Beginners Guide - What is branding and is it important for small businesses?
For many business owners, branding and marketing is a tricky topic and often not prioritised. It could be for budget reasons or simply not knowing where to start.
Branding is an essential aspect of your business, and you should never ignore it. Think carefully about it and you will have success. Smallbizgenius says: Do it right, and it can increase revenue by up to 23%.
Branding is what people say about you when you are not in the room. Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon
If you think of your company as a fictitious person you create ( to make it easier to follow, let’s call the person Brandon), you would want Brandon to have a voice, a style, a purpose and a way of being. A personality of sorts. Like in real life, not everyone likes everyone, and not everyone is everywhere with everybody else. You need to find your crowd where Brandon fits in and can stay true to himself.
Branding is vital to a business because it is how a company gets recognition, becomes known to the consumer, and gets engagement and creates loyalty. According to research from Edelman, 81% said that they need to be able to trust the brand to buy from them.
Potential customers would want to become friends with Brandon because they like what they hear and see when he shows up. They love what he stands for and want to hear more about what he has to say. They trust him and want to be associated with him.
By having a strong brand, you have a clear vision of what you want people to say about your business when you are not there to explain it. We can all describe our friends, it’s the same for a brand, just a little more thought through and calculated. Brandon is not a real person at the end of the day. Even though he probably is a charming person if he ever was created. On the contrary, we all remember the kids from school that were your best friend one day and shortly after, you realise you didn’t have so much in common, and you parted ways.
If you are not a strong brand, you give away the same vibes. You might be friends one day, but realise it wasn’t quite right, so you move on. You do this over and over again, and it will get lonely. That is probably, and hopefully, the last thing you want to do.
Another critical aspect is visual branding. Probably the part that is familiar to you. It means the name, the logo, and the colours and fonts etc. that you use. Choosing brand colours with careful consideration can impact how people perceive your brand. Reboot states that it can increase your brand recognition by 80% if you do it right, so don’t ignore it.
Going back to Brandon, this would be his name, his fashion style and tone of voice. Is he kind, relaxed, helpful, intelligent…? Depending on who you are talking to, these things matter.
Is Brandon well-articulated, funny, to the point? You need to listen to your crowd (target market) to find out what kind of “friend” they would interest them.
If you bring a corporate lawyer in his 70’s who is articulate and informative and knows lots about gardening and birdwatching into a teenage social media convention, you will probably not have a lot of people who want to talk to him.
He probably has very little interest in talking to them also. It’s about finding a good match. In summary, when you think about your business and the heart of the brand. You are in a way, talking about the personality of the company, as if it was a person.
When you are talking about an awareness campaign, you are talking about how potential customers can get a chance to get to know Brandon. First impressions matter. 8ways writes that it takes about 0.05 seconds for people to form an opinion about your website, so pay attention to it. Wouldn’t you want Brandon to be happy? Wouldn’t you want others to get the opportunity to get to know him? What would you do to make it happen?
If you thought about answering the last question, you believe in the importance of branding and should you ensure your business gives it focus. A great brand is in the right crowd where they fit in. Loved by many and is someone everyone wants to listen to because they have something relevant to say and is trusted. If done well, the reputation spreads, and suddenly the brand is something everyone wants to be engaged with and talks about to their friends.
A failed brand does none of the above and continues to search for its crowd with no success. It doesn’t know where it belongs or if they manage to get an invitation, it has no idea what to say, and people will forget about it. Who would you rather be? Every business has an opportunity to thrive. You need to find your brand heart and style and focus on the right crowd.
Anna Seefeldt, your practical, straight-talking branding, marketing and business consultant, founded the company to assist with all your marketing needs. Anna Seefeldt lives in Singapore with her husband and two children. For any questions or support in building your business and brand, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.