What does branding mean? Why is branding vital to the success of your business?
These are a couple of the questions you should know the answers to if you are a business owner or in upper management.
When people think of brands, they immediately correlate the word with a catchy logo or design. The definition of branding is the perception the consumer has when they see, hear, think or read about your product, services and business.
The brand goes far beyond the logo. Below I will list the five most important factors that tie into your company's brand:
- Messaging: What are the values and standards of your company? Are you focused on quality or speed of delivery? Do you pride yourself on excellent customer service? What kind of culture does your company embody? Are you very professional or do you have a laid-back work environment?
These are all questions you should be asking yourself when creating key messages you want to get across your target audiences. It is important that your messaging aligns with all of these questions so your customers know what they can expect.
- Culture: Your company culture will define how you do business because you want your employees to live and breathe it. Make sure you are choosing the right employees who fit into your culture because they are a direct representation of your brand.
For example, if your business is all about having a laid-back, fun environment, you should focus on hiring employees who fit this profile. This way they are not being forced to change their personality and will feel comfortable interacting with others. Your culture should not only align with your employees, but also every other aspect of business including service, products and office environment.
- Visual Graphics/Design: This is what we think of first when we say brand. This is only one part of branding, but is also very important. Once you have figured out your company logo and color scheme, it is only the first step. Many companies fail to seize opportunities to increase their brand awareness when opportunities present themselves.
For example, Amazon does a clever job of making sure their packaging has their branding clear and visible. The customer will always know the difference between a regular package and an Amazon package. These kinds of details are important because they reinforce your brand subconsciously in the minds of your customers. Just like Amazon, your company should always be brainstorm strategic places where you can place your logo. Some classic examples of branding are in email signatures, office supplies and name badges.
- Motto: Just do it. We all know that world famous slogan comes from Nike. That is company that does a great job of integrating their company tagline into many of their brand features. If you don’t already have one, it is important to create some kind of motto or statement that embodies what you stand for. Once you have done this, it is important to keep the same message consistent across all of your online platforms and any marketing you do.
- Consistency: Once you have made sure that the four factors above are clear and present, that is only half the challenge. This step is the most important of all and where many companies fail. The alignment of your brand with all of these factors will be your biggest challenge. It is something that even the best companies struggle to do. If your key messages, culture, visuals and motto do not align, it will create confusion. This misdirection can affect how people perceive your company and also have an impact on your workforce. As I mentioned earlier, you have to make it as clear as possible as far as what is expected and how procedures are handled. This goes as far as how to answer a phone, greet a stranger and answer an email. If you handle every detail with care and make sure everyone is following the brand’s guidelines, you will see an increase in visibility and power.
What do these five factors have to do with visibility and power?
When your brand is consistent, people will know what to expect from you. This will help set you apart from your competitors and show why your brand is unique. Visibility brings recognition to your brand because customers will become familiarized with your products and how you conduct business.
A great example of a brand that does this is In-N-Out. All of their restaurants have the same setup, their service is consistent and they always serve quality food. Unlike their competitors such as McDonald’s and Burger King, In-N-Out is more successful because they pay attention to their branding. While the competition spends millions of dollars on advertisements, In-N-Out focuses on keeping their brand consistent so customers always know what to expect.