Every business owner struggles with defining their business objective and ensuring their marketing efforts match who they want to be as a company. It’s important to begin and ask yourself what your business stands for, who you want to serve, and what you want to communicate to your customer. Those that get it right, not only have a business but a brand that resonates with their current and future customers.
But, what makes a business a brand? More importantly: is your business really a brand? These are important questions all business owners need to ask themselves when developing a brand identity and we’re here to provide some insight into how to brand your business and what branding means overall.
Branding is a lot more than simply having a business name, logo and catchphrase. One of the best definitions comes from Entrepreneur. They define branding as your promise to your customers, setting expectations for your product or service and how it differentiates you from your competitors. This means that your brand is derived from who you are as a company, and everything that your company does, from logo design, to marketing messaging and the stories your advertisements tell.
Take Apple, for example. Their business logo design, the overall design of their devices, and marketing message all fit within their brand identity. So whenever people see a new Apple product, they don’t have to think much, they automatically associate whatever Apple does with their brand and inherent values. Apple has even differentiated themselves from their competition, especially in the eyes of their customers. For example, they have made sure to differentiate their brand from Microsoft, painting them as more of the “old school” company. Apple is one example of branding at its best, communicating what their company stands for and most importantly, why they’re different.
The challenge for you is to think about your own business, market, and competition. Consider what comes to mind and how these answers might be able to form your very own brand identity. Branding a business often involves developing creative elements that will be used consistently in your marketing efforts to maintain a congruent look and feel across all of your advertising.
Another point to emphasize is that just because you have a logo doesn’t necessarily mean that you have a brand. While anyone can hire a creative team or graphic designer to come up with a logo, you need to make sure that logo reflects who you are as a business on a deeper level. It also has to fit in with the rest of your marketing or brand messaging. Whole Foods is a good example, as their logo meshes with their overall messaging as a healthy and natural grocery chain.
Marketing is a great way to create and develop your brand. What’s important is that you utilize marketing to create your brand image and maintain a consistent point of view throughout. Marketing is an effective way to help brand your business because you can proactively reach out to those who are likely to respond positively to your brand. Consider the following tips from Entrepreneur about using marketing to build your brand:
There should definitely be a strategy behind branding your business. More specifically, branding your business requires an effective marketing strategy that fits in with how you plan on going to market. When you lay out a marketing plan, you’ll be able to develop your branding within that framework and effectively get the word out. Here are three basic branding strategy steps that will help you create a basic framework:
The best brands are typically those that are differentiated and stand out from the pack. In today’s world consumers attention spans are shrinking because they are exposed to so many different messages wherever they go. Here are a few best practices to help your business stand out:
What makes a successful business a brand goes well beyond a cleverly designed logo: it’s a reflection of your company’s values and personality. By following some of the strategies and tactics outlined above, you’ll be on the path to developing a brand that reflects you and your business in a way that will help you develop meaningful, long-term relationships with your customers.