The purpose of branding is to influence what your customer thinks of your business. It’s how businesses stand apart from each other, and used wisely – it’s how some businesses dominate a crowded marketplace.
A strong image that is used consistently results in customer conversion and retention. Get it just right and it will even sell your products for you. Effective branding will influence how customer feels about a company – emotions are at the root of nearly all buying decisions.
The fashion and cosmetics industry have many highly influential brands. Think Nike, Tommy Hilfiger, Chanel and Calvin Klein. These brands have been established well so that people can relate to them and they want them in their everyday life.
There are many components of a brand that goes way beyond the logo. It’s the complete image and includes:
- Positioning in the market (top level, mass production, commodity, etc)
- The values of the company (ie speed, customer service, quality, environmental awareness, etc)
- The name of the company (this can communicate a product line, but it can also tie you into delivering only those products)
- “A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well.” – Jeff Bezos, Amazon Founder
Why Does a Business Need to Use Branding?
The business world has changed dramatically over the last 20 years. Prior to the web, small businesses didn’t usually venture further than their local region. They were up against a small handful of competitors – but now all businesses can compete in the international marketplace. For example, it’s now possible to source services from the other side of the planet and when it comes to technology, Eastern Europe, Pakistan and India are all well established in the digital services industries.
How and When is Branding Used
Every single touch point with customers is a chance to use the brand to your advantage. Here’s a list of opportunities that your small business could take advantage of:
- Business cards
- The delivery of service
- Customer experience
- Business premises
As we touched on earlier, branding isn’t just the logo, it’s the style of doing things, the paper that is used, the images and the values of the business. It could be the way you answer the phone, to the vehicles that you use, to your uniform and the user experience of your website. Being creative in this area can be what sets you up for business success where the sky is the limit in terms of expansion, clientbase and profits.
Next time around we’ll look at what you need to know about creating a brand that works for your business in the marketplace.