In an increasingly brand conscious world, many business owners underestimate the real value of their branding.
First impressions count and in a crowded and sceptical market-place, it’s important to create a positive first impression. Before your business can impart information about its product or service, you need to gain a prospective customer’s attention and create a connection. Branding is all about showing that you are ‘their kind of business’.
It’s worth considering that potential customers will make decisions about your business — so, if you don’t make every effort to show them what you want them to know, they will make their own assumptions. Branding is about shaping perceptions.
Unfortunately many business owners are often so caught up in the day-to-day running of their work that their brand gets neglected. Just look at the number of established companies that are struggling, simply because they haven’t moved on and are still relying on outdated approaches. These companies are often overtaken by newer ones. Frequently the only real difference between their products or services is the perceptions around them. Branding is about making you stand out.
In the past your logo was key to your branding and with basic design software now readily available some business have gone down the DIY route or opted for a cheap online design that may or may not be appropriate. But a logo on its own isn’t enough in today’s marketplace. Brand strategy needs to be at the heart of your approach as it will steer your visual elements, key messaging and marketing approach. Understanding what you are supplying and what your target audience really needs is paramount. If you are a business owner who knows you should do marketing and social media but simply don’t know where to start, an in-depth understanding of what your brand does, its ethos, mission, and positioning, will give you a much clearer approach and plenty to say in your marketing. Branding is ultimately about winning business.
Let’s look at a quick example. A business sells widgets into the manufacturing industry. Who is the key decision maker buying the widgets? Is it the shopfloor manager who needs the fastest delivery, the procurement department who want the cheapest price, or the MD who wants to know it is the best product? Depending on who the target buyer is will determine how the business selling the widgets will want to be perceived and the messaging they will use.
Over the last couple of decades things have really changed around branding as customers have become more savvy and now have every opportunity to voice their opinions. These days your company must demonstrate to potential clients that it is a player in its industry, that it knows its business and knows about business, and that it cares about its customers. That it is positioned for a particular target audience and has credibility. That its product or service solves a problem or fulfils a desire, after all many products are purchased with emotion rather rationale. Your business needs to convince any contact (whether customer, supplier, employee, end-user, contractor, bank manager, e.tc.,) that it knows what it is doing, where it is heading and exactly how it intends to get there. Your branding is the key to everything.
The Art of Communication
This article was published in the July/August 2021 issue of Steer Your Business