Becoming more than just a business or a face on the internet takes a lot more than a few random posts a week and some word of mouth from your friends. It takes work and dedication to build a quality brand.
An effective brand strategy puts you ahead of the curve in the competitive markets around your business. So, what DOES "branding" mean, and how is it essential for a small business like yours?
A brand encompasses your business name, logo, color palette, company mission, tag line or motto, etc. While branding includes researching and developing your brand to increase awareness and positive association with your products or services. When your customers see your product, designs, logo, colors, etc., they know what to expect from your business.
We always tell our clients that your branding is your promise to your customers. What are you telling your consumers, directly or indirectly? Consumers have different types of experiences with businesses based on their promises. Your promise can provide positive brand association, but the failure to abide by your promise can increase negative association around your brand. The promise "we donate 10% of all profits to charity" tells your consumers that you are a generous and charitable business. However, if it comes to light that you never donated any money, then there will be a negative association around your brand.
Consistent branding and a clear, in place strategy will lead to a substantial brand equity or value brought to the products and or services you are offering to your customers. Brand equity is what your brand is worth and is shown with brand loyalty, awareness, associations, and perceived quality. Strong brand equity will allow you to charge more for your brand than identical, competitive, and unbranded products can.
Brand loyalty refers to the positive consumer attitudes and commitment towards your business, regardless of competitor's actions or product changes. If a competitor opens up a coffee shop across the street from you, with the same type of products at a lower price, are your customers still going to come to you?
Brand Awareness is how well consumers know your brand. Are the elements of your brand, such as your color palette, packaging design, and logo, well known? Do consumers look at your logo and immediately know it's your business and your product?
Brand Associations - high brand association leads to higher brand quality. What comes to the mind of consumers when they think of your business? Having a high or positive brand association leads to higher perceived quality. When you think of Cartier, you instantly think of luxury, expensive, high-end products. Cartier's brand association is positive and high, causing its perceived quality to be high.