Branding is what helps you tell one product or company from another. The name, the design, the tone of voice, the tagline and the logo are a part of that, but branding is about more than just the visual elements. Your branding is the entire experience your customer has when they interact with you – from your customer service and social media interactions to your newsletters and emails. Essentially, branding is not what your business looks like but how your business makes people feel.
Why is branding important?
Good branding is good for business. Branding is why consumers choose one product over another – even if it’s more expensive. Branding tells the story of who your company is and tells customers why they should choose you. How many successful brands are successful not just because of the product they sell but because of the way they sell it?
And it’s not just for big businesses. Don’t dismiss branding because you are a small company – it might actually be more important. Small businesses often struggle to compete on things like cost or convenience. So their brand is their best weapon against bigger companies.
For example, sustainable swimwear company Batoko is a microbusiness (their words) that is competing successfully with well-known sportswear and clothing brands. Their swimsuits are made from recycled plastic waste and they have several partnerships with not for profits. Their website branding reflects their values of transparency and their social media accounts are full of fun swimming snaps taken by their customers. They don’t use influencers or models but instead encourage real people to show their swimwear. This strong branding builds trust and even though their swimwear can only be bought online and is not the cheapest available they have a strong customer base.
What can you do to make sure your branding is working for you?
1. Create a clear brand strategy
To avoid branding blunders you need a clear brand strategy – but how do you create one? No two companies are the same, so of course no two branding strategies are the same either but a great branding strategy should include:
- Your purpose. Why does your business exist? Of course you probably want to make money, but what else do you want to do? To make ethical clothing more affordable? To cut down on plastic by making it easier to find refill points?
- Your values. Your values should drive all your decisions. You might consider yourself ethical or inclusive but to really reflect those values they must be incorporated into all your decisions.
- Your personality. If your business was a person how would someone describe them? Lighthearted and fun, cool and a bit aloof, transparent and helpful? Whatever your personality is, it should be obvious from a social media post or a few lines of copy from your website.
2. Be consistent
Make sure your brand identity is the same across your entire business. Your brand identity should always be reflected in your social media channels, website, emails, newsletters, adverts and anywhere else you are. All designs, such as logos and colour palettes, should be the same – or be an easily recognisable variation – along with other elements such as tone of voice. There is no point building a loyal following on social media if they do not recognise your brand elsewhere.
3. Consider brand partnerships carefully
What you don’t do can be just as important as what you do. Think carefully before partnering with other brands. Do they reflect your brand values, how will your consumers feel about the other brand and does the partnership actually make sense? For around fifty years LEGO and Shell had a very successful marketing partnership. But when Greenpeace referenced the LEGO brand in its investigation into and campaign against Shell, LEGO realised the damage that would be done to them and the partnership folded.
Need some help with branding or thinking about a re-brand? get in touch with us for a consultation.
What are your brand challenges?