Branding is the new buzzword in marketing circles. But do you know what it really means and how it relates to promoting your products and services? Isn’t it the same as advertising or marketing?
That’s where the confusion lies. What exactly is it? And how does it differ from other ways of selling?
How Does Branding Differ From Marketing?
It used to be that all you needed to sell was a solid product. You could then launch a few advertising campaigns, a few promotions and there would be plenty of consumer interest to keep your business afloat.
Today, you still need that well-built product, but it takes a little more to gain a customer’s interest. There are so many similar products flooding the market, the only real way to build a customer following is to somehow stand out in the crowd. That means your company’s success is no longer tied to your products. It’s tied to your overall corporate image.
That’s Why Building A Brand Is So Important
Modern customers want to know what makes you different. What does your company believe in? What kind of lifestyle does it promote? What kind of corporate culture and value system does it follow?
And they want to buy from brands that resonate with them. That’s where they’ll spend their hard-earned dollars.
But you can’t create a strong following, unless you’re clear about your company’s identity or image. And that begins with a successful brand.
Now, let’s talk about what happens next after you’ve built your brand.
Communicate Who You Are
While a “brand” is made up of elements such as clear, consistent messaging and an appealing visual design, branding is the process of communicating and actively shaping that brand.
To use a cooking analogy, a brand is the ingredients and branding is the process of mixing them together and baking them into one beautiful cake, which you present to the world, and it should include:
such as content writing, photography, graphic design and video.
such as public-relations, customer service, advertising, content marketing, events, etc.
Of course, it’s kind of like working without a recipe. You have to play around with the ingredients, to find just the right amount of each, then create the right recipe and use the right technique to yield the results you want. That is where brand strategy comes in.
Why Branding Supports Sales
If your branding is well-conceived and strategically planned, you stand to gain not only new customers, but the right kind of customers. It should:
- Lead to awareness and recognition
- Generate new customers
- Create trust in the marketplace
- Increase business value
- Improve employee satisfaction, retention and pride
Done well it can even attract customers, so you don’t have to work so hard to get sales leads. So, how do you know if your branding is fully developed?
Check-In: Assess Your Effectiveness
Here’s a short quiz. Take it and see if you can answer all these questions. Do you:
- Know how to attract customers who are likely to buy your products/services?
- Have a plan to reach sales leads that have the highest potential for becoming your brand’s promoters and influencers?
- Understand how to attract and retain the target markets that will help your business grow?
- Have a loyal following of current customers?
Imagine your brand foundation: built for growth and future success
Unlock Access to Our E-book:
The Small Business Guide to Brand Strategy
This guide is full of information on how to create an overall brand strategy that will help you successfully market your business. It helps you craft an authentic brand story, then helps you uncover when, where and how to communicate it to your target audiences.
If you can answer “yes” to most of those questions, you’re on the right track. If you answered “yes” but you aren’t seeing the results you want, you could be missing a few branding elements or have a weak brand strategy that doesn’t fully capitalize on your brand power.
It’s going to take a little finesse to get just right. So don’t give up. Just keep asking the important question, is my company’s branding clear, consistent and recognizable?