When it comes to running a successful business, it doesn’t get any more important than branding. Imagine a world without Nike’s ‘Just Do It’ slogan and iconic tick symbol. Can you imagine closing your eyes and visualising Coca Cola without seeing the company’s legendary red and white logo?
But branding goes beyond a pretty logo or clever four word slogan; although both of these attributes are paramount. Branding is everything that makes up the identity and voice of your brand. It is what your company stands for, what it represents and what it offers to the world. It’s paramount you understand what branding is, why it’s important and how to use it to make your company successful.
What is branding?
It’s likely that when asked what branding actually is, you’ll immediately think of a company logo. In fact, many people even confuse the word ‘brand’ with ‘logo’, thinking they are one and the same. Not true. Although your logo plays a pretty damn important part in your company’s branding.
Branding is actually the process involved in creating a unique name and image in a consumer’s mind about your company and its product or service. This is mainly done through advertising campaigns with a consistent theme, although it’s important not to confuse branding with marketing.
Branding vs. Marketing
Even though both branding and marketing play huge roles in making your company successful, they are actually significantly different. One way to describe their difference would be to use the analogy of ‘pushing’ and ‘pulling’. Marketing acts in a way that ‘pushes’ your product or service towards your customers, while branding acts to ‘pull’ them in. It does this by simply saying “this is what I am and what I do”. It then leaves it up to the potential customer to decide whether they want to engage with your product or service.
Ultimately, branding aims to establish a significant and unique presence in the market that draws in and retains loyal customers. It is for this reason that branding is more than just your friend. It’s your best friend, lover and kindred spirit you didn’t know you needed to meet. Once you’ve mastered the art of branding your business, you are well on the way to watch it flourish and thrive.
Why is branding important?
There are countless reasons why branding is important essential for your business. Above all though, it’s a process used to develop a visual identity and unique voice for your brand, allowing customers to recognise, engage and trust it. This will ultimately lead to an increase in sales, and more importantly in customers who return to your product or service.
Your brand’s visual identity
As a writer, I’d love to say that above all it’s the words that make your brand what it is. And in many ways it is, as it’s the name of your brand that your customers will need to keep in their minds, so you’ll want to decide on a unique, fresh and memorable name that perfectly represents your brand.
But beyond this, it’s the visual identity of your company that tops the pyramid of priorities when it comes to branding. The imagery and visuals you use across your website and marketing channels will need to be individualistic and appealing; the aim being for your customer to instantly recognise your brand when they see your branding. But above all, your logo will need to epitomise your brand in regards to its visual identity.
Deciding on the right logo can take anywhere between a few minutes and half a year! Hire a graphic designer with the right skills to turn your vision into life; they will want to understand what your brand’s about and who its demographic is before creating a logo that perfectly defines your company ethos.
Your brand’s unique tone of voice
Once you’ve established your brand’s visual identity, you’ll next want to determine its unique tone of voice. As discussed previously, creating a tone of voice for your brand is fundamental to its success for many reasons. It makes your brand unique, it creates consistency and it reveals the faces behind the brand.
To develop a tone of voice, you first need to know your target audience. Both the demographic of your customers and the type of product or service you are selling will hugely effect the language you use across your website and social channels. You’ll also need to know your brand, which might sound obvious but it’s incredible how many business owners have trouble with developing a tone of voice simply because they don’t know their own brand’s USP.
Last but certainly not least, you’ll want to hire a copywriter to help you turn the vision of your brand’s tone of voice into actual words. Whether you work with a copywriter on an adhoc basis or hire one for the long-run, a copywriter will help you tell your brand’s unique story. And just like a skilled graphic designer, an experienced copywriter will get to know the vision you have for your brand to help them put together a coherent style guide detailing your business’ unique tone of voice.
Finding success through branding
Ultimately, the aim of the game is to create a business that is profitable. Simple as that, right? Second to only your product or service, branding will act as the driving force behind reaching this success – but it’s not an overnight win. When it comes to creating quality branding, you’re in it for the long haul – it’s about building trust and recognition between your company and your customers.
Developing a brand that has a fresh and unique visual identity and tone of voice will help all your future marketing strategies, from blogging and EDMs to paid advertising opportunities and social media. Get your branding right at the beginning, and everything else will fall into place over time.
Start sowing the seeds now for the brand of your dreams, and you’ll soon be watching the hard-earned fruits of your labour grow.