September 22, 2020
6 min read
The word branding refers to all the processes and ways in which a business creates a strong and positive connotation and perception of their products and services.
Effective and well-rounded branding helps a business communicate its mission, values, and vision with their target audience. It also helps a company to differentiate itself from the competition and position itself as a unique player in the market.
Branding compromises the color palette and logos your company uses, the way they talk to your audience on social media, and through adverts. Your mission statement builds your brand identity by clearly stating what your company wishes to achieve and what it values.
An overwhelming majority of customers say that consistent branding both online and offline is an important factor for them.
For any company, having a strong brand helps in both acquiring and retaining customers, as well as standing out from the competition.
A unique brand strategy helps companies to make a real difference to their profits. Particularly online, with new eCommerce stores being launched almost daily, being generic and forgettable is the surest way to kill your business before it even took off.
The fact is that over 60% of consumers are more likely to buy from companies that deliver unique content. If you don’t take the time to brand your eCommerce store and your advertising, your customers will opt for the competitor’s store that has the it-factor.
The main benefits of successful branding include:
Great brands are able to address their target audiences in innovative and fresh ways and follow a certain set of brand guidelines. This way all the communication remains unified and strengthens the perception of the brand.
Let’s take fast-food restaurants as an example. Everyone knows that the food served at the drive-thrus isn’t great, but many opt for grabbing a quick meal from McDonald’s while on the road.
McDonald’s built its brand on the memorable logo (who wouldn’t recognize the two golden arcs?) and its core menu (McNuggets or a BigMac, anyone?). Nobody expects a five-star meal from the restaurant: instead, everyone knows what they will get in exchange for a few dollars.
The company has cleverly segmented its global target audience, offering slight menu variations and country-specific items. It’s also kept reinventing itself time and time again, evolving from a diner to a drive-thru to launching the McCafe.
The tech giants Apple and Microsoft are also great examples of successful branding. Apple positioned itself as the provider of beautifully designed computers and later smartphones. Meanwhile, Microsoft conquered the market as the most commonly used operating system, rather than building its own computers from the beginning.
As convenient as it would be, there’s no one-size-fits-all formula for building a successful brand. Factors like your market, product or service, and target audience all play a role in determining what constitutes a successful brand.
If you look at all successful brands closely, you’ll notice that they all share similar elements:
While building a brand takes time, there are a few main steps that will set you on the right path.
Initially, you want to truly understand who your target audience is. Do enough target market research, talk to people, and find answers to questions like:
Once you have a clear understanding of your buyer, you should finalize your company’s mission. Understanding the underlying reasons for why you set up your business in the first place and what you want to achieve with your product or service will help.
Now it’s time to start working on the brand guide. Define what makes your business unique, what values and qualities it considers important, and what its beliefs are. List down reasons that make your company and product different from the competition to get started.
Next, you need to create the visual assets of your brand. Make sure that your colors, typography, logo, and everything else reflect your company’s mission, beliefs, and values.
The last thing you need to focus on is the voice and tone of your brand. Make sure that the way you’re addressing your target audience is relevant and appropriate: you wouldn’t talk to managers the same way as you would to teenagers. You want all communication to be unified, so it might help to create guidelines on the brand voice and share it with all employees.
Once you have a clear idea of how you want to brand your company and product, it’s time to apply your guidelines across your website, social media channels, packaging, advertising, and other customer-facing operations like your sales and customer service teams.
It’s important to remember that branding is a complex process, and just slapping a logo on a shopping bag doesn’t equal a brand. You need to remain consistent and make sure you know what your target audience and existing customers think of your brand. The better you can address any inconsistencies, the better an experience you will provide your customers with.