Branding in Brief
As a company, you hear a lot about “branding” and the importance of “building your brand” as a business. It’s easy to know that branding is important, after all that’s what everybody says, but what actually is branding? And why is it so important to businesses of all sizes, not just the major corporations with essentially unlimited marketing resources?
Branding is a way of identifying your business, giving your business a “personality” to distinguish it from other businesses in your field. Your company’s brand should embody the core of your business and your business values. It’s important to note that branding is not just about having a fancy logo or image associated with your business — it also includes the intangible sides of the business, such as the values your company stands for and meanings and perceptions customers take from your brand traits, as well as how it looks and feels.
So why is branding so important? First and foremost, branding improves company recognition. The more well established your branding is, the easier it is for consumers to identify your company. Some larger companies even go so far as to have Pantone formulate a proprietary color that is specific to their brand. This can be seen in companies such as Target and UPS. I’m sure you would recognize the distinctive red color of Target’s branding, as well as the iconic UPS brown.
In addition to improving company recognition, branding also supports any marketing efforts you are employing by helping consumers connect with your company. Branding is a part of marketing, and if it is successful, your customers will have an emotional connection to your brand that will instill confidence about your company. This leads to buyer motivation and, if all goes well, to customer loyalty.
Last but not least, branding will increase word-of-mouth referrals. When your brand is easily identified, it will be more likely to stick in someone’s head, which makes it that much more likely that someone will recommend your company to others.
There is research to suggest that almost 50% of consumers consider becoming loyal to a brand during their very first purchase. A strong brand increases consumer confidence, even before the purchase takes place. Branding isn’t just for large, established companies with big marketing budgets; in fact, because of the sheer number of small businesses that exist in competition, it may be more important for the small business to have a concise and recognizable brand presence.