Branding can be a difficult concept to grasp. Us marketing people tend to forget that, while our minds run wild with colour psychology and word associations. So, I wanted to take a moment to explain what a brand is and why it's important.
What is a brand?
A brand is the personification of an organization. Think of your business like it's a person; it has values, characteristics, a voice and a vision for the future. Maybe your business has a favourite colour, or it hangs out with athletes, or it always answers the phone with a signature hello.
A brand is what marks the difference between competitors. Assuming all else is equal, consumers will buy a product or service from a business that they find more likeable than their competitor.
Creating a clear and authentic brand is just ensuring that you are putting your company's best foot forward in building that reputation.
You need a developed brand because it:
- Provides direction in business decisions by articulating the organization's mission and vision
- Introduces your business to the public
- Communicates a likable personality to consumers
- Guides your marketing strategy
- Makes communications cohesive and clear
- Builds brand awareness, making it easier for your target audience to find you
- Develops a relationship with the buyer
- Gives your business a level of professionalism and credibility
So, that's what a brand is, and that's why it's important!
I've had to explain branding to my own Father on a few occasions. As the owner of an Auto Parts store for over 20 years, he didn't see the necessity for a brand. And while part of this was because of his industry and the other part was because of the economy at the time, the truth is:
To be successful is to have a brand
The Auto Parts Store's brand was about the people behind the counter. The friendly guys that had been working there for literally decades. The type of employees that would spend 2 hours searching for a $7 part, just because they valued good customer service. It was the kind of company that hosted annual barbecue's with show cars and a free meal for all their clients because they appreciated their business so much. My dad was the type of business owner that was a man about town, knew everyone's name, and could talk your ear off about the new local brewery or pizza place.
People did business with the Auto Parts Store because they inherently knew they would receive good customer service, they would be appreciated, and they would be supporting a local business that supported the community. That is a brand. Now, how did people know this? 20 years of hard ass work. The practical reason for developing a focused and genuine brand is that it easily and quickly communicates why your ideal clients should do business with you, as opposed to relying on 20 years worth of chances to prove yourself. My job is to speed up the process by helping you uncover those authentic characteristics, analyze their competitive advantage, and communicate it to your ideal clients.