What do you think of when you hear the word “branding”? Most business owners think of a logo, but the reality is that branding is so much more than just the logo heading up your business.
Branding, or your brand design, is a comprehensive strategy for growing your business through storytelling and authentic, emotional connection. Sounds important, right? That’s because it is! Having a quality brand to represent your business can be the difference between a flop and a success.
Marty Neumeier in his book The Brand Gap (one of my favorite branding resources) says, “Your brand isn’t what you say it is. It’s what they say it is.”
When you’re planning your brand, you shouldn’t focus on what’s trendy or what appeals the most to you. In reality, your audience and what appeals to them should be at the forefront of your mind as you’re brainstorming. Your brand is more about what other people are saying about your business than what you tell them you’re all about.
Do you use a lot of bright, loud colors in your packaging? Is the language you use more casual and hip? You influence what other people think and feel surrounding your business and your offerings simply through your branding and brand identity (something entirely different from branding, your brand identity is the values, voice, and visuals you use to communicate your brand. I help businesses with both and I’d love to discuss this more with you in a strategy session!)
So, the key is to help your audience feel seen, heard, and understood, encouraging them to engage with your business. That’s what branding does. It’s a study (and, ideally, a reflection) of your audience.
I once read a study about branding that pointed out your customers can only be three things: satisfied, delighted, or disgruntled. Branding is about helping your customers move from disgruntled (showing how you offer something that solves a problem or fills a need) to satisfied (actually proving how your business can solve their problem or fill their need), and then finally to delighted (impressing them with your offerings to the point of a sale or booking).
Branding is one of many tools you can use to grow your business. As a brand strategist and designer, I believe that branding is the most powerful way to stand out in a saturated market. Of course, I’m a little bias because branding is one of my favorite parts of participating in any industry, but there is plenty of physical, social, and emotional proof throughout recent years that proves how impactful the visual elements of your business are (your photos, logo, storefront, employee attire, packaging, etc).
Beyond impressing your audience, establishing a solid brand presence will help you:
- Develop the unique position, character, and purpose of your business
- Attract clients and customers who will be your advocates and best advertising
- Grow your business and your employees with a strong company culture
- Understand how to make smart marketing decisions
- Discover how to build your business and stand out from your competitors
- Increase your profits and your customer satisfaction
I truly believe that branding isn’t just about creating a pretty logo or choosing a fun color palette, it’s really about presenting your brand in a way that resonates with customers. Branding is a long-term game, not a quick fix or Band-Aid solution because you didn’t focus on your logo back when you started your business. Branding will shape the perception of your offerings for years to come and it’s something you should devote a significant amount of attention to.
A strong brand is differentiated from the competition in a meaningful way. Consumers are willing to pay a premium and to repeat purchases over time when the branding demonstrates an increased perceived value. High-quality branding literally equals more money for your business.
I hope you enjoyed this overview of branding and how it affects your business! Stay tuned for more information and tips on branding and other aspects of design related to running your business.