End of post.
Just kidding. But seriously, yes, every business needs a brand (and actually, already has a brand whether they focus on deliberately it or not).
A strong brand is essential for standing out from the crowd (i.e. your competitors) as well as connecting and engaging with your audience. It’s what will turn a casual observer into a buyer of your brand. Everyone from a solopreneur to a dog dentist (it’s a thing!) should consider what their branding says about them and how they can make it work harder.
Here are a few things to think about:
A brand isn’t just a logo.
It’s not a fancy die-cut business card, a perfectly curated Instagram feed or a sweet looking website. It’s so much more than that. Think about creating some super solid brand foundations, and don’t be afraid to test them out with your existing customers by just asking them whether they stand true for them when they think about your brand. You’ll get some useful feedback on how motivating and appealing they are and can then optimise before going out all out on a rebrand or new campaign.
🔥 Hot Tip: Perform an audit on your own brand and ask someone who isn’t close to your brand to do the same, so you get an objective view. Look for the following across your brand assets (e.g. website, social media, advertising, signage, packaging, etc.):
- what personality and tone of voice is coming through?
- is everything looking and feeling consistent (design, copy, messaging, etc.)?
- does everything marry up to your current business objectives?
Finding the discrepancies can help you identify where to focus your efforts first.
Branding is what positions you against your competitors in your customers’ minds.
Always remember that it’s what the customer perceives to be true about you that is true. Their perception is reality. And they’ve created a perception about your competitors too. They instinctively categorise you all based on some key attributes, which helps them evaluate which of you to do business with. It’s up to you to help guide them to formulate their perception based on attributes you want them to see.
🔥 Hot Tip: You can help shape what they perceive you to be by determining for every stage of doing business with you:
- what message they should take away (being concise and clear, ensuring it addresses what your audience need from a functional perspective)
- how you want them to feel (informed, excited, content, safe, uplifted – be sure to link the feeling back to your audience’s core emotional need)
Consistent branding elevates your value.
When you create a consistent brand experience across every interaction and touch point with a customer, you’re creating a unique and well-thought out experience that elevates your value. This is the difference between a premium brand and a budget brand. It takes you from a commodity (generic and more likely to be judged on price alone) to ‘priceless’ and something to be treasured. This is how brand equity is built over time (that is, value in your brand beyond just the tangible).
🔥 Hot Tip: There are loads of ways to help increase your brand value in the minds of your audience. You can start by identifying:
- what do they value? E.g. certification or formal credentials, years’ experience, personal story, lots of information, industry recognition?
- what do you have that delivers to this value?
- how can you demonstrate this credibly through everything you do?
So, no matter if you’re working with clients in a service-based business, or selling products in a store, branding is super important and worth lending a bit of thinking time to.