When people think of branding, they think a logo or a set of colors the brand uses. Branding is beyond logos and colors, branding is more.
Branding is about perception. How do people perceive a brand? When they see the brand, what do they think?
What is branding?
There are many definitions of branding, however, I came across one that tried so much to encapsulate all that branding is about and it’s one I’m pleased with.
‘Branding is the perpetual process of identifying, creating, and managing the cumulative assets and actions that shape the perception of a brand in stakeholders’ minds’Branding Mag
Branding Mag, explains this definition better below
Perpetual process: Branding is a perpetual process because it never stops. People, markets, and businesses are constantly changing and the brand must evolve in order to keep pace.
Identify, create, manage: There is a structured process to branding, one where you must first identify who/what you want to be to your stakeholders, create your brand strategy to position yourself accordingly, and then constantly manage everything that influences your positioning.
Cumulative assets and actions: Your positioning must be translated into assets (e.g., visual identity, content, products, ads) and actions (e.g., services, customer support, human relations, experiences) that project it into your stakeholders’ minds, slowly building up that perception.
Perception of a brand: Also known as reputation. This is the association that an individual (customer or not) has in their mind regarding your brand. This perception is the result of the branding process (or lack thereof).
Stakeholders: Clients are not the only ones that build a perception of your brand in their minds. Stakeholders include possible clients, existing customers, employees, shareholders, and business partners. Each one builds up their own perception and interacts with the brand accordingly.
Branding is more than just logo, packages and color font—which is the brand identity part of branding. Branding includes both brand identity, brand strategy and brand promotion. Combining these three (3) makes an effective branding.
What branding is not
Ask the average person what branding is about and you will hear things that are a part of branding but not necessarily branding. Below, I list what branding is not.
- Branding is not logo
- Branding is not how well you design your website, business card and related
- Branding is not having your products and its asset branded with your logo
- Branding is not fine packaging
All these things can be attributed to branding but they are not necessarily branding.
Read also: Brand Storytelling: How important is it to your business?
Why does every business need branding?
A business and a brand are two (2) different things. A brand is a business but not every business is a brand.
If your business doesn’t have anything uniquely associated with it that shows the entirety of the business from its values to its mission and the people the business serves, then it’s not a brand. It’s simply another business. There’s no differentiating factor or uniqueness to the business.
It’s also possible for businesses to stand out as brands without even intentionally branding. This is because they do the things that an effective branding requires, only that they aren’t aware they are building a brand.
You might wonder if your business needs branding and I’m here to assure you that your business does; any business does and here are five (5) reasons why.
#1 Branding is one of the most effective ways to get your customers to trust you
When you have a brand, customers and prospects trust you more because they’ve known you to consistently deliver on your offer. They clearly know what you’re about, who your brand is for and what kind of products you offer.
Would you rather buy a detergent with no name or a name that is unfamiliar or a name you know?
You might never have used the detergent brand but because you know the brand (perhaps you’ve used one of their products before or seen them somewhere), you go for the branded detergent. You trust that the detergent will be better than the unbranded detergent or the one with a brand you know nothing of.
That is how branding works and that’s how it gets customers and prospects to trust them.
If a business is known to consistently deliver on what they say they do, they are building a brand where people know what they are known for and can trust them to deliver well.
With proper branding, the brand begins to gain customers that truly love them and a customer that truly loves a brand is a great evangelist for that brand. As a business, you know the power of word of mouth right?
Branding does this for you.
#2 It sets you apart and makes what you offer and stand for clear
When you brand your business properly, it means you have identified your unique value proposition; what sets you apart from every other brand in your industry.
Branding your business also let’s you carefully identify your target market and strategically position your business to meet their need.
As a result, what your business does becomes clear. There’s no confusion on what you do, why you do it and how you do it. This makes the people who you’re for come to you; it attracts your ideal customer.
For instance, someone looking for an affordable bag will most likely go to a business that sells affordable bag rather than one that sells all kinds of bag, both affordable and high-end brand. There’s no confusion about who can meet the need if this person better.
Stand out, be clear about your brand message.
#3 Increased business value
Branding your business the right way can cause your business to have more perceived value.
When you create a brand that stands out in people’s mind, they think your products are better. It’s why two (2) products can be the same price but people can pick one as being better.
It’s because they’ve known the brand to consistently do what they do, they trust them, and so they pick them. For all you know, the less known brand might be the better product but it is what it is. This is what good branding does for you.
#4 More customers
Branding can get you more customers. People get to talk about you and you get noticed more, especially if you’re unique. Knowing what you do and branding your business well brings new customers your way.
#5 It makes your brand memorable
A good brand is a memorable one. People tend to remember them. The more a brand stands out, gives value to its customers and connects with them, the more memorable they become.
Branding is a continuous and gradual process, it never ends. As a business, being intentional about properly branding your business will prove beneficial to you now and in the long-run. You should consider it and go for it.
Yes, go for it!