In the age of social media, it seems that everyone and everything has a brand. We know that branding is critical to business success and brand recognition, but what exactly is it, and what are the essential branding techniques?
What is Branding?
We need to know what a brand is before we understand what branding entails. A brand is the image, identity, or reputation of a company. It’s not the company itself, but rather how you present and how people perceive the company. Branding is the process of establishing this reputation, of telling people who you are and what you do.
Branding goes beyond advertising. It includes all aspects of marketing and customer service, impacting every stage of the customer journey. It’s essential to business success because it increases brand recognition. The more a customer feels they know you and your brand, the more likely they are to trust and purchase your product or service.
Establish a Brand Voice
Before you recruit customers, you must determine how you want to talk to them. What do you want them to feel when they read your calls to action or hear your advertisements as they scroll through social media? Should you come across as inspirational and optimistic or neutral and assertive? The answer depends on your products and objectives and looks different for every business. However, all companies must maintain a consistent brand tone across their marketing platforms to ensure a reliable and enjoyable customer experience.
A brand voice includes more than the words you use. You have to set guidelines for your company’s visuals, including fonts, colors, and graphics. Consistency increases recognition, and customers should know what to expect when interacting with your brand. For example, your poly mailers should utilize the same patterns and color schemes customers will see on your website and social media channels. When you establish parameters for how your business interacts with and appears to customers, you also give your team clarity on their projects and responsibilities.
Update Your Marketing Strategy
Your branding guidelines and objectives should inform your marketing strategies. If you’re not sure what you want your brand reputation to look like, it’s always best to start with the customer. Identify your target audience and ask yourself: What kind of solution or support do these people need? If you’re trying to reach college students on a budget, you want to be relatable and informed. Your reviews and mission statements should reflect your desire to provide the best products for the least expense.
Once you’ve identified what your target audience needs, you can discover where they are and what marketing techniques appeal to them. You can focus on the marketing platforms these customers frequently use and run tests to determine what CTAs and ad formats work for them.
Remember, a big part of a brand’s identity is its customer base. Show them that you are who they need you to be.
Focus on Brand Equity
Branding doesn’t stop at marketing. It’s essential throughout the customer journey, from awareness to purchase. Thus, your branding efforts should also focus on the quality of your products and content.
Effective marketing paired with quality products and services equals a positive brand reputation. If you fulfill your promises to customers, you establish rapport and build a loyal audience. Let the content you share add value to the customer experience. Give them advice and expertise on issues relevant to your field. Engage with them directly and partner with other brands who can provide something new yet complementary. Customers will remember and recommend brands that offer real solutions. The aesthetics that come with branding are important, but you can focus on them later.
Finally, your branding should also come from an authentic desire to help customers. If it’s solely for sales, even the most attractive branding techniques will appear hollow. When you embark on the branding journey, write mission and vision statements and stick to them. Your words must always align with your actions.
Highlight What Makes You Unique
Ideally, your branding efforts leave customers wanting more. You can accomplish this by focusing on how your brand adds unique value to your market. Identify your strengths and make them a part of your identity. In your advertisements and messages, inform customers what makes your brand stand out from competitors.
Uplift your brand story. People connect with stories. The more they know about how your brand came to be and who you are behind the brand name, the more they’ll trust you and develop emotional connections to your social mission and market objectives.
Branding provides clarity. When you show up consistently to meet or exceed customer expectations, customers form positive associations with and opinions of your brand. You also give them and your employees the resources they need to promote your brand. Without a focused vision and direction, businesses cannot establish a loyal customer base and consistent revenue.