Why branding is so important for your business
Branding is creating an identity that instantly ‘brands’ your product or service. The logo, colours chosen and the fonts: all these work to create a memorable image that triggers not only your product or service line, but also what you might stand for.
Consider Nike. The Nike swish conjures not only its iconic sports shoe line, but it is synergistic with the image Nike wants you to think: active lifestyle, movement, trend-setting and relevance to all, sports afficionado or not. So successful is the brand that often, the word ‘Nike’ isn’t even required. The swish is more than enough.
Of course, a discussion about a brand that is all icon-sans-text is incomplete without Apple. Apple has morphed 2-3 times from its humble beginnings in 1976. More than 40 years on, it’s a deliberate and minimal apple with a bite out of it. Because of the enormously successful branding plan, it doesn’t need more than that icon. Now, it is just… an Apple. Instantly memorable.
Read more about the reasons for branding here.
The Idea of YOU as a Brand
At the end of the day, you—the business owner, the one who has poured blood, sweat and tears into building your business up—are the brand. Just as Steve Jobs was Apple; Richard Branson is Virgin. Decades ago, the idea of promoting yourself—the person, the ego—as a brand was unimaginable. The norm was to brand a business, an organisation or a company. Today, some of the most memorable brands are people; either the people they are, or the brand they stand for. Think Oprah. Richard Branson, Ellen, Elon Musk, Steve Jobs.
What do you want to convey through your business?
How do you want your business to be identified?
Who are you?
What is your business?
If you owned a laundromat and needed to rebrand, to attract millennials and new families, you probably don’t need to have an eponymous* business name. But if you owned a bridal business, and you designed and produced the dresses yourself, an option is to name the business after yourself—after all, you are the talent! Think Vera Wang. However, if your name is long and doesn’t roll off the tongue as easy, other options abound.
*Meaning the value of your business is mostly in one’s own name.
In this day and age, people are keen to invest in people. You just have to look at crowdfunding. Even AirBNB: people are supporting individual people. When you reveal what is at the heart of your business, your idea, your platform, you engender trust.
And because trust is so rare these days, people are keen to invest in trust. Can your bread be trusted to provide your customers with quality, nutritional and tasty lunches? Do your mortgage customers trust that you will pick for them the best product (and not serve yourself)?
In the mid 1500s, the way to peddle your ware was to pile it high on a cart and with a donkey, you’d make your way around the villages. In the 1800s, with the industrial revolution, catalogues were born. Customers purchased furniture from black and white drawings, inferior copies of those found in houses of aristrocracy. Catalogues then became coloured. Then glossy. Then with globalisation, catalogues became thick and fat, filled with products from all over the world. Still, predominantly, in print. When the television radically changed the world, for the first time, we had moving images that could be broadcast right across large areas/communities, all singing and dancing the same message: buy our products, it’ll change your world. With the advent of the Internet in the late 90s, pop up images began to fill our computers. We all remember the pop up adverts (push advertising).
Now, 2019, the focus is no longer on push advertising or catalogues or even adverts on the TV.
Now, we want value. Customers want brands that not only add value to their life, but also to reflect their life values.
Enter the content marketing strategy. And this is now the silver bullet to engaging (and retaining customers). Customers are keen to learn, to gain more than just a service.
According to Forbes, branded content is twice as memorable as display ads. As we become hungrier for information, demand to know more, to learn and be more empowered, intelligent, well-written content is more effective at driving your brand and making the sales.