This is a guest blog by Aarti Parmar.
Great brands make it look so simple. In all their marketing activity they somehow manage to instantly convey the very essence of a product or company, sometimes without even putting it into words! But behind that effortless exterior, you can guarantee a lot of hard work has been put into the branding identity, the concept that underpins every effective marketing campaign. Let’s take a closer look at the importance of branding in marketing.
Branding is all about creating a distinct, recognisable identity, reputation and personality for your business. It doesn’t just mean having a fancy logo (although that can be part of it); rather, branding governs the overall impression you put out there to your audience, communicating who you are and what you offer.
Think about branding, and you might think of Coca Cola, Nike and other massive names, their logos plastered over billboards or emblazoned on a T-shirt. While these definitely are examples of strong and successful branding, it’s important to realise that branding is also key for ordinary small and medium-sized businesses, who, just like the big guys, need a strong brand identity in order to attract publicity and market their product effectively. Big or small, all companies need their brands to do these 6 things:
People need to understand what you stand for at a glance, even if they’ve never encountered your company or products before. Whether you’re a household name or known only to your customer base, brand recognition creates an accurate ‘gut feeling’ in consumers about what you offer, helping people to slot you into the right mental category. So when they see your marketing materials, they’ll instantly know if yours is the type of brand that appeals to them.
Do you have a lot of competitors all offering similar products or services? In that case, you need to differentiate yourself and give people a reason to choose your brand. Without this groundwork, enabled by your branding, you’ll have a hard time convincing people with your marketing activity.
A lot of the work done by branding is slow and stealthy. Mostly, it’s not about immediate results; instead, your brand needs to have repeated exposure over time in order to infiltrate public consciousness. It’s when people are in a position to find you familiar, that marketing can be truly effective.
To market something effectively, your employees all need to be on the same page. That can only really happen if there’s a strong brand identity behind the scenes, so everyone really understands the values they’re promoting.
What makes people keep coming back? In order to form loyalty to a product or company, customers need a recognisable ‘personality’ to build a relationship with. If there’s nothing that’s special or unique about your own particular brand, there’s no reason for people to stay loyal to you.
If you’re having trouble marketing your business, there may be a simple reason why. Marketing success depends on having a strong brand to get behind; if your brand identity is confused, it’s almost impossible to sell yourself effectively to consumers. It’s vital to unify your output by offering consistency across everything you do, from packaging to posters, to the style of customer service you offer.
Aarti is a brand expert who helps businesses understand the strategy behind developing their brand; explore their brand opportunities through consultancy; and create purposeful and impactful design.