The Importance of a Brand
I can only imagine you’re probably sick of hearing the word by now. Everywhere you look, everywhere you go, someone is talking about it: their brand, your brand, a brand. It’s that song on the radio you can’t escape.
Still, a lot of companies make the mistake of completely ignoring branding efforts. They see themselves as a business, and not a brand. To them, brands are internationally known entities with huge budgets [Apple, Nike, McDonald’s]. They feel that branding is something that only large companies need or can afford. Seeing themselves too little to stomp with the big dogs, small businesses do nothing more than come up with a cool logo and some snazzy business cards. That’s it!
One of the biggest misconceptions is the idea that a logo is a brand.
What is a Brand?
If you have a strong Wi-Fi connection, and your Google game is on point, you’ll quickly learn that there are many interpretations. Simply put, a brand is a reputation.
“Your brand is what other people say about you when you're not in the room,“ says Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon.com. It’s how others feel about you based on their interactions with you. Essentially, a brand is the personality of your business. If your business were a person, these attributes would make up its personality:
What it wears [design]
How it communicates [positioning]
What it stands for [core values]
Who it associates with [target audience]
Every business has a unique personality. Honda and Rolls-Royce are in the same industry, and make the same product, but their brands are completely different.
Why is Branding Important?
I want to explain it as plainly as possible so you get it without all the industry jargon mumbo jumbo: a brand exists to help you stand out. If you grasped that, you can stop reading right here.
Many decades ago, there were only three or four companies that ruled the world, so to speak. Today, there doesn’t exist a single market that isn’t saturated. No matter what industry, you’ll find thousands of businesses competing for the eyes and ears of every consumer. You join the fray, how do people recognize you in a crowd? You stand out!
You stand out:
to announce yourself [your core values]
to differentiate yourself from everyone else [your competition]
so the people that need to find you can find you [your target audience]
It’s true that international companies have big budgets, hundreds of employees, and even years of experience. However, branding is about emotion, and the psychology of branding works regardless of the size of your company. Essentially, what works for big business will work for you.
3 reasons to brand your business:
Increase value. People are willing to pay more for a branded product than they are for something which is largely unknown. Walk into your local 7-Eleven and check out the beverage section. A bottle of water is a bottle of water, but people will pay 75% more for Evian than a no frills equivalent. Branding elevates your offering from a commodity to a unique product, distinguishing you from a cheaper brand.
Attract customers. A brand can embody attributes of your business which help people feel drawn to it, thus creating a connection. When people emotionally connect with your business, it leads to brand loyalty and trust. When people trust you and begin to love you, they tell their friends. Word-of-mouth is advertisement you can’t pay for.
Build trust. People are more likely to do business with a company that has a polished and professional image. If you look like a SAHM working in her PJs, people will treat you as such. Being properly branded gives the impression that you know what you’re doing, which helps people trust your company, the products and services you offer, and the way you handle your business.
In conclusion, if you have a business, you have a brand. What you do with it is up to you. It helps to think of it like a dating profile. You’re newly single and hitting the scene. A brand is how you dress your business to attract the clientele you want to appeal to. Give your brand the same attention you’d give your personal reputation.