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August 26, 2021
Branding Strategies You Really Need To Follow in 2021
What is branding?
Branding is what your business needs to break through the clutter and grab your ideal customer’s attention. It is what transforms first-time buyers into lifetime customers and turns an indifferent audience into brand evangelists. It is what you need to stand out, make an impact and take your business to the next level.
In other words, if you want your business to succeed, branding is non-negotiable.
But why, exactly, is branding so important? What does it entail? And how do you brand your business in a way that’s going to have a real impact on your audience? In this article, we are going to explore what branding is and how your business can reap its benefits most effectively.
Why is branding important?
Branding is important because it:
Helps you stand out from the competition. It does not matter what kind of company you have, what industry you’re in, or what type of customer you’re after—if you’re in business, you’ve got some serious competition. Branding helps you establish how you are different, special, and unique. And it shows your customers why they should work with you instead of your competitors.
Builds brand recognition. If you want to build a successful brand, you need to be recognizable. The right branding (including designing an impactful logo, website, and other brand assets) helps you carve out a distinct style, and it increases your brand recognition in the market.
Creates a consistent brand experience for your customers. For your business to succeed, you need to provide a consistent experience for your customers however they interact with your brand—whether that’s through your website, at an in-person event or by following your social media accounts. Branding allows you to control how people perceive and experience your brand—and you can ensure that perception and experience stays consistent across all your brand touchstones.
Sparks a connection with your audience and turns that audience into loyal customers. The most successful businesses are the ones that foster an emotional connection with their audience. That emotional connection is what transforms a prospect into a customer and a customer into a brand enthusiast. And how do you create and build that connection? Branding. Different branding strategies (like packing an emotional punch with your brand voice or leveraging color psychology when designing your logo) can help you connect with your audience on a deeper level and create a sense of loyalty to your brand.
Newcomers to branding often look at the end product—the commercial, the banner ad, the website,etc.—and conclude that it’s all about the creative.
But great practitioners know that underneath any piece of creative that achieves its objectives is a single, dominating insight about what makes their product truly better, and why that difference moves customers to action. This is what strategy is all about.
Develop brand awareness
Brand awareness refers specifically to how your business is perceived, both in market position and in consumers’ minds. Ideally, you want customers to have a positive impression of your brand with the service or product that you offer. Strong brand awareness is one of the main motivators to encourage your target audience to select your brand explicitly, even if cheaper or alternative options are available.
Establish brand recognition
A key component of brand awareness, brand recognition applies more pointedly to how consumers remember your product or service, also known as brand recall. This can be prompted by visual branding assets like brand colors, a logo or a catchy slogan. For example, imagine you’re on a road trip, and on the highway in the distance, you see golden arches—without even thinking about it, you already identified McDonald’s.
Build brand trust
Brand trust is important both for the impression your business gives to potential customers, and within your industry. According to Intelligence Node, “over 60% of online adults in Canada, the US, and Europe want the companies they buy from to be transparent about their business practices.”
A company with a strong brand not only presents itself as more professional and polished, but also evokes trust through transparency and authenticity. Beyond this, outlining your brand values upfront and keeping your brand promise is what encourages prospective and current customers to believe in, and support
Give your business an identity
Just as each person has their own unique identity, so does your brand. Imagine you are setting up two friends on a blind date, and you need to describe each person to the other. How might you identify or characterize them? Try to think of your brand as a person rather than a commodity or an object. Known formally as “brand anthropomorphism”, this idea challenges you to visualize your brand like a human to better define how the brand acts, speaks, dresses, communicates or impacts the world.
Establish employee pride
Employees who stand behind their brand and take pride in their work are not only good for business,but they also play a key role in shaping public perception of your brand. This has positive implications across the board. It can influence the ways customers identify your brand, but it can also encourage prospective employees to seek out your company. A well-branded company should make workers feel a sense of belonging, overall satisfaction and pride. This will encourage them to authentically promote the brand across all types of channels and platforms.
Enhance your business value
Whether you are a small business owner or an established corporation, branding plays an important role in validating your financial value and building your brand equity. The growth of your company can depend on successful branding when attracting new customers, generating business or breaking into new markets. Even more, in regard to expanding your venture, an expertly branded business is a more attractive investment for potential investors.
Essential branding elements
Branding is a strategic and critical process, but also requires creativity and consistency across all brand touchstones. As there are many branding elements to consider, it is wise to create a strong and cohesive brand style guide that acts as a manual, or catalog to accompany both visual and non-visual elements.
Things to consider for creating a strong visual brand identity
Get your logo right
Your logo is the face of your company and designing your logo is arguably the single most important branding you’ll do for your business. During the design process, think about who you are as a brand and how you want to be perceived by your customers. Use that to drive your design strategy.
If you look at well-known brands, they all use consistent color palettes (who doesn’t think “red” when they think of Coca-Cola?). These big-name brands are consistent with their colors throughout their texts, images, and designs because it helps make them more recognizable.
Choose just a handful of colors and apply them to everything you do. The colors you choose should reflect the personality of your brand, so if you run a daycare, for example, you may want to use bright colors. If you run a law firm, you may want to be a bit more conservative with the colors you choose.
Choose a font that matches your brand personality
Along with your color palette, you need to be mindful of the font you use as it can speak volumes about the type of business you are. For example, if you run a serious business, you may want to stay away from Comic Sans, but if your business is light-hearted and fun and that’s how you want to be portrayed, then that may be the right font for you.
In addition to matching your personality, you must also ensure it matches your audience’s perception of you and sits well with them.
Don’t forget about layout
Many brands believe that if they have their logo, color, and fonts, then they’re good to go, but the reality is they’re not quite finished yet.
How those elements flow together is equally important. How you present them as a unified strategy can truly make or break your brand recognition.
Use the visuals to bring out emotions
The more of an emotional connection you can make with your audience, the more likely they’ll be to trust you and eventually buy from you.
What do you want your audience to think and feel when they come across your brand? Ask yourself these questions, and remember, visuals can more quickly tell customers whether your brand is a good fit for them more than words can.
Non- visual branding elements
A mission statement is a vital part of your branding efforts and should serve to express your brand purpose and brand values (we’ll go into those in more detail below). In no more than a few sentences, this branding element should let anyone who encounters your brand (from your customers to your investors and competitors) clearly understand what you’re all about. Think of your brand mission statement as a ‘why’ explanation that guides not only what your business offers but the purpose behind it.
Like your mission statement, your vision statement is a clear and concise articulation outlining your strategic business goals. It serves as a roadmap to guide the initial stages of your company and the future of your brand. Your brand vision can evolve over time and grow with your business but should always remain consistent with your core brand values.
With so many nuanced pieces of the branding puzzle, defining your brand identity from the get-go epitomizes both the personality of your company, but also the commitment you make to your audience. Taking into consideration your brand values, mission and brand persona, your brand identity amalgamates all these ideals together in one definitive place. It supports how your brand communicates your service or product, and how it is experienced by others.
Your brand story should set the tone for all forms of content and branding assets, from your social media posts to your marketing campaigns and everything in between. This means keeping consistency and authenticity throughout. Concerning your brand story, this is a chance to use your narrative to foster meaningful relationships with your audience and help them better understand what your business is
Brand voice shapes all your communications, develops consistency and builds trust. Once you define a brand voice, you will use it proudly across all your marketing assets and communication channels. This is true both internally with employees and externally with customers.
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