What is a brand?
Your brand goes beyond your logo, and it’s more than your visual identity. It’s what people associate with you when they think of your company. It’s what they think and how they feel about your business. It’s your look and your feel, but also your voice and your message. Who are you? Why are you here? And how can you help me? Answering these questions honestly, and from your customers’ point of view, can give you some insight into exactly how important your brand is.
You could have the most efficient operation in your industry, but without clear and effective branding, your business could be operating at a mere fraction of its potential, or even worse, falling behind the industry. By connecting with your audience in meaningful ways, your brand can help potential clients and customers quickly identify what your focus is.
Why does it matter so much?
The brand is remarkable in that it is the first and perhaps most powerful way to differentiate your company from your competitors. With a rapidly changing economic landscape, and a never-ending flood of information at people’s fingertips, it’s more important than ever to distinguish yourself from the pack. The best way to attract the high quality clientele you desire for your business is to build your brand with a highly focused vision and create a strong presence within your industry.
Imagine a prospect encounters your brand for the first time. Does it convey confidence? Longevity? Integrity? Will they invest with you? Or consider other options? Will they make the call to discuss business with you? Or look for a “better fit?” Your brand absolutely influences these behaviors.
The way you brand your company will affect how you connect with your customers on a deeper level. Branding is so important because it helps gain trust from clients and can give you an advantage with stakeholders. By expressing your company’s personality, it allows potential clients to get a feel for what it would be like to work with you. Your brand should reflect the culture of your company and exemplify the values and commitment you hold yourselves to.
How does it happen?
Building a great brand is an intensive process. And with so much riding on the success of your brand, this is clearly one area where DIYers should take a seat. But no matter what path you take toward branding, you should be focused on three goals a successful brand should accomplish: attract high quality clients and customers to your business, build trust and recognition among clientele, and differentiate you from the competition. Let’s take a closer look at these three objectives:
1. Attracting High Quality Clients
To have a brand that attracts the types clients and customers you want, you have to understand their needs and wants. And there’s no room for guesswork. Ask them. By truly understanding your clients’ needs, you can begin figuring out how to let them know how you can help. By figuring out why you “exist”, you’ll begin to understand what your customers expect from you, and your brand should reflect that.
2. Building Trust
Building trust amongst your clientele can be facilitated through branding, but it certainly isn’t an overnight process. It takes serious work. This is why focus and strategy are critical elements in building your brand. Make sure your brand properly projects the attitude of your business and that your website leaves a lasting impression on its visitors. Ultimately, you need to put your money where your mouth is. Commit to your mission and don’t cut corners. By providing top quality products and services, your experience with your audience will build their trust. Your brand can be effective in letting prospects know what kind of experience they can expect when working with you.
3. Differentiating You
Your brand absolutely must differentiate your business. Cutting through the noise and rising above the competition is no small task. But this is exactly what a brand can do for you – through a powerful combination of visuals and messaging, your brand can explain and represent just what it is that makes your organization different. Your brand is a high-power attorney pleading your case, making your arguments, and explaining to the world why you are here and how you can help.
If you are thinking about your brand, and wondering if it is carrying the weight it should, you’re not alone. There are more than a few poorly conceived brands out there. But understanding how branding impacts your relationship with your customers is an important first step.