You may have heard of the term "branding" being tossed around quite a bit, and with good reason. More than ever, having an effective brand and strategy is crucial for attracting clients. It is becoming more difficult to get noticed online and in stores, with so many competitors offering the same type of products and services. So, how do you stand out among everyone else? By having a killer brand.
What is Branding?
Formal Definition: The marketing practice of creating a design and aesthetic that identifies and differentiates a product or company from other products and companies.
Simply, your brand tells your customers about you and your products, as well as what to expect from your company. It differentiates your offering from that of your competitors; it is who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be.
I like to describe a brand similar to building a house. The foundation of your brand is your logo. Everything else, from your website, packaging, secondary logos, and promotional materials, are the walls, doors, and windows to your brand. By just using a logo, that would be the equivalent to building the foundation of a house - and then stopping. There are no walls, doors or windows. So, you wouldn't invite someone over to your house if you just had the foundation, and it is the same with branding. You can't have just a logo, you need everything else that goes with it.
How to Create a New Brand
First, you should hire a brand stylist (or brand specialist) to assist you in creating a new brand. Please note that there are many graphic designers that just provide logos; they are not brand stylists. I don't recommend purchasing a logo only; first, the logo is resold to other businesses, so hundreds of businesses have the same logo. Second, you are missing core fundamentals needed for your brand.
When working with a brand stylist, they will be able to ask specific questions to you about your business to build the perfect brand for your company. Some questions will include: What is your ideal client's age range? Are they male or female? Where else do they like to shop? In order to brand effectively, you must know who your ideal client is (or who you want them to be) as well as where you want your business to go in the future. A brand stylist can assist you with not only the visual aspect, but the strategic piece as well. Clients can tell when you have invested in your business and take it seriously.
Related post: How To Attract Your Ideal Client
What To Do With Your New Brand
So, now you have this fabulous brand board with an amazing logo, color palette, typography, etc. What do you do with it? You need a strategy to implement on how you will market your new brand.
First, you will want to integrate your new brand. This is more than just replacing some graphics and refreshing your website - you will also want to implement everything that goes along with it, such as your standard emails that you send to clients; how you answer your phone; your email signature, social media, etc. It is all about how you want to be perceived by your customer.
Build a website
Always, always have your own website, even if you sell products on a a 3rd party site (like Etsy). Potential customers cannot get a feel for your brand when you utilize other sites; by having your own to refer clients to, it shows them that you are serious about your business. In many cases, your website is the very first thing a potential client sees about your brand. You generally have about 5-10 seconds to make an impression; make sure that your website is clean, functional, has relevant and informative content, and your platform is mobile ready.
Why is Branding Important?
Perception is everything. With the fast paced world of the internet, most of the time you only have a few seconds to make an impression. You could have great products, but if your website, photos, or description isn't reflecting what you are selling, you will lose them instantly and branding prevents this from happening.
Consistency. Your clients should be able to look at anything you post and know immediately that it is you. They should know exactly what to expect when viewing your products or services, as well as when they communicate with you.
Repeat business. Clients will not return to you or refer your services if they feel a disconnect between your brand and what you deliver.
Increased sales. Now, branding along will not automatically bring you more sales; however, with the high increase in online searching and shopping, having a solid brand will give the feel of trust to your site and products. By using branding throughout everything you use from emails to social media, it will give your business the professionalism it deserves.
I hope you found this post helpful in determining not only what branding is, but how it can affect your business. I enjoy working with small business owners with their branding & websites, and would love to help you bring your brand to life!