As business owners, we all share a common goal. We want our product to grow and be successful. It’s our baby, and we want people to treat and relate to it with care and interest. Sometimes that is not what happens.
Whether that's because the product itself isn’t efficient or it’s a branding issue that is not translated well enough. Even if the branding is impressive and covers all your ground and leads people to buy your product, not even great branding can save it if your customers don’t like the product itself. If it’s just a communication issue, but the product itself is fantastic, then that’s a different story. There is hope. Branding is a more complex concept than people think. It needs to be understood deeper and implemented more strategically. I am here to give you a different perspective of what it truly is, how it can help you, and what to avoid. Let’s get started, and hopefully, you will leave this blog post with a different perspective?
What is branding?
Cambridge defines branding as “The activity of connecting a product with a particular name, symbol, etc. or with particular features or ideas, to make people recognize and want to buy it.” Yes, that is what branding is at a surface level, but there is a deeper meaning necessary to understand it. Branding is the entire identity of your business. It breathes life into your product. In essence, it's the soul of it. The way you express yourself from the outside, what you want everyone else to see. Branding’s expression lies in human values, kindness, and tenacity. Creating a lasting brand for your company is an art. The amount of thought and strategy that needs to be applied is more complicated than it looks. It may look like just colors to you, but she had many reasons for her choices to the designer who created it. She thought about what that color would do to you, what it would make you feel. Behind the marketing professionals were thinking about how it would make you find value in the product and what needs it filled.
So, what does branding help you do exactly?
It helps you simplify your message
Branding helps you simplify the message to your audience. It enables you to figure out what that message is and how to execute it in a way that will translate well. Many brands can be all over the place when it comes to their messaging. People don’t know what your bottom line is. With proper branding, it can clear the way for them. This can be done by creating exceptional copy that is critically evaluated, and yes, it takes time to make. Expect to spend an hour on one sentence at a time. It is that important.
It will leave your customer with a lasting impact
It should leave your audience a lasting impression if it’s done right. It should cause your customer to remember your brand through its shapes, colors, feel, touch, and smell. When they see your product or service, they should feel something special. It should make them want to take action and learn more.
It will help build a positive perception of your brand
Branding is a great tool to help you build a positive perception of your brand in the consumer's mind. Be careful about how the public perceives your product. It could be that they are getting the wrong idea about your product that you never thought would be caused by your branding. This can be avoided by making sure you test it out first on people and see how they react to it so you can modify it going forward. If you’ve already launched the product, consider doing a rebranding if it's not getting taken well by the public. You could always pivot and change certain things for the next time. It doesn’t have to be one and done.
It will remind the members of your company what they stand by
Branding is not only for the consumers. It is also essential for your staff. It reminds them of what the company stands for precisely. For this reason, just like you would want your branding to connect to your audience, it also needs to communicate to your staff. If they relate to it and feel positive emotions, they will be more excited about working for you and doing their job better. Also, they will promote the product and be eager to share it with others. If they are embarrassed about the branding and don’t want to show their friends or family the Instagram or website, that is saying something.
It will set you apart from the competition
Your brand helps set you apart from the competition. You need to create a branding strategy to help you figure out your position on the market while at the same time managing all the outside factors around you that impact that positioning. Having a unique branding identity is where it's at—trying not to create branding that is too outside the box and not be a carbon copy of your competitors. Research the market, find out what makes you different, and figure out a way to successfully express that through your branding. People want to see what value you are giving them and why they should choose you. What will you give them that other people won’t?
So, when does branding not work?
When a company is lying about its offer
If they find out you lied about an offer, you risk losing their trust in your brand. No rebranding could help you at that point. Do you remember that fourth-grade teacher who said honesty is the best policy? She was right. It’s not worth ruining your reputation, even if it’s just a tiny white lie. Remember, People, value brands with values. Lies have their ways of coming back to bite you, so handle your brand with care.
When your strategy isn’t well executed
Your branding strategy is crucial and, if not correctly executed, can ruin people's perception of your brand. People’s attention spans are not long enough to not get what you do right away. They will also get off track if there is too much going on visually. For example, you put flowers everywhere, and the non-alignment of the design thinking confuses people. Summarize how you can help their lives and simply save them time in their day-to-day.
If you follow a trend that isn’t aligned with who you are.
Trends are tricky to stay on top of, and picking them out of the bunch is even more challenging. Yes, following trends are essential. But you don’t have to follow a trend just because everyone else is doing it. Pick the trends that align with your values as a company. People will relate to trends that connect to what your brand stands for. Don’t lose your identity in the process.
How to brand authentically?
Making your brand authentic is more complex than it looks. Being authentic in general is tough. It takes time to be able to learn your brand inside and out. You need an intense self analyzation process, and then once you know your identity well enough, communicate it to the public. A lousy teacher can’t explain the concept well adequately because they don’t know it well enough. Spend the time to learn the nicks and crannies, and you will see that your ability to give it over will improve your branding efforts overall.
Some tips to help with authenticity:
- Accept that you can’t solve every problem in the world and embrace it. Maybe you tried to make your workplace the happiest place but still, some people don’t like it, what can you do? We’re human!
- Be as transparent as possible, don’t lie about the composition or where it’s manufactured. People value honesty, and your brand is not an exception.
- Make fun or your insecurities (because we all have them!) Show people the goofy side of your brand. People relate to people who can laugh at themselves and not take things too seriously.
- Don’t try to be too professional, people want you to keep it accurate! Of course, being professional is very important, but don’t be unrelatable. Find the middle ground.
- Be careful with greenwashing. Greenwashing is when a company spends more time and money on marketing itself as environmentally friendly than minimizing its environmental impact. If you are promising your consumers something, do it. Don’t put one foot in and one foot out of the water; people invest in your product and trust you to stay true to your word. Work hard to practice what you preach.
As a communication and marketing agency, we help our clients with their branding efforts through our best practices. We help them create a strong branding strategy and give them ideas and guidance to turn it into practical implementation. Your brand means a lot to you, and it deserves the best possibilities for success. So, start with your branding.