By Chiho Tang, lead creative at Oranga
Whether you’re a big business or a small one, you’ll need to invest in branding. Of course, there’s much more to branding than just designing a fancy — but not too fancy — logo.
It will take some time and effort to come up with your brand message and how you want people to see you, but when you start reaping the numerous different benefits, the extra hours — and the money — you’ve invested in your branding strategy will all feel worth it.
If you get too carried away with your branding, however, it can have a harmful effect on your work and your bottom line.
Here are a few tips as to why branding is important and how, when you get too caught up in it, your business can suffer:
1. Branding gets you recognised
Good branding will help you to stand out in the marketplace and get you recognised. The most crucial aspect of the branding, in this sense, is your logo. The logo may well be the first thing that a potential customer becomes aware of your business, so it be powerful, easy to remember and make a strong impression.
2. Branding creates trust
If you get your branding right and implement your strategy well, you’ll establish some real trust with consumers, with potential customers or clients and within your chosen industry. Branding is your golden opportunity to tell people just how brilliant you are. When you follow this up with a good product or service, people see you as someone they can trust and will believe in what you have to offer.
3. Branding gets referrals
If a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing properly, so you should invest real time, effort and resources into your branding because when you hit the mark, you can save yourself a fortune in advertising. Consumers love talking to their friends, family and work colleagues about brands. When they’re happy with a purchase or service, they’ll speak about you in glowing tones, whether they’re showing off the new pair of trainers they bought from your store to their friends or telling work colleagues about the cracking job you did of fixing the plumbing. Word of mouth advertising is the best kind of advertising. Often, consumers want little in return from you other than that you remain true to your brand and keep providing the same quality of product of service as always.
4. Branding builds customer loyalty
Companies have often commented that it’s cheaper to retain a customer than to acquire a new one. That doesn’t mean you should stop trying to win new business, no, but it does reaffirm the importance of putting a bit of hard work into your branding at the start. Build a brand that your customer loves and remain consistent, and they’ll stay loyal to you. Remember that consumers are price sensitive and when it comes to pricing, if they love your brand, they’re willing to pay a bit extra for your product or service because they’re familiar with it and know it’s well. This element of trust persuades them not to go with a brand that they don’t know.
5. Branding builds employee pride and satisfaction
Create a strong brand that your employees believe in and they’ll serve you well. If your brand is popular, they’ll be proud to be associated with your company and their role will feel a lot more fulfilling. They’ll take immense care and pride in what they do and, generally, enjoy the job more. Your brand is your chance to develop loyalty from not just your customers, but also your own employees.
So, what happens when you get it wrong?
That’s what can happen when you get the branding right, but what about when you get it wrong? What can wrong if you don’t achieve a balance in your branding efforts? How does it affect your work and your business?
Customers lose trust
You’ve sent a message out to the world with your branding about how fantastic you are and how you want them to see you. You’ve established your brand values and you’ve made promises to consumers. Now they expect you to deliver on them. If your product or service, or the way you operate, contradicts those brand values, you could face a backlash from consumers. Rather than spending your time getting on with business, you’ll (or your employees) be responding to negative online reviews, addressing potential negative media coverage and pacifying angry customers (and maybe even angry investors). Customers could easily lose trust and start spending their money elsewhere — unless you deal with the fallout well enough in the first place.
Naturally, when it comes to thinking about your brand, you need to think about your products; however, you shouldn’t just consider the quality of the products, but also the quantity. If you have too many different brands or product lines, you can end up bamboozling the customer because there’s too much choice, and they just go with someone who makes the decision-making more straightforward for them. That or you just end up diluting your own sales. One of the most notable companies to have scaled back on products was Proctor & Gamble, who dropped several hundred brands from its product line to increase sales and profitability.
Consumers look for quality from brands. Don’t get so caught up in the branding that you become distracted from monitoring the overall quality of your product or service. Keep your product true and consistent to your brand and it will sell. People love talking about brands, remember. Whether your product is good or bad, they’re going to talk about it. Find a balance between branding your business and maintaining and developing your products or services.
Branding is a big chance to connect with your (potential) customers, who are willing to stand by you and spread the word about you. It’s a two-way street, though, and you’ve got to reward their trust and loyalty by providing everything that they expect of you and being as brilliant as they think you are. Never let them down, or they’ll find it hard to trust you again — which can reflect in your bottom line, so strive for that balance.