Think of the last time you watched a Nike commercial — how did it make you feel? Inspired? Motivated? You might even have had the urge to go to the gym. (Well, maybe a fleeting thought that you should get back to the gym!) So what’s at play here? How does Nike manage to evoke these feelings each and every time you see a commercial or that infamous swoosh? This is branding at work.
So what is a brand?
Your brand is how the outside world thinks about your business. Your brand sets the tone of your business and shapes how customers feel when they encounter your brand. Essentially, brand is your business’s personality represented through visual and written assets.
Your brand is more than your logo — it includes print and digital marketing that use your specific color palette, typography, messaging, and more. If you think about it, the Nike swoosh in itself would seem pretty meaningless without the brand (word, emotions, and imagery) that surround the swoosh.
Define Your Values
Creating a memorable brand starts with your brand values. Your values guide behavior in each interaction, creating a consistent and positive customer experience. Without defined brand values, customers and prospects will find it more difficult to give their trust and money to your business because they are not sure what to expect.
Consider what you want customers to experience each time they encounter your brand. Quality products? Joy? Exceptional customer service? An aha moment? Reliability? Excitement? Or the feeling like they’re treating themselves to something special?
Establish Your Brand Position
Brands (like Nike) are memorable because they stand apart from their competition. While it may be on a smaller level, creating a distinct brand for your business will help customers remember how you are different from competitors.
Create Brand Consistency & Recognition
Brand visual and written assets enable you to create cohesiveness across all your print and digital marketing materials. From your website to business cards to signage, using unified styles, colors, and consistent design elements will provide customers with a sense of stability and reliability that they will then associate with your products and services.
Building brand assets will also save money and time. You won’t have to start from scratch each time you start a new marketing project, send out an email, or post on social media. You’ll already have your logo, colors, style, and messaging in place to build upon.
Then, you can hand off any project, along with your brand asset library, to a design agency to complete quickly and efficiently. And since the agency has everything they need to complete a project (even last-minute projects), you won’t pay for as many billable hours or need to have as much back-and-forth communication.
Build Brand Culture
Naturally, you want your customers coming back again and again! And while having quality products or services is the backbone for building customer loyalty, creating a brand-conscious culture aligns your current team to connect with and serve your customers in your specific way.
Help your team understand your core values, implementing them in every interaction with each other and with your customers, which in turn creates a consistent and enjoyable experience again and again, building brand loyalty and affinity.
Moving Your Business Forward
Branding is important for businesses because customers that don’t see a clear picture of who they’re working with will feel cautious, hesitant, or even scared to put their trust in your services or products.
- Brands create big impact, helping your business send out a clear and consistent message.
- Brand assets save you time (and money).
- Brand alignment across your website, email signature, marketing materials, and social presence builds trust over time.
Brand sets you apart whether your competitive arena is local, global, or somewhere in between. It helps define expectations and then deliver on them in a consistent and reliable way that builds trust, repeat business, and referrals. The reasons people invest in creating or building a brand differ as does the level of their investment. From an upcoming conference or tradeshow to expanding your franchise to simply looking and sounding as good as you are, brand has a role to play in helping you achieve your goals.
We know the branding process can feel overwhelming. There’s a lot to consider when creating a brand, updating your brand, or rebranding completely. You’re not alone though — we can help!