?
As noted above, many start-up businesses tend to neglect this aspect of their marketing campaigns. However, seeing as branding has a tremendous impact on your company as a whole, here are a few reasons why you need one.
#1. You will be easily recognized
From a psychological point of view, people are more prone to do business with the firms with which they are familiar with. If you establish a brand, set a name for yourself, and are consistent with it, customers all around will feel at ease when bringing their business to your doorstep.
Think about the difference between Apple, Samsung, and Motorola and an entirely unknown electronics brand, such as the fictional Daisy Smartphones. Which one do you think customers will choose?
#2. Branding helps distance you from your competition
The best example we can give you’re here is Starbucks. In its essence, Starbucks is just a coffee shop. However, by creating a powerful brand, as well as introducing a groundbreaking logo, they managed to set themselves apart completely from all the other coffee shops in the world.
Remember that, no matter how small your business is, you are not competing locally anymore. Thanks to the digital age, the market has expanded on a global scale. The only way you can make sure you stand out from all the other millions of businesses juts like yours is via powerful branding.
#3. A strong brand will always motivate your staff
Studies show that working for a famous brand determines employees to do their best and perform their tasks better than they would normally do. They are proud to be working for you and your company and, perhaps, it was even their dream to get there.
A good example is young perfumers who have grown up smelling essences made by the biggest houses in the world, such as Guerlain, Chanel, Givenchy or Annick Goutal. They have a real sense of pride in it and consider they have achieved their lifelong dream to be working for such a famous and old perfumery.
#4. It will tell your customers exactly what to expect
If you manage to establish a healthy and strong brand, your customers will know exactly what it is they are buying. They will come back to it again and again as it will always precisely provide what they need.
To be able to understand this concept, think about the brands that sell makeup or edible products, such as yogurt, whiskey, beer, cream, chocolate, tea, coffee, tequila, vodka, champagne, bourbon or cereal. All along the supermarket aisles, you have rows upon rows of these products. For which one do you go? This situation is where branding comes in. Your brand tells your customers exactly what to expect when they add one item or another to their basket.
#5. The brand stands for a promise you make to your customers
At the beginning of this article, we mentioned that, via branding, you are not selling an item per se, as you are selling a feeling, which also involves a promise.
Think about makeup brands and what they are exactly trying to sell the ladies. The same goes for a particular car, jeans, a watch, luxury food, scotch, dog food, shoes, or sunglasses. Remember that branding is not about the product, as it is about the idea. A motorcycle speaks of freedom and masculinity, a personal laptop about independence and privacy, a guitar about following your passion, and clothing about feeling and wearing the concept of beauty.
Examples of Branding Done Right
Here are some examples of a few companies that managed to do it right and have truly found their brand identity.
- Apple – the main attribute we can link to Apple when it comes to branding is ‘simplicity.’ They are worldwide famous for using this simplicity to turn a traditional company into an international giant. As mentioned above, even their logo is simple.
- Starbucks – They are more than a coffee shop and more than coffee. Whenever a customer sees the mermaid clad sign, they know they are in for a treat.
- Target – this store has playful and fun advertising campaigns that helped set them apart from all other stores. They stand for you, the customer, getting the best deal every time, no matter what it is you are buying.
The best type of branding out there is built around a powerful message or idea. You need to be able to sustain it as years go by, turn it into a life motto for you and your customers, and deliver it as long as your company exists. The biggest benefit that will come from establishing such as concept is brand fidelity. In other words, have a huge customer fan base that will return to you and your products no matter what.