These days, it seems as though marketing and business courses and guides revolve around branding above all else. Indeed, branding is a core aspect of modern business growth and evolution… but why?
Many would-be entrepreneurs and startup executives don’t fully grasp the importance of branding their businesses or why they should bother focusing so much time and attention on building a brand from scratch. Today, let’s break down why branding is so critical for your business no matter its industry or niche.
What is Branding?
In a nutshell, branding is the art of defining and maintaining a style, aesthetic, and overall impression of your business.
Imagine Apple’s brand as a company. When you or anyone else thinks of Apple, they probably think of things like:
- Stylish gadgets
- Friendly salespeople
- Cutting-edge tech
All of these are elements of Apple’s brand. In essence, the brand is the overall characterization or thematic and emotional appeal of the company.
When you start a business from the ground up, you don’t have any brand to speak of. But as you develop your products, build up a clientele or customer base, and design and launch your website and other aesthetic elements, your brand should organically grow in time.
Furthermore, you can directly influence how your brand grows and evolves through marketing, conscious aesthetic changes, and deciding what types of products you’ll offer to your customers.
“Make no mistake, branding is a vital part of modern business,” says Adam Bém, Co-Founder and COO of Victoria VR.
Branding is Important Because…
Still not convinced that you need to dedicate time and money to branding? Let’s take a look at five areas in which branding can seriously improve the performance of your business.
It Separates You from the Competition
For starters, branding helps to distinguish you from competitors in the same industry or niche. No matter what industry you operate in, you probably have at least a few direct competitors who offer largely the same products or services.
To draw your target audience to your business instead of competitors, your brand can make up the difference. It can show that you are:
- Better attuned to your target consumers’ needs and preferences
- A better fit due to your budget-friendly offerings or other factors
- Help to distinguish your USP or unique selling proposition without having to state it outright
All of these benefits can significantly improve how well your business appears next to its competitors. This is especially important in the earliest days of your brand when you are still trying to build a customer base and make your company seem more worthwhile than similar companies.
It Signals to Your Target Audience
Secondly, branding helps to positively signal your company to your target audience. After all, branding is the aesthetic and thematic character of your company.
Say that you want to offer family-friendly graphic t-shirts. If your branding reflects this focus, family-minded shoppers will be more likely to both find your company and shop there rather than going to a competitor’s website or store.
In other words, branding is essentially the first impression that your company has on a prospective buyer or client. “The better your brand matches up with a customer’s needs or preferences, the more likely they are to look more into your company and choose you over your competitors,” says Matas Jakutis, CMO at Forcefield Digital.
It Helps You Market Your Business
By the same token, branding can help you passively market your business. Take Walmart, for example.
By this point, Walmart’s branding is so strong that everyone knows Walmart is:
- A budget-friendly supermarket chain
- Likely to have anything they need, ranging from groceries to household items to clothes and more
- Generally ideal for families or budget-minded shoppers
Without seeing a single commercial, someone might very well walk into Walmart intending to make a purchase. According to Theresia Le Battistini, CEO and Founder of Fashion League, “That’s the power of branding, especially once the snowball effect occurs and you’ve branded your company successfully for several months or years. The longer you work on a consistent brand, the more powerful that brand becomes and the more you can rely on it to bolster your marketing campaigns.”
It Draws and Retains Top Talent
But branding is good for another reason: it helps to draw top talent to your company and keep them working for you for years to come.
Your brand can influence how prospective employees, college graduates, and even other executives perceive your company. If you’ve branded your company successfully, prospective employees:
- Will want to work for your company without knowing what you pay in terms of salary
- Will want to work for your company more than competitors – this is even more important, as you want the best talent working for you rather than competing organizations
“In the long-term, the right brand can also help build employee loyalty, meaning your top employees are less likely to jump ship if a competitor offers them a salary bump or other perks,” says Alex Wang, CEO at Ember Fund. “That’s crucial in the modern economy when many professionals are ready to switch employers at the drop of a hat.”
It Builds Customer Loyalty
Speaking of loyalty, the right branding can build it in customers just like it can build it in employees. Customer loyalty is vital since it usually costs more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain and get sales from an existing customer.
By improving customer loyalty, you’ll improve your long-term revenue streams, solidify your business’s finances, and make it much more likely that you’ll have a thriving and loyal customer base for a long time in the future. The right brand can inspire so much loyalty in customers that they’ll pick up your product over a competitor’s without doing any research!
Ultimately, branding is just as important for your business as it is for enterprises around the world. The right brand can significantly elevate your organization’s productivity, efficiency, and even revenue. More importantly, a good brand will set your business up for success and customer loyalty for years to come.