Whether you’re aware of it or not, every company and every product already has a brand. But what is branding? A brand is a feature or a set of features that allows us to distinguish from one organisation to another. A brand can usually be defined by a name, logo, catchphrase, colour scheme, theme tune, and much more.
Branding isn’t just branding anymore, it’s corporate branding, service branding, product branding and even personal branding. Whether you’re a large corporation, a small business just starting up, a marketing professional or just your average joe buying breakfast before a long day at work – branding is part of every aspect of our everyday lives.
Branding is a perception in the mind of your audience. It’s what people think, feel and associate when they consider your products, services, missions, and customer experience. Essentially, branding is the process of developing and applying particular features to your organisation that allows customers to easily identify your brand with your products or services and the thing that helps to retain loyal customers.
But what is good branding? Here are some of our ultimate branding tips:
Follow a branding strategy
A brand strategy is a specific, long-term plan with goals that can be worked towards and achieved as your brand grows. These goals will be based on things such as your brand’s mission statement, ethos, competitive awareness and employee involvement. Some strategies will evolve naturally over time, and some will be apparent from the offset.
The main branding mistake a corporation can make is being inconsistent. Inconsistency causes customers to become confused with who you are and what you do and results in you getting lost in a sea of competitors. Brands that are recognisable reap the benefits of loyal and valuable customers. When your brand is consistent across all platforms and mediums, it is easy for customers to recognise and become more familiar with your brand as time goes on. Having a branding strategy and key branding guidelines can help this.
Inspiration, not imitation
Being aware of your competitors is important for any brand, and conducting competitive analysis is a key aspect of any successful organisation, as it allows you to become aware of competitor strengths and weaknesses, and so allows you to use this to improve your own brand.
Competitor analysis can be an extremely powerful tool, but you must be careful not to imitate your competitors, rather than take inspiration from them. The focus should be on how you can use the information to further your brand – this doesn’t mean taking what they’ve done but just putting your own spin on things. What is successful for one brand, may not be for another, even if the target market is the same. Coming up with innovative, and unique ways to set apart your brand will be more beneficial, and more memorable to your customers.
In today’s market, one of the only ways you can connect with your audience is by giving them something they can relate to. More and more audiences are expecting brands to advocate for what they believe in, and have a strong ethos to match. It can be tempting to remain neutral, and not divulge into anything that could cause anyone to view you as controversial, but ill-defined values can cause a bad reputation, and get lost amongst all the other brands that are too scared to define what they stand for. By remaining neutral, and being the ‘people pleaser’ brand, you end up pleasing no one. Be bold with what your brand believes in.
Whether your business is small or large, old or new, prioritising your brand strategy will pay off in more ways than one. Need help getting started? Our expert team can help you build a branding strategy to help elevate your brand online.