What is branding? To some, it is the visual identity a company presents to the public, to others it is a business’ overall reputation. More often than not though, branding is a misunderstood field, often generalized and simplified by many. Because of its ever-changing nature, and our inability to concretely measure its success like we do with sales, market share, stock price, etc., branding is often viewed as an insubstantial add-on. Truthfully though, neglecting a brand is not only naïve but also shortsighted for any company, big or small.
When managed properly, a company’s brand can be their most valuable asset. Of all the things a business owns, its brand is one of the few items that will never depreciate. Rarely do companies intentionally manage their brands as the valuable resource that they are. Effective branding improves the visibility of and respect for a product, service, or company. It draws attention and can drive sales. It can also enhance margins, as customers are far more willing to pay more for a product or service from a company that they know and trust.
It is also important to remember that anything done or not done within an organization effects how the brand is perceived. Company leaders who ignore this are doomed to fail. A company’s brand is not just their logo or mission statement. Branding includes everything from how a PR department deals with customer complaints to how a company is being represented on social media. A business’ brand needs to stand for something and give the customers something to believe in. It must be presented with clarity, consistency and continuity. With the explosion in digital technology, mobile and social media companies now have the opportunity for a closer, more intimate relationship with consumers. This increased connection between businesses and their consumers demands a stronger more consistent brand identify.
Here are 5 quick tips for how to better your brand:
1. First off, build a brand you’re passionate about. Your enthusiasm will shine through all of your branding efforts and will get your customers excited about your product.
2. Define your brand, and become an expert. Take the time to determine exactly what your company is and what makes it unique. Whether you are looking to gain media attention, attract new clients or build your business, you should focus your efforts on becoming an expert in your field. Keep it relevant to the goals you want to achieve.
3. Incorporate a philanthropic component. People are drawn to companies that have a strong sense of corporate responsibility. Building a reputation and status with the community will help establish your company as a trustworthy and compassionate business.
4. Establish an online presence. Social media, online networking opportunities, and web-based marketing are vital when it comes to establishing your brand. Like previously stated, the increasing importance of digital technology, mobile, and social media give companies the opportunity to establish real and personal relationships with consumers. Businesses not using online resources to engage with its customers are throwing away a valuable opportunity to further establish their brand.
5. Remember the 3 Cs of branding. Clarity, consistency, constancy. You need to establish a solid foundation for your brand that is easy to understand, consistent with your goals, and use it whenever possible. By doing this your customers will develop a sense of understanding and trust for your brand.