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What does branding actually mean?

The term “branding” often conjures images of logos and colour palettes, however, branding is so much more than just the visual elements. Think about a brand you love hearing from – how do you recognise their emails in your inbox? Their emails likely jump out to you amongst all the other emails because of the way they speak to you even in that short subject line. That’s a part of their branding.

What does branding include?

A brand encompasses everything your business does; it’s the way you speak to your customers, the way you interact with them, the emotional response they have when they see your marketing. It’s the entire customer experience from the first time they set eyes on your content or products.

When you have a cohesive, strong brand, your customers will recognise your content even if there isn’t a logo present. It sets expectations and develops trust, conveying clearly what you’re all about, what you offer, and how you communicate.

Why does branding matter?

When all your branding is cohesive, it:

  • Makes you instantly recognisable. From your visual assets and colours to the words you use in your copy, it all ties together to make you you. It separates you from other businesses in your industry and helps your customers connect with you.

  • It speaks to your ideal customer. Our ideal customers are the lifeblood of our businesses, they are a pleasure to serve, share the same values, and will buy from us over any other choice when we speak to them effectively. When your branding is spot on, your customers will have that inner voice that says, “this is for me” when they see you.

  • It gives you authority. The biggest brands in the world are instantly recognisable and trustworthy, even to those of us that have never bought from them. Those brands are much more likely to win our business if we’re in the market for what they offer because we recognise them.

    Think of it this way, imagine you are going to buy a snack and there are two choices on the shelf: KitKat and a bar you’ve never seen before. Unless that unknown bar offers you something special, you’ll choose the KitKat because you’ve seen it everywhere.

  • Your marketing campaigns become more effective. Strong branding makes it much easier to build brand awareness. Your ads and marketing materials will become recognisable, meaning you aren’t starting from scratch with every new advertising or marketing campaign. It typically takes 5-7 impressions before a person will remember a brand, so strong branding can ensure you make an impression quickly. When you have strong branding many people in the audience you reach with a campaign will already have heard of you, know of you, and may even like you, which will increase your conversion rates.

  • It increases trust, loyalty, and customer retention. People don’t often enjoy surprises – we’re much more likely to buy from a company we know what to expect from than try something new. If we’re travelling, we’ll head to a well-known brand to buy what we need over trying something new because we know what to expect from the customer experience.

  • Increases employee satisfaction. Employees that work for a company with a strong brand experience more pride and satisfaction in their work. There is no ambiguity around what the company they work for stands for and are happy to tell other people who they work for. This positive outlook and knowing that the company’s values align with their own also passes on to the clients and other stakeholders they speak to.

  • It streamlines content creation. When you’ve got strong brand guidelines you can pass on to anyone working for you, the creation of your content becomes faster and requires fewer revisions before it’s ready to go. Think about how easy it is to hand a brand sheet to a designer to create the visuals for a new campaign, or your brand voice information to a copywriter to create your next ad campaign. Everyone involved can understand your brand at-a-glance.

How do you create a strong brand?

Creating a strong brand should start with your values and vision. If your values aren’t aligned with the client you’re serving, you’re going to fail to create a strong brand and ultimately have difficulty landing new customers.

Next, you should consider what makes you different and why your ideal customer loves you over your competitors. What language does your ideal client use that you can reflect back to them? How do you solve their problem differently and better than your competition? You should emphasise what makes you different.

You should also consider what turns the wrong customers off your business. Strong branding does not appeal to everyone, so make sure you speak to your ideal customers regularly to find out what they love about your business. When you find something they love but turns others off, don’t shy away from talking about it! It’s those differences that turn ideal customers into fans who will evangelise your business to other people because you serve them so much better than anyone else on the market.

If you’re ready to take your brand to the next level and develop a strong brand from the ground up, we’re here to help. We have a digital-first approach to brand creation to reflect our increasingly digital world, and can help you create the right assets to properly establish your brand in your marketplace. To find out more about our brand design services, click here.

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