Whether you’ve just started a business or are looking to refresh your existing offering, there should be one thing on your mind right now: branding, writes Shayne Tilley, head of marketing at 99designs.
Having a strong brand is so much more than a slick website, catchy slogan or a fancy business card. It’s your voice, your personality and your identity all rolled into one. It’s a one way ticket to establishing a reputation for your business that ensures first-time customers turn into loyal lifetime fans. In short, when it comes to making an impact, it’s non-negotiable if you want your business to succeed. Working with brand strategy consults is ideal but many also opt to learn from professionals via brand workshops.
Why is strong branding so important, now more than ever?
Stand out among increased competition
Regardless of the industry you’re in, if you have a business, you have competition. Your brand not only helps define who you are and what you do or sell, it also tells the prospective customer how you are different and why they should choose you.
In today’s digital world, your online presence is a vital part of your overall brand. We recently conducted a survey of small businesses around the world and found that 25 per cent had either started or were planning to create a completely new website from scratch as a direct result of the pandemic. This means online competition is heating up, and it’s only going to get hotter from here – so it’s worth making sure your brand stands out to be remembered.
Build trust with your customers
Brands are built on the trust they inspire in their customers, and they can easily crumble when that trust is lost. While brand transparency was already an important factor for customers, the pandemic has only amplified the importance of this. The uncertainty of our personal and professional lives has prompted consumers to become more conservative and conscious in their purchasing behaviours. In these unsettled and unfamiliar times, customers choose familiar, trustworthy brands. By using your branding to communicate openly and authentically about who you are and what you stand for, you can strike a genuine chord with your customers, and show them exactly why they can trust you.
Create a consistent experience
Creating a strong, consistent visual brand across all touchpoints of your business does more than make your business look good. Consistent branding allows you to shape how people perceive and experience your brand, wherever they may interact with you. Whether that’s through your website and social media accounts, or your product and packaging designs, a consistent brand is a recognisable brand. Customers are more likely to return if they feel a sense of familiarity when they next come across your brand or products, so it pays to invest in that consistency.
Spark an emotional connection
The most successful businesses are the ones that are able to spark emotional connections with their customers, and it’s impossible to do that without a solid brand identity.
As consumers, we tend to have personal responses to brands, in a similar way to how we react to people we meet, and many of our purchasing decisions are based on feelings rather than logic. In other words, having a great business model isn’t enough – you need a great brand personality to match. This helps you relate to customers on a deeper level, and helps them feel a sense of ownership and belonging to your brand, product or service. And it’s this connection that can transform a prospect into a customer, and a customer into a loyal brand advocate!
So, whether you’re just starting out or you’re a long-established business coming to terms with everything that 2020 has thrown your way, investing in and nurturing your brand is vital if you want your customers to stick around for the long term.