What is a brand?
We have already touched on the subject of this subject in our beginners guide to branding blog but it’s worth touching on again as part of our A-Z of marketing series. A brand can offer enormous benefits to your business and, despite what many people think, building a strong brand is not just something for companies like Virgin, Apple, or BMW…
A brand is more than just your logo, your logo is simply a visual representation of your brand. It should incorporate your business name, products, and services, culture, and values. Your branding needs to appeal to your key stakeholders such as customers, employees, suppliers, and investors. Your brand values need to be communicated to, and run through, your entire organisation.
We all have brands that we display a certain level of loyalty to, whether it’s a specific coffee, shampoo, or even a particular supermarket or clothes store. What the marketing teams have done with these brands is invaluable to any business. By investing in and building the brand, from the imagery to the values and emotions associated with it, they have created a loyal customer base. This means that their competitors would have to work extremely hard, and potentially have to invest quite a bit of money, to knock them off the top spot.
Having a pool of customers who are loyal to you, your brand, and your products and services means that you will have a steady stream of income. Your customers will also be ambassadors for your brand, it is very likely that they will be recommending you to others, and people are more likely to buy from someone if they have been recommended by their peers.
Brand loyalty doesn’t just apply to customers, your employees will be loyal too. If your brand represents an enjoyable, rewarding, and supportive working environment and company culture, not only will you attract the best talent but you’ll keep them too.
Along with loyalty, a well-established and successful brand can also add value to your products and services in the minds of your customers. Taking the shampoo example again, if you are loyal to a specific brand it is likely that your will be willing to pay more for that product.
Adding value through your brand, whether it’s a consumer good or a business service, means that you can charge based on the overall value you offer.
Let’s face it, in some industries it’s extremely difficult to differentiate your products and services from those of your competitors. Building a well-established and recognisable brand could be your key to getting noticed longer term. A brand that resonates with your target market can often be the difference between noticing a business and what it has to offer and walking right on by and not registering it at all.
Building a brand is essential for your business, no matter what size. We don’t all have to be British Airways, KPMGs, or Gillette’s, but we do have to make an effort to grow within our market, attract and keep customers and employees, and differentiate ourselves from our competitors – your brand is key to achieving this.