No matter your size be it you are a large multinational corporation or are just a small store selling your own crafts, branding matters. Now branding isn’t just the logo, colours or a slogan although those are its most visible signs. If you just google the definition of branding what comes up is the following:
Branding is a marketing strategy that involves creating a differentiated name and image – often using a logo and/or tag line – in order to establish a presence in the consumer’s mind and attract and keep customers.
While this definition is fine I would say that branding is more than just a marketing strategy it precedes one because it is about who you are as a company, what you stand for and how it is perceived by your customers. That needs to come before the strategy because without a brand your marketing strategy is hollow.
There are several distinct elements that make up a brand and Just Creative had a great post about it. There are lot elements to a brand from the most obvious like the logo to what the brand stands for. Just create says that a brand is “the perceived emotional corporate image as a whole.” I would say that the perception goes to customers and also to those that represent the brand.
Next Just Creative goes into the identity which are the visual elements of the brand and the final element is the logo which identifies the brand. The reason I think they separate the logo from the visuals is that the logo is what identifies the brand, its what you recall, what you want to remember which makes it distinct from the visual style.
For many small businesses you are your brand they are not separate and for others even if you have a brand identity that is distinct you imbue the brand with who you are as an individual and your commitment to your customers is what will make your customers keep on coming back.
What a brand is matter how big or small is what it you are there to do, what do you stand for and what drives you to do it. Living to these ideals in all aspects of your business because it’s who you are will make your customers go to you. Authenticity is hard to fake because it comes across in subtle ways as much as the obvious ones and it’s what makes your brand feel real.
Clarity is important in branding, you can’t be everything to everyone and you shouldn’t try because that can get people confused about who you are and what you do. Focus on doing what you do well. Be the ice cream parlour that has the most unusual flavours or whatever.
A small business may think it is just appealing to locals but if you are online and even if you are not you can be found by someone on the other side of the world. In the modern age, most people are just a search away from being found. So branding is what you stand for and how your customers perceive that. It isn’t created in isolation but is made up of what you represent, the visuals, the business and most importantly how your customers see you.
So no matter how big or small you are branding is important, first, you have to provide great products or services but branding makes you feel unique to customers. In an age where there are a lot of alternatives to everything, a good brand stands apart like a splash of colour in a sea of black and white and that’s where you want to be as a brand and a business.