One of the most common misconceptions we come across as a marketing agency is that branding is only for the big boys and is too complicated and expensive for SMEs. Nothing could be further from the truth; many businesses of all shapes and sizes have achieved great success from developing a well-known brand within their marketplace.
What is a brand?
Many people are under the impression that a brand is an expensive logo, but it’s so much more than that, your logo and the colours/designs that you use represent the kind of business you are, your culture, and values. The logo is simply an image, a brand encompasses everything.
The aim of your brand is to get people to associate it with the products and services you provide. It should help distinguish you from your competitors and help customers choose you over them. Not only that, it should create a positive emotional response within your customers and potential customers.
Examples of brands that have nailed this are:
Disney – the brand just makes you feel happy
BMW – quality, status, success
Amazon – reliability, variety, fast delivery, quality
Visual brand representation
Logos, colours, and fonts all represent the visual aspect of your brand. To make these effective for your business, and to begin to build a brand that is recognisable and linked to quality products and services, you need to make sure it is used correctly.
You can maximise the visual representation of your brand by adding it to everything you put out into the marketplace, from your website and email signatures, to business cards, product manuals, and building signage. Download our branding signals document for more ideas about where to use your brand.
Emotional brand response
We touched on the emotional response of brands earlier but what is behind this response? The visual representation of your brand, i.e. your logo, is the vehicle for people recognising the company but it, in itself, will not create an emotional response.
The emotional response comes from a number of factors
- Your products and services – why do people buy what you offer, is it a symbol of success, does it make them feel good etc..?
- Your customer service – how do your customers feel when they are dealing with your company?
- Your staff – do your employees enhance your brand and the customer experience through the way that they act internally and externally?
- The messages you put out into the marketplace – what tone of voice do you use, what response are you trying to get from your audience, why should they buy your products and services?
The implications of not building a strong brand
The implications of not investing in and building a professional brand can be far reaching. Today business is more competitive than ever and with the ability to get your business online and out to the masses instantly, you need a strong brand to back up the messages about your products and services.
Some of the main implications of not having a strong brand include:
- You will get lost in the crowd – If you don’t build a strong brand you can lose out to your competitors and get lost in the crowd. People need to recognise and relate to your business, branding is one of the key ways to begin building recognition and relationships with your customers. A strong brand, which incorporates everything mentioned in this article, will enable you to stand out from your competitors, therefore increasing interest in your business and what it has to offer.
- Your products and services won’t seem as valuable to customers – one of the key benefits of a strong brand is that it actually adds value to your products and services. Why else would we pay so much more for branded items, such as coffee, when the supermarket’s own brand is half the price?
- Not having a brand, even if it’s a personal one, can impact on customer relationships – your customers will be filtering a lot of promotional information throughout the day, you need to have something up your sleeve that will make them sit up and take notice. A strong brand is a great start.
- Harder to establish loyalty from customers – in some marketplaces and for some products and services brand loyalty is everything, from going to a particular hair salon to only buying a specific brand of cola. Building brand loyalty increases repeat business and creates ambassadors for your company.
If you are looking for some expert help with your branding, call Michelle now on 0330 088 9277. Start building your brand today!