Everything you know about your favorite local business and every product or service you use is because of business branding. Sure, the quality of service could be exceptional and the products of high quality but it’s branding that conveys the business’s promise to you, and every other customer, creating a memorable impression.
Apple, Tesla, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Nike, HubSpot, and Airbnb are some of the prominent companies that have effectively differentiated themselves in their respective markets through branding. By creating strong brands, these companies have created business value that far exceeds the quality of their products or services, or physical assets.
Simply put, branding is the process of creating the perception you hope people have as they interact with your business, experience your services, and/or come in contact with your products. Think of it as your message and promise to your ideal customer.
According to branding agency EWR Digital, not only does branding help people recognize your company and products or services, but also differentiates your business from the competition. Plus, with good branding, you can connect with your target customers emotionally, build trust with them, and create a loyal customer base. Branding is a vital part of the business. You, however, don’t want to fall for any of these misconceptions about branding as you work to create a strong brand for your business.
Branding Only Applies to Big Corporations
Many small business owners and startup entrepreneurs are misguided by the erroneous assumption that only the big companies with nationwide recognition and huge marketing budgets have to worry about branding. According to them, brands exclusively signify the ‘big boys’ in the market who have achieved great business success. And since they’re still trying to find their feet in a highly competitive environment, the best they can do is to get someone to design for them a catchy logo and some business cards.
The idea that branding is reserved for the “bigger fish” in the pond is actually far from the truth. Simply put, brands are customers’ notions and perceptions about a business. This means every business, big or small, new or well-established, needs to leverage branding to give customers a clear sense of purpose and direction. Branding shows your ideal customer and key stakeholders what makes you, you— your values, beliefs, missions, and visions. These are things that uphold your brand identity and you must figure them out, no matter the size of your business.
Branding is a One-Time Thing
If you shop at Amazon or are a big fan of Coca-Cola or Nestle products, you probably understand why these companies dominate their markets. Not only do these companies communicate who they are, what they do, and their reason to be in a clear and consistent manner, but also make sure their solemn pledge to those they serve is kept— every time. Plus, they understand that their brand is the heartbeat of the business and they take the time to review and revise their branding strategy on a regular basis.
The idea that branding is something you do only once and then sit back to see results is, therefore, not true. It’s important for you to assess your business performance and progress regularly and amend your branding strategy accordingly so you can steer a better course and achieve your desired results. Companies like Nestle, Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Apple, and other popular brands always take the time to revise their branding strategy.
You Must Create a Brand that Appeals to Everyone
Another common misconception about branding is that you need to create a brand that appeals to everyone. It’s like saying you don’t necessarily need to conduct market research and create products that fit your target customers’ unique needs and preferences.
Well, this doesn’t make sense. Why would you start a business that’s focused on everyone instead of a specific audience that’s more likely to buy your products? Narrowing down your customer base to your ideal customer may seem counterintuitive but it’s a much more affordable and effective way to communicate with potential customers and increase your brand’s exposure.
Good branding requires that you focus on a specific segment of customers, create products or services that solve the exact problems this group has, and craft your message based on their unique needs and behavioral profile. You’d rather have a smaller demographic of customers who are 100 percent happy with and loyal to your company than a huge crowd of people who are 50 percent satisfied with what you have to offer.
Branding is the Same as Marketing and Advertising
You’ve probably heard people talk about how marketing, branding, and advertising have helped drive sales and profits for their business. So, it’s true that these are all tools that you can use to promote your business as they’re closely connected and work together. What’s not true, however, is that branding is the same as marketing or advertising.
While branding tells customers what you believe in and why your business exists, marketing encompasses the different strategies that help build awareness of your products or services. Branding also involves elements that help promote customer loyalty and long-term commitment, such as the business name, logo, design, tagline, and symbol.
Advertising, on the other hand, is about showcasing your company’s products to potential customers through posters, TV ads, radio ads, coupons, etc. so they can buy them. While both advertising and marketing campaigns focus more on measurable outcomes and can enhance your brand awareness, branding creates an association in your target customers’ minds between their ideals and your products, services, or company’s ideals.
You’ll Always Have Full Control Over Your Brand
Today’s consumers view almost everything in the world through the lens of the internet. And with the rise of social media platforms, consumers are increasingly expressing their beliefs, values, and experiences to the outside world like never before. It’s also interesting that they’re increasingly choosing to buy from businesses whose values align with theirs. It has, therefore, never been more important for businesses to not only create strong brands but also carefully articulate their beliefs and values.
When you think about it deeply, you realize consumers are the ones who will largely shape your brand. If they can choose which brands to do business with, then they’re the ones in control. So, it’s not true that you’ll always have full control of your brand. However, that’s not to mean there’s nothing you can do to influence them or their decision. Take the time to observe your target customers’ behavior and listen to them so you can create personalized customer experiences. This will also help you enhance your branding and positively contribute to your brand identity.