Understanding Business Branding: Why It Matters
April 5, 2018
Whether you are new to online marketing or a veteran of the trade, at some point you will hear the word “brand”come up in conversation.
Not knowing what it truly is, people quickly throw out the assumption that branding is just some colors, fonts, logos, hashtags and slogans but in reality, it is so much more!
Developing a strong brand strategy, particularly in the social media world, is the key to setting yourself apart from your competitors and helping your business grow. The details of your business matter because they quickly distinguish between quality businesses and amateur ones.
If you want to learn how you can harness the power of business branding, look no further!
Below you will learn what business branding is, how to build your own business brand and how it can take your business to new heights!
Understanding Brand: What is It?
So, if branding isn’t solely colors, fonts, logos and hashtags, what is it?
Seth Godin gave a great explanation of the true meaning of brand:
“the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another. …But your brand is a story, a set of emotions and expectations and a stand-in for how we think and feel about what you do.”
So, what is branding really? EXPERIENCE.
A brand is an experience you create for a customer. It it encompassing of the visual, emotional, intellectual and tangible experience a customer has with your business.
So, what is the easiest way to share your business experience? Social media!
Social media provides a way to connect with people in a quick and constant manner. I view social media as the number one tool to make a customer feel positively about your business before taking an action towards your business!
A successful example of effective branding experience is Australian Telecommunications Company, Optus.
This Sydney-based agency took Optus and turned it into a branding sensation! By rebranding the Optus logo with a “Yes mantra”, Optus created an exciting visual experience that helps the brand stand out and reach customers as the cutting edge, vibrant, energized, all encompassing entertainment service they intended to become!
Compare their branding to the “sad state” of U.S. cable companies like Comcast, Verizon and Time Warner:
BLAH. WOOF. BORE.
Optus branding is effective as it leaves customers feeling energized and ready to jump into the music, television, and internet action! Optus does more than just provide technological services, they create meaningful experiences for customers.
“Yes” created a standalone mark that represents the voice of their potential customer: Yes to experience! This “Yes” branding exemplifies the feeling of the brand: free, energized and ready for consumption!
Not only did Optus create a signature “Yes” brand but they continued to play with that business branding to stay socially and culturally relevant. Given the ever-changing nature of entertainment, Optus included brand to include sporting leagues, and other media related events!
An example is the business branding play around the Premier Soccer League:
So, to tie back creating EXPERIENCE for your business, Optus brand gives clients the following experience:
- Using the bright, energetic lines and designs gives their visuals feelings of excitement, inspiration, positive vibes, energy and creativity. Creating moods for your customer can help your call to action and create an experience for them to act on! When you look at these branding experiences you want to listen to the music or watch the sporting event! Their business branding is experimental!
- Customers are more likely to trust Optus as a professional, authentic, and clear brand.
- Optus’s consistency, quality and creativity sets them apart as a high-end telecommunication service
- They are cutting edge! By thinking outside the box, Optus brought in clients that have already “seen” many of the trends and visuals that other telecommunications have tried. By being different, the attitude from the customer would be that they offer difference—which is most likely better than what they “know.” People are curious!
As seen above, brand is not just colors, fonts, logos and hashtags but a shared experience between your business and potential customers. Make them see, feel and act on your business!
Business branding can significantly help in your business growth, let’s take the next step and learn how!
Business Branding: The Customer Experience
Excellent branding is something you should be implementing right away as its the first touch point a customer will have with your business.
But how can you successfully brand your business? How can it help your customer experience therefore leading to more conversions?
If you are new to business branding, let’s walk through some important things to consider in your branding strategy and why these things matter in business conversions:
Create a Plan
No business strategy goes well without a plan!
Think about your brand message, your target audience and what you want them to take away. In your branding brainstorming, look at what your competition is doing and their strengths and weaknesses. This will provide a good basis for what you need to do to stand out and make a name for yourself!
Create solutions and do things better than what is being done! By planning this way your brand will be strategic, creative and targeted to who and what matters most: your business and your customers!
Create Quality & Quantity
It was once said, “quality over quantity” but in social media branding, quality is not enough! You need a balance of both!
Understanding the balance of branding quality and quantity will be crucial. The worst thing you can do is end up with stretched, pixelated or blurry content for the sake of pumping out posts! Do not sacrifice one for the other, by doing so you either waste a lot of time on a few images or you create a lot of low quality content for the sake of numbers.
Learn balance as both will make your business reputable, not a comparison!
No matter what website you land on, they will all have (the good ones that is) something in common: relevant high quality photos that happen in a consistent quantity.
In a world where we are constantly bombarded with images, you will need to have quality images in good quantities to excel in the marketing arena. Heck, to stay relevant you need to be posting daily!
Nothing says, “these brands don’t care” like poor quality content and stagnant periods of posting.
I think we have all clicked on a website and quickly dismissed it for having a low quality presence. Whether it’s dysfunctional styling, poor font choices, not posting enough or particularly low res images this can hurt your business.
A quality and quantity of business branding matters because:
- A quality and quantitative brand looks more professional than one that is inconsistent and low quality.
- When you work to create quantity people appreciate the consistency and can look forward to your content. This adds a measure of trust and brand loyalty knowing you will quantify posts to a schedule.
- Customers and clients are more likely to trust a business that presents a professional, authentic, and clear brand image.
Quality helps customers trust your business and sets you apart as a high quality and consistent business brand they can count on! Spend the money on visual marketing that can create quality and quantitative experience for your costumer.
If you already have people that love your business branding, create brand loyalty by rewarding them!
Be the brand that is personal, appreciative and unique in their customer outreach. Customers have gone out their way to write about you on social media acting as your brand ambassadors, why not show some love! Cultivating loyalty from these people will make them return and therefore converts to more profits!
Say thank you by implement direct messaging, send special swag, feature their reviews on your website, share customer social media photos etc.
When people feel connected with your brand and appreciated they will come back for more!
Developing a strong visual brand strategy is the key to setting yourself apart from your competitors and helping your business grow. We have all scrolled through social media and recognized a brand from their images without even reading the name of the account.
This is not by chance, it is intentional—and excellent business branding!
An example of this is @FancyTreeHouse who is an incredibly popular Instagrammer who is a wonderful example of visual consistency. Her branding is incredibly youthful, fun and playful which attracts clients and people who appreciate her styling.
Her feminine, mostly-centered images on pink backgrounds are so identifiable, you know it’s her as soon as she appears in your feed (usually featuring something fluffy, unicorn-inspired or pastel). Her pairings of color and silhouettes are so eye catching!
So, with this example, consistency doesn’t mean you have to post the exact same thing over and over again. Your audience will quickly lose interest without variety! What will work is having a selection of colors, themes and ideas that all fit within a brand.
Make sure you are constistent across all of your platforms from the office, print, signage, packaging, digital, social and content as well as sales and customer service!
Customers need that trusted experience that they will know, see and feel the same way across all of these interactions!
A consistent brand matters because:
- A constant brand looks more professional than one that is all over the place with their marketing.
- When you stay consistent people see you created something, not just something you created for marketing or promotional purposes.
- Customers and clients are more likely to trust a business that presents a professional, authentic, and clear brand image.
Visuals are great for catching attention, but social media is full of stellar business branding. By thinking outside the box, you can draw in clients that have already “seen” many of the trends, fashions and visuals that many try to emulate for success.
If you want people to actually do something, you need to create unique content.
Creative content is eye-catching, but it’s eye-catching with a purpose.
Cleanly’s ad above reminds people of a common problem by visually expressing a universal feeling. By doing this, we can laugh, feel and visually engage with the content, while simultaneously getting a feel for how Cleanly can resolve our laundry hate issues.
This approach is not only visually appealing, but it also emotionally connects our dread of laundry with the solution: Cleanly!
Just like Cleanly, your business or blog brand can connect with audiences if you think creatively! Think outside of the box: think symbolically, metaphorically and literally. Tell stories through different lenses.
Use images to evoke emotions. By doing so, you will stand out amongst your competition.
I feel like authenticity is thrown around a lot in the social media. I imagine millennial harping on the “need to be real” but with that mindset it will keep your business fresh, relateable and different than your competitors.
A key way to build a successful brand is to use emotive and authentic appeal. When we understand the feelings and struggles of potential customers, we can build a brand persona that shows how our brand can help relieve and help them!
Lush Cosmetics does a great job at this by making their brand transparent and “real” by showing behind the scene posts!
What does this do?
“Behind the Scene” posts create a sense of authenticity, trust and connection with your target audience. People want to know more about a brand so to have fun tips, tricks, and information about the products are interesting and desired.
Create Confidence Not Comparison
Comparison is more than the thief of joy, it also steals business potential!
Drop the belief that business branding is about your “ranking” or comparison to the “big” companies! Your brand is how people experience you. Experience goes beyond visual identity and marketing messages. Stand out through stellar experiences not just numbers.
Experience is key!
Don’t stop your brand success by crushing its potential! Believe in your brand, believe in your experience!
Business Branding: A Conclusion
Brand matters, and therefore experience matters.
Sure, you probably are another eCommerce, Service or B2B business, but you can stand out because your brand is unique by implementing the above tips! By crafting the perfect brand, you can see great returns because your customers are having experiences to remember and be loyal to.
So, is your branding really working for your company? If you are looking for help with your brand, then you will want to reach out to a good company that knows how to ask the right questions and create the proper foundation