Branding is the fuel that powers your rocket.
You may have the best product or service out there, but if you don’t communicate that with your brand, your message may be falling on deaf ears.
You hear people talk a lot about branding these days, but what does it really mean? Wikipedia defines a brand as a toolbox of marketing and communication methods that help to distinguish a company from competitors and create a lasting impression in the minds of customers. Good definition!
Decades ago branding was defined simply as a name, slogan, or logo or a combination thereof that identify the products or services of a company. Today branding has expanded greatly, includes both internal and external communication and is a bit more complex, but even more essential.
Many professionals think a brand is only relevant to a product. Not true. Lawyers, accountants, and other professionals need to consider their brand. A brand highlights what sets you apart from other professionals and businesses within your area of expertise or market and establishes your unique value. It is communicated in a variety of ways, from your logo, website and business cards to your communication style and appearance. As an example, we have a client who offers management side employment law services. Employment law is complex and messy. Their old logo was clunky and awkward. The visceral response people had to this was just that…clunky and awkward. We suggested rebranding with a clean, simple logo. Now the message is that the firm can take the complex and messy and solve their clients’ problems in a straightforward and simple manner. Subtle, but important. The emotional response people have to your brand can make a huge difference.
The Importance of Branding
Think of branding as the expression of who you are as a company or organization and what you offer. A strong brand is invaluable as competition for customers and clients increases. Your brand is the core of your promise to your clients or customers. It is reflected throughout your relationship with them. Do you deliver on the promise of your brand? Does your service or product perform as expected? Is it the quality that was expected? Did the user have a good experience?
Analyze your competitor’s offerings and brand your business with a different value proposition. To succeed in branding, you must clearly understand the needs and wants of your customers and prospects. There may be companies or firms that appear to offer similar services or products, but don’t have the breadth or depth of experience in your field of expertise. Know your “platinum” client profile and gear your marketing and brand to that audience. Make sure everyone in your organization understands your brand, and integrate it at every point of client or customer contact.
Using very broad brushstrokes, there are three basic paths to consider for branding – descriptive, evocative or whimsical.
Refine your brand for your target audience.
What Should a Brand Do?
A brand is the perception a consumer has when they hear or think of your company name, service or product. It’s influenced by the elements, words, creativity and service that surround it.
A brand should:
- Clearly deliver your message through both your name, logo and tagline
- Emotionally connect your target audience with your product or service
- Motivate the buyer to plunk down their hard-earned cash
- Create user loyalty
Your Brand Checklist
Consider these questions.
- Does your brand relate to your target audience? Will they “get it” without too much thought?
- Does your brand reflect the unique value proposition of what you offer? Will they understand why it is important?. Is your differentiation clear?
- Does your brand clearly reflect the values that you want to represent to customers, clients and employees?
These questions can serve as a guideline in developing your brand and should be used as an exercise to identify and develop said brand.
Bottom line? Yes, it matters. Spend time researching, defining and building your brand. If you are true to your brand it will reward you with happy clients, referrals or customers.