Marketing is integral for companies of all types and sizes and remains one of the key ways that companies find new customers and increase sales. However, marketing efforts are only possible if an organization has first established the foundation: a brand.
What is a brand?
A brand, as defined by the American Marketing Association, is “a name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s goods or services as distinct from those of other sellers.” In other words, your brand is what sets you apart from your competition and conveys who you are as a business, product, or service.
Branding is the process of implementing your brand. Branding should happen across your employee base, all marketing and advertising platforms, and every interaction you have in relation to your company, whether internal or external.
The importance of branding
Elements of branding can be seen and felt across all aspects of what you do. A brand encompasses everything from your business colors and logo to your mission, vision, values, tagline, and more. If you have been in business for a while, your company has likely created a brand image (even if you did not set out to do it intentionally). By solidifying your brand and sharing it with your employees, you can create consistency and allow your brand to shine through in everything you do.
For example, your brain likely conjures images of a certain company when you think of a checkmark. The Nike tagline “Just Do It” conveys more than just shoes or sportswear. It tells the story of athletes and builds a narrative that the consumer can place themselves in that is more than Nike itself. This is the power and potential of a brand.
Branding is what ultimately allows a business to remain an established authority in their field and create customer loyalty. Consider a company like Airbnb, best known for their online marketplace where homeowners offer places to stay around the world. Through strong branding and the creation of a narrative that centers on their customers, they have since expanded to offer Experiences and even online Experiences. The only way these pivots and expansions of their original product have been possible, and successful, have been through strong branding that remains at the core of everything they do.
Examples of branding
As mentioned above, branding encompasses more than just a logo and colors. A brand should evoke the story your business tells, what makes you different, and what draws people to your company over others. Important branding elements include:
- Brand purpose
The business benefits of branding
Building a strong brand image and story allows your business to scale, pivot, and establish itself within its industry. You can tell your brand narrative and sell more than just a product. Creating a brand allows your marketing team to tell a cohesive story, gives your company a strong foundation, and allows you to build meaningful relationships with customers.
Consider, for example, what motivates your own purchase decisions. Are there certain companies that you return to time and time again? In these cases, it is likely the brand story and evocation that resonates with you in some way.
HubSpot shares that branding helps make your business memorable. Our team has worked hard to develop consistent brand images and features across all Bit-Wizards items. If you see a local billboard, drive by the office, or get a pen from the team, you will quickly recognize the branding patterns that are present. The next time you see a social post or hear an advertisement on the radio about Bit-Wizards, you will likely immediately recognize the brand and associate the services we offer.
Create your brand
Developing a brand is more than a one-time exercise or meeting. Branding must permeate through all levels of your business, and it takes time and consistency to successfully establish yourself. You can start creating your brand by identifying your Buyer Persona. Understanding your ideal audience and the person to whom you are speaking through your branding will help you establish your messaging more specifically.
Once you define your brand’s audience, you are able to begin crafting your mission, vision, and value statements. These elements must resonate with your personas, speak to what you want to accomplish, and reflect the products/services you offer. As you clarify your language and build statements that suit your company, you can begin to create the visual elements that will accompany them. Logos, colors, and brand images will all need to accompany your language to complete the brand.
Once your business establishes a brand, it’s time to share it with the world! Start by walking your employees and team through the brand. Your team will be the day-to-day representatives and voices for your brand, so they need to understand and embody it.
The next steps in your brand implementation include adding the visual elements to your website, updating your logo wherever it appears, and allowing your marketing team to include it in your public-facing elements. As mentioned above, branding is a continuous and iterative process.