The Basics of Branding
Branding is an important aspect of your business, be it big or small.
But what is branding? Why should you care about branding? And does it affect small businesses?
Simply put, branding is your business’ image, or rather the process of creating your business’ image. While also important, your brand is more than just your logo, and reflects certain aspects of your business, from quality of customer service, the quality of your services or products to your business’ mission and ideals. Your brand also shows your customers what to expect from your products or services. It is who you are, and how you are perceived by current and prospective clients.
So why is it important and why should you create and maintain your business’ brand? Whether you notice it or not, you already have a brand. People will make certain connotations based on your customer service, the quality of your products or services and how you deliver it to them, what your business’ ideals and morals are and the general vibe they get from you and your employees. Focusing on your branding gives you more control over how you are perceived, helps to get your business recognized by having a good and positive brand and gives you multiple opportunities to grow your business.
A good brand sets your business apart from competitors, and maintains customer loyalty.
We all know that companies such as Nike, Adidas, Apple, and Microsoft have strong brands. A lot of their prospective customers are generated by the brand image itself. If they did not put so much effort into creating and maintain their brand, they might not have been where they are today.
The examples of brands I used are huge companies, so you might be thinking that it does not have much relevance to you and your company. Why should small businesses care about branding? Well, it is a rarity that you are the only business that sells a particular product or service.
Today consumers have so many options and you need to show what sets you apart from your competitors. Are your products or services high cost for great quality? Or are you affordable and trustworthy? Unfortunately you cannot be everything to everyone and the sooner you create a good brand identity, the better. All companies started as small businesses, and neglecting your brand won’t help your business grow.
We are seeing a big increase in conscious consumers today. While that mostly pertains to environmentally conscious and sustainable products and services, I personally see it as much more. Prospective clients want to know more about you, about your business and they want to know that they are supporting a business that stands for something. Whether it is impeccable customer service, catering to a variety of subcultures or supporting ethical causes, this all ties into strong & authentic branding.