What is “a brand”? And why does it have value? The former chairman of Quaker Oats, John Stuart, claimed in 1974 that “If this business were to be split up, I would be glad to take the brands, trademarks and goodwill and you could have all the bricks and mortar – and I would fare better than you.” Clearly he had a lot of confidence in his brand. So let’s dive into the definition of a brand, what makes it valuable, how it’s different from marketing, and why it helps to start with branding. We’ll also explore the benefits of branding for existing businesses and ways to improve.
From an outside perspective, branding might seem unimportant. After all, isn’t it just your logo and company colors? How could that possibly matter so much? A brand, however, is so much more than the visual elements: it’s the narrative around your whole business. It’s how you are perceived, recognized, and valued. It’s how you connect with your customers. And getting it right from the beginning can save you money on marketing and advertising in the long run.
Check out this great quote from the Branch Blog:
“When companies get branding right early on, they can spend less on advertising and marketing because they’re able to establish advocates and ambassadors on the ground. They pass down their identity, culture, and values to their products, and then to their customer base. All this then translates into less spending on persuasion and engagement because those who meet the brand and share its purpose are hooked from day one.”
Knowing your branding from day one influences the decisions you make for your company. For example, before taking on a new product or service, you can ask yourself, “Does this match our brand goals?” If the answer is yes, you can confidently say that is a good decision for your brand and will help you resonate with your target audiences. Additionally, with the rise of social media, consumers shop around in a way never before experienced. If your branding isn’t resonating, you’ll struggle to capture the attention of new potential customers – whether your business is large or small.
START EARLY. Bring in an experienced marketing agency, freelancer or consultant – whatever your budget allows. Not only will you have a solid image for potential clients to associate with your business, but branding can also help you clarify your target audience and your overall business goals. At this stage, it’s helpful to think about what would resonate with your intended audience rather than just what you like. As with any branding and marketing, your goal is to bring people in – so you have to speak to them both conceptually and visually.
But what if you’re not a new company? What does this mean for you? Don’t fret – it’s never too late to get started. Even well-established brands can benefit from branding exercises that help them “Check In” on their brand and answer, is our brand still working for us?. If you created a logo ten years ago and haven’t given it a thought since, fully fleshing out your brand with a qualified marketing partner can help you solidify what current customers love or hate and pivot or elevate that to potential new customers. Don’t let an outdated logo or messaging hold you back.
Branding is always essential, but you get the most advantage when you start with it. For more on the topic, check out our recent “Engaging Conversations” video: Why Start With Branding?. And as always, we’re here to guide you through all the challenges of marketing and branding your business. Reach out to us!