Does My Company Really Need a Brand?
Have you ever had to hop on a FaceTime call to prove your company was “legit” in order to lock-in a sale or new client? Your customers spend their days in a cloud of relentless marketing messages coming at them from all directions. If you hope to get your story heard, it had better be meaningful, compelling and unique. As we always say, it’s a madhouse out there. The marketplace is crowded with millions of potential customers and as many competing solutions.
Branding is important because not only is it what makes a memorable impression on consumers but it allows your customers and clients to know what to expect from your company. It is a way of distinguishing yourself from competitors and clarifying what it is you offer that makes you the better choice.
Internal & External Benefits
Your brand is built to be a true representation of who you are as a business, and how you wish to be perceived. Just as important as the perceptions and behavior of your customers are those of your employees. It’s critical to build a strong company culture inspired by core values, so that your internal stakeholders, from frontline staff to senior leadership, inspired to live the brand as enthusiastic ambassadors.
What is branding?
If the explanation of branding was simple, there would not be so much ambiguity and dissonance regarding the concept. Still, for the most part, a strong understanding of branding requires a decent grasp of business, marketing, and even human relational basics. Branding is such a vast concept that a correct definition that truly encompasses everything that it represents would not bring too much clarity to the subject just by itself. But, for the sake of lowering the propagation of obsolete, incorrect, and incomplete information about branding, we offer a more complete definition:
There are many areas that are used to develop a brand including advertising, customer service, social responsibility, reputation, and visuals. All of these elements (and many more) work together to create one unique and (hopefully) attention-grabbing profile.
Branding is the perpetual process of identifying, creating, and managing the cumulative assets and actions that shape the perception of a brand in stakeholders’ minds.
Our definition of branding, even if seemingly more ambiguous than the other, gives much more sense to the concept when diving deeper into its meaning. Here is a rough breakdown:
1. Perpetual process
Branding is a perpetual process because it never stops. People, markets, and businesses are constantly changing and the brand must evolve in order to keep pace.
2. Identify, create, and manage
There is a structured process to branding, one where you must first identify who/what you want to be to your stakeholders, create your brand strategy to position yourself accordingly, and then constantly manage everything that influences your positioning.
3. Cumulative assets and actions
Your positioning must be translated into assets (e.g., visual identity, content, products, ads) and actions (e.g., services, customer support, human relations, experiences) that project it into your stakeholders’ minds, slowly building up that perception.
4. Perception of a brand
Also known as reputation. This is the association that an individual (customer or not) has in their mind regarding your brand. This perception is the result of the branding process (or lack thereof).
Clients are not the only ones that build a perception of your brand in their minds. Stakeholders include possible clients, existing customers, employees, shareholders, and business partners. Each one builds up their own perception and interacts with the brand accordingly.
Why is branding important?
Branding is absolutely critical to a business because of the overall impact it makes on your company. Branding can change how people perceive your brand, it can drive new business, and increase brand value – but it can also do the opposite if done wrongly or not at all. It takes a mere seven seconds to make a first impression so your brand must be strong and memorable.
Reputation builds up whether the business does something about it or not. The result can be a good or bad reputation. Understanding and using branding only means that you take the reins and try to control what that reputation looks like. This is why it is recommended to consider branding from the very beginning of your business.
Branding also creates trust within a marketplace. The more clients trust a brand the more its reputation builds. In highly saturated markets, trust is especially important because it can make the difference between intent (considering to buy) and action (making the purchase).
What is brand management?
Creating a brand takes time, energy, and a deep understanding of your target market. Brand management refers to the relationship with that target audience, and the efforts to nurture and maintain it.
Brand management involves an ongoing process of evaluating brand perception and understanding how to influence it. Increasing the perceived value of your product or service enables you to foster brand trust, gain loyal customers and enhance brand awareness.
While you can’t control the way people will react to your brand, you can anticipate it. Successful brand management requires strategy, research, and analysis to not only cultivate positive brand equity but sustain it. You can learn from the responses of audiences to improve your offering, stay ahead of potential issues, and improve your brand reputation in an honest and authentic way.
With this in mind, it is important to recognize the full scope of brand management and the role it plays in all of your marketing strategies. Anyone who comes into contact with your brand, be it customers, stakeholders, employees, social media followers, or even competitors, will create their own associations based on how you manage it. You don’t need to have all the answers, or even a game-plan or a knowledge of fonts and color palettes, you just need to understand the importance a brand has. When you’re ready to put your brand in the hands of professionals with many success stories in their past reach out to The Los Angeles Media Factory.