Branding is the conscious effort to communicate with the market about who you are, what your values are, and what kind of service you expect from working with your business. It is important to get it right and can be disastrous if you get it wrong.

What is Branding?

Branding is the overall idea or image of your company or product that the market associates with your company. Your brand could be the one key thing that your customers define as your business when they find you online or anywhere else. This inclues your logo, name, designs and any other part that are unique and significant to your businesses. The brand can sometimes be the intangible parts of your company that hold it together as a unified part and can set it apart from anyone else on the market who offers a similar service or product.

If your brand has been developed well, it can trigger an emotional and visceral cue to your clients that is triggered when they are working with you or buying a product from you. This can create a tangible link between you and your customers that could result in themworking with you time and time again.

Branding is important to differentiate because different audiences want different things. When you do market research, you’ll find that there are many different brands and companies offering the same thing, but with different points of view messaging and imagery. This is how you can differentiate yourself to a niche who will most resonate with your brand.

A good example of this is a consumer brand like chocolate. Chocolate manufacturers face an incredibly broad audience of those who would want to buy their products. It’s also incredibly fiercely competitive since many people buy. There are thousands and thousands of brands in this market and so it’s incredibly important to create a niche and a brand that talks directly to these consumers. This can secure brand loyalty over the long run.

Why is Branding Important?

Branding is an absolutely critical part of any organisation because of the cumulative and lasting impact that it can have on your business. Branding is one of the key ways the consumers can change what they think about your company, it can bring in new business and create an intangible asset that increases your business over the long run. However, if done poorly it can have a detrimental impact on your business.

It’s important to remember that there’s only so many things that you can do to control your reputation in the marketplace, and branding is one of them. Your reputation can and will change even if you decide to do nothing about it and in today’s fast moving markets with online reviews and quick customer feedback, it’s important to control the parts of the process that you can, and continue to listen to your consumers moving forward. This is why many companies start the branding process right when they start out. In this way they can control what the market thinks about their name and logo and gives you some guiding principles and values moving forward.

It’s not true that branding is only something that large businesses can do. You’ll hear in the news about million pound makeovers of businesses that take years to come to fruition. This is branding, but branding doesn’t have to be as large as this. Branding and naming have a lot to do with common sense and communicating to a person, your consumer. And it has to do with how your product wants to be perceived in the marketplace, the size of your business and your ambitions as a business. Branding isn’t just something that you do and then forget about, it involves ongoing communication, thought and action.

If you want someone to do the whole branding process for you, it will of course be more expensive than if you want to work with a branding agency who lay out the guidelines and principles and let you get on with it. Likewise, if you want to brand, name, and market a product on a global scale, you’ll have to take into account cultural nuances including languages, linguistics and international trademarks.

How does Branding Increase Business Value?

I’m sure you’ve heard it before – branding helps a business in the long run. And it’s true. A strong established brand can increase ain organisations visibility and value by giving the company more prominence in the marketplace. If it’s a brand that you’ve seen in many different places, you’re more likely to trust it and believe in the brand and its ability to stick around for long term. After you’ve gone through the branding process, you should come up with a brand which incorporates the values, the reputation and how you want the market to perceive you.

If you are already have a strong reputation then it is important to build on this with a strong brand. Translating your reputation in to market share will mean that you can charge a premium for your products or have more of an influence.

In large organisations the brand is held on the balance sheet as intangible asset because it increases the overall worth of the company. Think of the value of a brand like BP or Adidas. Although it can be difficult to value the brand by giving a financial weight to it, is it important if the branding process itself and can be called brand valuation.

Plenty, Levitra and Volkswagen Bluemotion are all good examples of strong brands.

How Can I Attract New Customers?

Branding does not end with a logo and website, but is something that needs to be managed on an ongoing basis. If you have a strong brand and more importantly, follow through on your reputation, then you’ll have no issue getting referrals from existing customers. If you have a strong brand perception in the market it means that there’ll be a positive impression about your company in the marketplace.

This will improve and increase your chance of being referred because everyone likes to refer businesses. They’ve had a good time with. After you are well established, you can expect that word of mouth will be a strong revenue stream.

If you think about the people whose reputation you know, you can imagine that a reputation proceeds the person or the organisation. Once this reputation has been established then it is very difficult to change. If one of your customers already has a positive impression of your brand, then they’ll be much more likely to work with you on an ongoing basis.

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How can a brand attract talent to the business?

Everyone wants to work for a company that is well respected and treats its people well. If you have customers that already have a positive view of the company then they’ll be easier to deal with and be better to work with.

If you believe that you’re company has a good reputation, then you’ll be proud to work there than want to go the extra mile. It’s important to remember that stakeholders of the brand aren’t just customers, but also those who work there. When it comes down to it, most business is done person to person, and if you believe in what you’re doing, the company that you work for, you’ll be more likely to do a good job.

How Has Branding Changed Over The Years?

Over the past two decades there has been a big shift in how we communicate which has had a big impact on how we market our brands. It has not only introduced new platforms that brands use to promote their products, but it’s also given the end user and consumer a voice. This is something that didn’t always exist before the internet. It is now possible for a consumer to leave an immediate review about your product or brand right after they’ve experienced it. This is increasing the expectation of a brand and creates a challenge in how you create your image in the marketplace. There is a huge number of voices and audiences that now exist online and knowing where to put your energy is a key part of branding.

Consumers are now very interested in what other consumers have to say about a brand. This is become even more important than what the brands have to say because reviews are made, mostly, by real people. There is no brand alive today that is above public scrutiny. The internet holds every organisation accountable for their own brand which is a scary prospect, but if harnessed properly can be incredibly exciting.

When Should I Refresh my Branding?

Even if your brand has been around for hundreds of years there is always an opportunity when you need to re-look at your brand. If you look at some of the biggest players in the market, you’ll notice that even when they have huge market share, they don’t rest on their laurels and they change their logos, packaging, and colours on a fairly frequent basis. This is because they’re paying attention to the market and no that they have strong competition from startups who are fresher, more agile and have new branding.

It’s never about overhauling what the business does, it’s about changing the angle and how you communicate about what you do best and why your clients and consumers come back to you.

We’ve worked with Adidas, BP, and AstraZeneca to refresh brands that have been around for a long time. We’ve created names and branding for them that respond to market conditions. They understand that a brand needs to be distinct, memorable and easy to pronounce so that consumers will come back time and time again.

Is Design Important for a Brand?

Yes, A website or a new logo design plays an important part in your identity and brand. The design of your logo will be one of the first things that a potential consumer sees before they even know what you do or who you are. If you think about some of the biggest companies in the world like Volvo, Volkswagen, Braun and Phillips, their logos will pop into your mind instantly. When you’re first branding a product, you won’t get this type of recognition, but it’s something that you should be aiming for as you lay out your name and design of your company.

The design of your brand is a link between some of the values of your brand and how you communicate with your audience on a day-to-day basis. The logo or name of your company is the only thing that you should focus on and you should also consider colors, shapes, values, typography, sounds.

Once you’ve thought through some of these parts of your brand, then you can make sure that they are implemented in synchronised across all points of your brand and marketing and communications. It might also be worth creating brand guidelines or brand instructions so that those in the organisation know how to interact and implement your brand.

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