Branding is an integral part of any business, large or small, retail or business to business. Branding your business, product and/or service effectively can give you a huge advantage over your competitors. Branding is used in organizations of all types. It is used to make goods or services more recognizable in the eye of the consumer and to convey the message of the organization. Simply put, a brand is a promise to the consumer. It tells them what they can expect from your products or services. Consumers will associate a brand with a certain level of quality, a price bracket and a level of value based on how they perceive the brand. The foundation of the brand is the logo. Promotional materials, websites and packaging, all of which will feature an organization’s logo, are used to communicate the brand to the consumer.
In today’s fast- paced world it is more important than ever to promote recognition of a product or service. Organizations offering quality goods and services should always strive for repeat business. People are busy and will always adhere to familiarity. Should they recognize a brand they have been satisfied with in the past, they are more likely to choose that product or service again. With people being exposed to more and more advertising in today’s markets, this holds true now more than ever.
When defining a brand, a company needs to go on a journey of self-discovery. A company has to undertake the uncomfortable process of taking a good look at itself and putting every element of the business under the microscope. The company’s mission, the benefits/features of products and services, what customers currently think and what you want them to think of the products and/or services all need to be considered in great detail. This can be a very time-consuming and difficult process. In depth research of the customer’s habits, needs and future expectations needs to be conducted in order to brand the business as successfully as possible. The brand must reflect the nature and behavior of the organization, creating a certain personality in the marketplace.
Once a brand has been established, it needs to be shared. Brand integration is key to successful branding and of the utmost important to the entire process of branding a business. Branding should feature heavily on packaging, websites, vehicles and promotional materials. Care should be taken not to overlook the smaller areas of the business where branding can be integrated; how the phone is answered, email signatures, staff uniforms and stationary. Leaving branded pens and pencils in high-traffic areas such as banks, universities, libraries and doctors’ offices will bring further recognition to the brand and the company.
Once the brand has been decided upon, integrated into the business and promoted through various channels it’s important not to get complacent. Branding is an ongoing process. It is vital an organization stays true to their brand. Customers will associate expectations with the brand and failure to deliver on this promise will mean less return customers and less referrals from current customers to new ones. Consistency is the most important thing of all. Every aspect of branding must remain consistent, otherwise attempts at establishing a successful brand will most certainly fail.