Brand enables growth!
None of these brands grew to become unique and stood out using customized consumer experiences without some serious efforts. The only way to grow your business, despite competition, is by building a trustworthy brand.
Branding can make you or break you!
A brand identity, today is much more than what hits the eye. It is not just the look or the logo. It signifies an emotional reaction or “gut feeling” and trust that your business elicits from customers. Simply put, your brand identity is how people perceive your business. A set of collective actions taken to create that perception is a branding exercise.
Brand is a noun and intangible, but branding is a verb, a set of actions. Branding is happening when you are developing a brand voice, when you are designing your logo, or when you are brainstorming an ad campaign. An action or a set of actions you undertake to create an amazing customer experience is impossible without a brand strategy. It is a set of expectations you create and deliver!
Creating a brand is a one time exercise and once done, propagating and managing it is the challenge. Without a clear cut brand identity and its management in place, it is difficult to sustain. And, many small businesses ignore the importance of this exercise, although they have invested in creating it. Talking to a great branding agency can make it tick.
Any marketing collaterals that go out or any communication that goes out from your business needs to be branded. Social media marketing works best to enhance your branding efforts.
Understandably, marketing and branding are closely knit.
Is building a brand critical to business?
Stand out in the crowd
What is your USP? Does your brand translate to trust? Why do people or businesses buy your products? Because they trust your brand over others.
Beat the competition
* Tell your story
Creating a brand is about telling your story. To create a compelling one, you need to tell your customers about how you have arrived, and where you are today. What is your business and how it creates value for them? Your brand is your business personality and stands for its ethos.
* Showcase personality
Your customers and prospects love seeing and hearing about people behind the brand, so show your personality. The more personable your brand is, the better emotional response it will evoke and connect better with customers.
* Make it meaningful
Your brand should be memorable as well as meaningful to make it stand out. Create an emotional connection with the audience and make a lasting impression. Emotions are equally essential to marketing, so ensure that your messaging carries the right ones every time.
* Brand experience
A brand does not stop with a good logo or color schemes. It triggers an emotional response towards your product or service. Your logo should focus on creating an amazing and a positive customer experience.
Creating customer experiences
Customer experience will be the deal-maker going ahead. Creating consistent customer experiences across various touch points is critical to success.
You can make it or break it
* Customer experience is “the” differentiator
Customer experience will be the most important differentiator for your business in the future. Your business will reap rich rewards if you will invest in customer experiences instead of advertising on press and media. Remember – 33% of customers walk away from a brand after just one unpleasant experience.
* Get paid premium
Customers will pay an 18% price premium if they receive a great customer experience. It will also go miles in word-of-mouth advertising and, finally, a better return on your investment. Calculate!
* Customer loyalty counts
Almost 50% of customers make impulsive purchases if they enjoy the customer experience your business provides. Over a loyalty period of 6 years, they will make about 150% more purchases. Well, that’s a lot of revenue.
* Strategize customer experiences
With marketing, your brand and sales run parallel, it is time that your business chalks out a customer experience strategy and executes it. This will drive repeat business, and of course, the same customers will help you build your brand and your business on autopilot. So, it is an exercise that pays over and over.
Build brand awareness
Are you searching or “Googling”? Do you order a burger or a “Mac D”? To brand is to create a distinct style using impactful assets with strategy.
More you give, more you get
* Provide excellent customer service
Customers have evolved, today they look to nothing less than exceptional after sales service and prompt turnaround times. The quality of customer service offered by your business can make or break a customer, especially in the online niche. It is a critical part of customer experience.
* Be at the forefront of your market
Online, your business needs to keep reminding your customers “Hey, I am here!.” If you do not keep at it, customers drift elsewhere. Don’t spam them, but “out of sight is out of mind.”
* Provide value – walk the extra mile
Everyone delivers 100%, you do too. What then differentiates your brand? Walk the extra mile, provide extra value. You will be the “go-to” business in no time. And that’s a win-win, it builds brand recognition and awareness.
* Write a blog or a book
Informative and entertaining blog posts go a long way in branding. Maintain a regular schedule and share your posts. This will help build better brand recognition, besides a lot of juice for Search Engine Optimization. Better still, you could write a niche book.
Brand recognition and identity
Your brand lives in the prospect’s psyche, not on paper. It helps create an instant connection with prospects and customers without extra effort.
Do customers recognize your brand?
* Brand recognition
All of us recognise a BMW, Nike or the Starbucks logo since we keep seeing them wherever these businesses serve customers, with consistency. Many small businesses do not care about such consistent identity. Remember, people recognise and recommend businesses based on the brand identity and the response it evokes.
* Myths cleared
Despite opinions, a brand is much bigger than just a logo and colour schemes. A designer does not create a brand, he creates a brand identity. A brand establishes credibility and trust through interactions. It is a commitment that sets expectations.
* Brand interactions are critical
Your brand interacts every day with your customers and prospects and that includes images, messages, content on marketing collaterals and everything else, including your social media posts and even email messaging.
* Where is your brand?
Your brand identity is your business reputation by the way you present your products and services, and defines the values of your business. It is in the onlookers’ psyche, not on paper. The goal of brand is to build awareness and loyalty, and through them, a successful business.
Elements to keep in mind
Vision and mission
Vision is the ‘Heart’, and Mission is the ‘Brain’ of your business. Expressing your heart while using your brain should come across as customer-centric.
A brand is integral to your business
* Brand purpose
A brand promises certain expectations to all those who interact with it. So, a brand purpose is about creating those expectations and goes much deeper than a branding strategy. Clearly, a brand purpose is integral to the vision and mission of your business. Why are you in the business you are in – the “Why” of the Brand.
* The “why” of your brand
A good brand should tap into the idealistic motivations of those who interact with it. This is when the customers and other outsiders look at the deeper reasons for the existence of your business and that lies beyond making money. Every business gains from clarity once it finds the answers to the “Why”. And, so do customers.
* After the ”Why” – Vision
After “Why” comes the “What” – something that your business has set out to accomplish because of the “Why”. Your commitment to the brand purpose of “why” will define the outcome or the “What” of your business.
* After the “What” – Mission
“How” does your business achieve “what” it has set out to achieve. The clarity about “why” you are in business and “what” needs accomplished is necessary to understand “how” you will get there. The clearer the mission, the faster your business grows. A sure fire path to success.
Create your brand design
Designing a new brand identity for your business is a creative process. Create a design that represents both the values and commercial appeal.
Easier said than done
* Do your research
Look up and analyze the competition’s designs. Once done, narrow in on the goal for your brand. The need to fit into the right niche and, looking relevant and superior to competition, could be a tall ask. Once you get your USP (how you will exploit the market differently) right, you are good at putting pencil to paper.
* Narrow down the options
Draw out three logo options and then seek external opinion. Pay attention to brainstorming and, do not commit emotionally to any of the options, keep your mind open. Get a fresh opinion after resting, pay importance to simplicity and interpretation. This is not about personal tastes, it is about what your audience likes and interprets easily.
* Think color
Go back to your research and check colors that your competition uses. Read up on color psychology and check how suitable colors and their effects could influence your prospects. This perception is important, do not ignore.
Choose the typefaces wisely, depending on the niche your business is in, and they could give you a good brand identity. Many brands use multiple typefaces, research multiple fonts and come up with a few options before you narrow down to your decision.
Brand style guide
Creating and documenting a brand style guide is a great idea. Talk to your digital marketing agency and they will help you create one.
Consistency is the key
* Accurate representation
All creativity that goes into assets representing your brand should be accurate and showcase it’s purpose. If your teams are large or strewn across the globe, this can get challenging without a proper brand style guide. Without a proper guide, you will play no-good hardball with your brand identity.
* Quality control
More often than not, businesses create collaterals against deadlines. These collaterals are the foundation of your reputation. Disjointed or ineffective content can do irreparable damage to your brand and hence the need for a comprehensive guide. Your reputation depends on delivering quality, consistent, branded content.
* Enhanced comprehension
Crisp design and clear communication make it easier for the reader to understand your brand better. Guidelines for colour use, typography and data visualisation make for awesome content experience, and fulfilment of brand purpose.
* Consistent brand recognition
Following brand guidelines helps people recognise your content easily, besides delivering a cohesive experience. Consistent delivery of high-value, informative content creates trust and long-term relationships. We do expect quality and tone from brands we love, don’t we?
A website is a critical piece of real estate for your business. Using branding elements to create this customer experience is critical to your business.
Customers should love it, not you
* Get ready
If you want to build an extensive business, you will need to look the part. Your brand is how the world perceives you – about 90% people check your website before they meet you, 97% decide on doing business with you depending on your website design and almost 100% admit that they left your poorly designed website or found it difficult to use. Are you looking the part?
* Define your business
People cannot understand your USP, if you don’t. Describe your business in 5 words and then narrow it down to one. For Nordstrom it is ‘quality’ and for Nike, it is ‘leading’. Brainstorm it and start building your website, revolving your thoughts around the word.
* Build a simple website
Use a lot of white space and not too many colours. This will make it look sophisticated when you add in some brilliant pictures and splashes of colour. Too much colour is complexity and more work for eyes & brain. Think “Google”.
* Market, market, market!
Use SEO, SEM, SMM and whatever it takes to keep announcing to the world about your website. Over time, customers will find you online easily. If you do not market your website or don’t keep it updated, there is no point having one, and that is a BIG opportunity lost.
More on Branding
Looking for a branding agency?
At efficaci, we are engaged in delivering branded customer experiences, bespoke to your needs.
We believe in firm, minimalist branding that will stand the test of time, unless you have a better idea up your sleeve.
Let us sit across the table today to discuss your branding needs and bespoke branding services we offer. Big or small, we are here to take you far. The first consultancy is on the house, FREE!