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As a business, you can brand anything. Products. Services. Ideas. Yourself. Absolutely anything!
And, to be honest, it’s not just that you can. It’s actually more of a should. At least, that is, if you want to stand out in an increasingly crowded market place and do things like increase your revenue by 33%.
But if you find yourself thinking: “That sounds great! But what exactly is branding in the first place?” don’t you worry. In this post, we’re going to answer common questions about branding and show you why it’s important for the success of your business.
Here’s a quick preview of the questions and topics we’ll cover:
Let’s dig into that first question now!
To put it simply, branding is the process of trying to shape how people think and feel about your business and whatever it is you’re selling. It’s the strategic curation of your business’s identity. Its reputation. Its values. Its power to persuade consumers’ subconscious with a voice that says “I’ve made products for people just like you!”
“A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well. Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.” – Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO
Branding is fundamental to everything you do as a business. Which is why, whether you’ve actively engaged in the process of branding or not, your business definitely has a brand. Think about it for a second. How would your customers describe your company? How about your employees? How about you?
If you find your answers to be vague, simple or incohesive, that’s a sign you haven’t yet created a strong brand. It’s a signal that your business would benefit from a more thoughtful approach to branding. But when you have so many other things to worry about — acquiring and retaining customers, ensuring the quality of your product, hiring the right team, and so much more -- why should you direct your attention to branding?
Let’s take a look at some reasons, including recent statistics, that highlight the importance of having a strategic approach to branding.
The marketplace is crowded. Unless, of course, you’re selling something 100% unique. We’re talking about something that’s never been done before and extremely difficult to replicate.
That’s not the case for most businesses. So, we’ll say it again: the marketplace is crowded. And consumers -- your potential customers -- are looking for anything that helps sway them towards buying from one company over another. Branding aids your consumers in this process. How?
Alright, so now that you know some of the main reasons branding is important for your business, you probably want to know what actually goes into creating a strong brand. Keep reading to find out.
Take a moment and think of a brand you know and love. Perhaps a well known brand like Nike, Coca-Cola, or Apple.
Now, if you had to guess a few elements of that brand, what comes to mind?
Is it the logo? A slogan? Or, maybe, what that company last posted on their Instagram or Twitter?
Are these things part of what makes up a brand? Yes. But are they what we mean by brand elements? Sort of... but not exactly. Let us show you what we mean.
First and foremost, strong branding means understanding who your target audience is and knowing them well.
What are they like? How would they define themselves? Where do they live? What motivates them to buy? What’s their buying habit? Where do they go for more information before deciding on a purchase?
Strong brands know the answers to all of those questions and more. Why? Because only then can you target the message of your branding directly at the type of consumer most likely to feel a sense of connection to your brand and buy from you over your competitors.
Brand awareness represents how familiar your target audience is with your brand and how well they recognize it. Brands with high brand awareness are generally referred to as “trending,” “buzzworthy, or simply “popular.”
Strong brands value and work to build brand awareness by having not only a clear understanding of their brand target but also their brand identity.
Strong brands know that establishing brand awareness is valuable when marketing and promoting your company and products, especially when you’re just getting started.
Whether a brand has thousands of competitors or just one, consumers are attracted to brands that offer something they’ve never seen before, helping them stay ahead of the curve.
According to a study conducted by Lab42, 84 percent of consumers think it’s somewhat or very important that the company they purchase from is innovative.
Strong brands are innovative whenever they “disrupt” the industry in some way. Maybe it’s through targeting an untouched segment of the market. Maybe it’s by improving the customer experience.
Strong branding takes time and consistency, which makes having a brand strategy essential.
A brand strategy is a long-term plan that, according to Marketing Land, takes into account what your brand stands for, what promise it makes to customers, and the personality it conveys through marketing.
By having a brand strategy, strong brands can make sure their short term goals and long term goals are aligned and strategically make decisions that contribute to building a loyal customer base.
A great product or service isn’t enough to fuel your business’ growth. To thrive, your company has to attract customers and build their trust with honest, unique messaging. Brand storytelling helps you relate to your customers on a more personal level. Why? The human brain is wired to respond to well-crafted narrative -- neuroscience proves that storytelling is the best way to capture people’s attention, bake information into their memories, and forge close, personal bonds.
When you tell your entire company story—your purpose, values, how you benefit others—people realize that they share the same beliefs and aspirations as your brand. With this connection, they’re eager to find out more about your product.
Strong brands see brand marketing as an investment strategy.
That’s because, different from traditional forms of marketing, brand marketing isn’t focused on things that can be measured as easily as things like lead generation or conversion rates. Instead, brand marketing focuses more on building brand awareness, creating ongoing relationships with your target audience, and solidifying your brand’s identity.
Similar to brand marketing, brand advertising focuses more on building long-term connections with consumers.
Rather than just creating an ad to showcase a product for consumers to buy, brand advertising gives consumers a look into the company’s values and shows them who their products are made for.
Overtime, brand advertising helps to build a brand’s identity and credibility while increasing a sense of loyalty among prospects and customers.
Meeting and exceeding the expectations of consumers is something strong brands do well.
That’s because a brand's perceived quality will come to define how consumers talk about your company and the product alike.
A survey conducted by Yotpo found that 55.3% of consumers are brand loyal because they love the product. They also found 51.3% of consumers would say poor product quality is the number one reason why they would stop being loyal to a brand.
Strong brands know that the best kind of customer is a loyal customer. You know what we mean, right? The type of customer that keeps coming back no matter what new product or service a competitor just launched. When that level of brand loyalty is achieved, you have customers who refer to themselves almost like members of the company. For example, are you more a Pepsi or Coca-Cola person? Apple or Android?
Brand loyalty is achieved by consciously working on all of the branding elements over time.
Now that you know what goes into building a brand is, let’s see what it looks like in action! Here are 3 of our favorite examples of companies with strong branding.
Founded in New York City in 2004 by Matthew Malin and Andrew Goetz, MALIN + GOTEZ is a luxury skin care company that caters to consumers with sensitive skin. But through strategic branding, it’s also much more than that.
The philosophy of MALIN + GOETZ is to combine natural ingredients with advanced technology to create uncomplicated skincare and fragrance for the modern, design-conscious individual. What we love most about this brand is that they have clearly reflected that philosophy in their brand identity.
From the design of their stores that are reminiscent of traditional apothecaries to their modern packaging that invite consumers to closely examine their products’ ingredients, MALIN + GOETZ aren’t just selling their customers a skincare product. They’re selling a modern luxury experience for customers who need a natural skin care routine.
“Long story short, we’ve found that the best products are the ones that tell a story. You want to make an emotional connection with your customers too.” - Matthew Malin and Andrew Goetz, Founders of MALIN + GOETZ
Canada Goose is a proud Canadian company that’s been making extreme weather outerwear since 1957. With over 60 years of entrepreneurial spirit and industry know-how driving it, the company is an unstoppable force within the ever-evolving world of outerwear thanks to its very particular set of core values.
For some time now Canada Goose has steered clear of traditional marketing tools, such as glossy ad campaigns, in favor of simple word of mouth. Operating in such an unconventional manner has enabled the brand to cut pricey promotional overheads to retain its home-grown manufacturing facet, which of course is a critical component of its modern infrastructure, if not the most imperative.
While word of mouth allows Canada Goose’s coveted star and luxury identity to continue rising, so do the brand’s unique and captivating anecdotes. Canada Goose has accompanied generation after generation through a myriad of expeditions so it only seems fitting that the brand would go on to launch ‘Goose People’ – an initiative highlighting these individuals and their extreme adventures.
Shortly after Goose People’s inception, Ray Zahab – a proud representative of Canada Goose, entered the Guinness Book of World Records for his trek to the South Pole – a journey that saw him on foot without skis and that lasted 33 days, 23 hours and 55 minutes in total, the fastest time ever recorded. It is the brand’s commitment and flair for these harsh environments which bolsters its strong presence around the globe.
“To many people, owning a Canada Goose jacket is like owning a little piece of Canada, and for that they’re willing to pay a premium.” — Dan Reiss, CEO of Canada Goose
Founded in 2002 by brothers Jeremy and Keston Muijs, the Grown Alchemist is an Australian skincare company that brands itself as scientifically-innovative, holistic, and a “bio-compatible” beauty company of the future.
Their natural beauty formulas are gorgeously packaged in a way that feels modern while also scientific. As you get to know more about the brand’s philosophy and story, those qualities make perfect sense.
The inspiration for Grown Alchemist comes from the brothers discovering ground breaking research on the benefits of natural active ingredients to improve skin health and reverse the signs of aging.
We love that you can see reference to that brand story not only in the product packaging, but also in the no B.S. visual design and copy, the simplicity in their trademark skincare system, and the multidisciplinary team of skin scientists, cosmetic chemists and nutritionists behind each of their products.
“That’s the hallmark of who we are at the core, a premium clean beauty brand. This combined with our relentless pursuit of incorporating the highest grade of organic, active ingredients is what we believe sets our brand apart from others in the industry.” — Jeremy and Keston Muijs, Founders of Grown Alchemist
Brands are everywhere. But not all brands are strong, memorable, and capable of swaying a consumer to go with their cash one way or another. If you have a feeling that your brand is not quite where it could be, we hope you can use what you’ve learned in this post to start making some changes!
And, if you want some help really perfecting your brand strategy, reach out to schedule a free consultation with our creative team. No matter what you sell, you can and should brand your business. But do you know what branding is? If not, read to learn why it’s key to your company’s success.