Branding is the art of defining who you are while creating value, trust, and credibility.
Branding is one of the most important aspects of any business, large or small, retail or B2B. An effective brand strategy gives you a major edge in increasingly competitive markets. But what exactly does "branding" mean? How does it affect a small business like yours?
A brand is the "name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller's goods or service as distinct from those of other sellers," according the American Marketing Association.
Simply put, your brand is your promise to your customer. It tells them what they can expect from your products and services, and it differentiates your offering from your competitors'. Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be.
A company’s brand identity is how that business wants to be perceived by consumers. The components of the brand (name, logo, tone, tagline, typeface) are created by the business to reflect the value the company is trying to bring to the market and to appeal to its customers.
Building a brand identity is a multi-disciplinary, strategic effort; every element needs to support the overall message and business goals. It can includes a company’s name, logo, design; its style and the tone of its copy; the look and composition of its products; and, of course, its social media presence.
Brand equity is a critical part of building a business, and companies that successfully build one understand just how important it is to the bottom line. However, it takes time, patience, and a great deal of effort to build positive brand equity.
So what is brand equity? It is the tangible and intangible value that a brand provides positively or negatively to an organization, its products, its services, and its bottom-line derived from consumer knowledge, perceptions, and experiences with the brand.
This definition hits the three main points that define brand equity:
1. Tangible and intangible value: This can be tangible value such as revenues and price premiums or intangible value such as awareness and goodwill. 2. Positive or negative effects: The organization, products, services, and bottom line can benefit or suffer from brand equity. 3. Consumer catalysts: Brands are built by consumers, not companies. Therefore, brand equity is built by consumers too.
Positive brand equity can help a company in a variety of ways. The most common is the financial benefit which enables a company to charge a price premium for that brand. For example, the Tiffany’s brand has enough equity that a price premium isn’t just accepted, it’s expected.
Positive brand equity can also help to expand a company through successful brand extensions and expansions. And not only can brand equity help increase sales and revenues, but it can also help reduce costs. For example, there is little need for awareness promotions for a brand that has deep, positive equity. Marketing budgets can be more strategically invested in initiatives that will drive short-term results.
A company with strong brand equity is also positioned for long-term success because consumers are more likely to forgive bumps in the road when they have deep emotional connections and loyalties to a brand. Positive brand equity helps a company navigate through macro-environmental challenges far more easily than brands with little or negative brand equity can.
Your brand strategy is how, what, where, when and to whom you plan on communicating and delivering on your brand messages. Where you advertise is part of your brand strategy. Your distribution channels are also part of your brand strategy. What you communicate visually and verbally are part of your brand strategy, too.
Consistent, strategic branding leads to a strong brand equity, which means the added value brought to your company's products or services that allows you to charge more for your brand than what identical, unbranded products command. The most obvious example of this is Coke vs. a generic soda.
Because Coca-Cola has built a powerful brand equity, it can charge more for its product--and customers will pay that higher price.The added value intrinsic to brand equity frequently comes in the form of perceived quality or emotional attachment. For example, Nike associates its products with star athletes, hoping customers will transfer their emotional attachment from the athlete to the product. For Nike, it's not just the shoe's features that sell the shoe.
Before designing a website, or any other brand component, it’s important to have a strategy and a plan. This lets everyone involved in the project, from your team to ours, know what is being designed, why it is being designed, and what it should accomplish. Too often this step is skipped by firms and contractors because they have little or no experience in what is really required to build or rejuvenate a brand. Our strategy process creates a memorable, goal-driven brand experience for your customers. We build strong brands, collaboratively bringing your industry insight together. From our position on the outside looking in, we get to know your goals, understand your customers, and propel your success.A website tells a lot about a business. It shows how much thought the business puts into its brand and whether it values having a website.Unfortunately, far too many companies don’t really value their websites and don’t get the full benefit out of them. They neglect design, website copy, and other important essentials. They put the focus only on making sales.
This results in a really bad website and leaves visitors unsure if the company is the best one to do business with. This is why it’s so important to have a value proposition. A website needs to tell visitors in a couple of sentences or less why their business is the best choice for the visitor, instead of sending a bunch of different messages that won’t be received.