Build a Brand and Watch It Grow
You might not be Nike (Just Do It) or the California Milk Processing Board (Got Milk?), but defining your brand is important for companies large and small. At Normal Bear, we say we redefine normal brands, but what exactly does that mean? It means that we make your company identity memorable, and distinct from your competitors. Branding is everything from your company name to your logo, to the tone you use with content, to providing a continuity of design.
Branding, by definition, is a marketing practice that helps to identify a product and distinguish it from other products and services. It’s important because it not only makes a memorable impression on consumers but defines the expectations of your customers. It clarifies what it is you offer, and what makes you the best choice. Your brand is built to be the true representation of who you are as a business, and how you wish to be perceived.
Marketing is Not Branding
Branding and marketing work together, but are not the same thing. In a nutshell, branding is strategic, marketing is execution. Marketing is about promoting products or services to drive sales. Branding is about communicating your business’ values, ethics, personality, and overall story.
Branding is so much bigger than any single marketing initiative and will inform all the marketing you do. While your marketing efforts will change to respond to economic, supply, or other conditions, your well-thought-out brand strategy is there forever (well, there are reasons to rebrand, but that’s another discussion)
Why Branding is Important
Branding is absolutely critical to your business because of the overall impact it makes on your company and its bottom line. It can change how people perceive your brand, it can drive new business and increase brand awareness. Branding is important for:
Good branding brings recognition. This is one reason your logo is the most important element of your branding: it’s essentially the face of your company. Your logo design should be powerful and easily memorable and make an impression at first glance. The Nike “swoosh” makes you think of movement, appropriate to an athletic brand. Target uses circles, well, because their name is “Target.” The point is that you want a logo that evokes an emotion about your brand and also has a descriptive quality, if possible.
Increased Business Value
A strongly established brand can increase the value of your business by giving your company more leverage in your particular industry. This not only makes it a more appealing investment opportunity but can increase the price if you decide to sell.
Generating New Business
Strong branding generally means that your business leaves a positive impression on consumers, which means they’re likely to do business with you because of the familiarity and assumed dependability of using a name they can trust. Once your brand is well-established, word-of-mouth will be your best and most effective advertising technique.
Creating Trust in the Marketplace
Well-strategized branding will help your company build trust with current and potential customers. And are more likely to do business with a company that has a polished and professional face. Proper branding gives the impression that your company is an expert in its industry, which invokes trust in your company, the products and services you offer, and in the way you conduct business.
Supporting Advertising – the Style Guide
Branding supports your advertising, and advertising should support your branding. A style guide contains all the acceptable (and unacceptable) ways to use your logo, brand colors, fonts, and imagery.
Improving Employee Pride and Satisfaction
An employee who works for a strongly branded company that truly stands behind the brand will have more job satisfaction and a higher degree of pride in the work that they do. Having a branded office can often help employees have a sense of belonging to the company, and can impress potential new hires as well as clients.
It’s Important To Stand Out
The world is awash with brands, and they are all competing with each other for visibility. If you want your brand to be noticed among all of this competition, it must stand out. You can do that by making sure your brand not only has but demonstrates these seven qualities:
1. Be Original
Don’t attempt to mimic a competitor’s branding. It will just create confusion. And your messaging should not rely on clichés and sales jargon. This isn’t going to resonate with your target audience or any audience for that matter. Find an angle that no one else has taken to develop a voice and image that is completely your own.
2. Be Sincere
Your brand needs to demonstrate sincerity. If you respond to all your customers on social media with the same canned corporate response, people are going to see you as a soulless machine that only cares about turning a profit. Show your human side to make a human connection. Create a personality for your brand and speak to customers the way you would speak to at least an acquaintance, or even better, a friend. It may take some time to find the perfect tone, but in the long run, you’ll be building relationships that inspire loyalty.
3. Understand Your Audience
You demonstrate your understanding of your audience by creating messaging that is relevant for only one target niche. For example, if you’re targeting seniors, you might mention a common problem for them, like mobility issues. This demonstrates a degree of sympathy and understanding of their problem that instantly makes you relatable. Over time, this will lead to increased interactions with your brand, which will lead to increased traffic to your website or physical location and more sales.
4. Be Bold
When it comes to branding, risk often leads to reward. A bold brand is not afraid to experiment with new techniques or to take a stand on controversial issues in their industry. These brands can alienate a portion of their audience, but they inspire more loyalty and respect from the rest. Be bold, and don’t run the risk of being seen as boring or “just another brand.”
5. Be Consistent
If your brand standards are not clearly defined, or they are being executed with varying degrees of effectiveness, you might end up alienating your audience. The goal is to get your followers and readers to stick around as long as possible by giving them a sense of familiarity and predictability. Lockdown your brand standards early and ensure that all team members working on your campaigns use them.
6. Be Visible
Make your brand as visible as possible to build your reputation. Leverage opportunities to diversify your strategy and use every possible appropriate medium to promote your messaging.
7. Offer Value
Your brand can stand out by offering more value than its competitors. Offer value in terms of better, more informative content, or a strong dedication to personalized customer service. Think about things that make you different and better. Originality plays a role here, too, so think carefully about what’s most appealing to your customers. Without a strong brand, you’ll just be more white noise to the average consumer.
We’re Branding Gurus
Branding is a complex process, but at Normal Bear, it’s just all in a day’s work. An effective brand design creates a cohesive look for your business – one that represents your brand’s unique values. Don’t leave the public perception of your brand to chance – we’ll build and shape your brand. We’ll forge an identity that perfectly and exquisitely reflects your company by creating elements that shape your branding design and accurately represent your brand’s personality.