The subject of branding is so important yet so misunderstood. For example, a lot of people confuse branding with marketing. Branding goes beyond just marketing, it is bigger than that. Some think a brand simply refers to the name and logo; it is more than that. This confusion tends to cause entrepreneurs to neglect their brands. The lesser is included in the greater; a well-constituted brand makes marketing and everything else smooth. In this article, I shall be discussing why you should be taking your brand seriously.
Branding Has Evolved
I must touch on this before going any further. When you look at dictionary definitions of brand or branding you will notice something. They tend to focus more on name, logo, and packaging for the most part. That is very limited because branding goes beyond just the visual components. Most of what now constitutes a brand is intangible. So what is the definition of a brand or branding? It is not that easy to define because of variants in how people understand the terms. A brand can be defined as a cumulative framework of tangible and intangible components that uniquely shape and identify the perception of a particular business or company in people’s minds. Branding would then be the continuous and deliberate rollout of actions that inform those components.
Informing And Driving The Narrative Or Perception
When anyone interacts with or hears about your company or business they have a certain perception of it in their minds. That perception is informed by so many variables and can shift from time to time. Your role as a business or company is to be the sole and active informer and driver of that perception. The ideal outcome is to of course have people’s perception of your enterprise being a positive one. That is the essence of building a brand and why you ought to take it seriously.
Nowadays people gravitate towards enterprises that offer reliable and top-notch service. Especially given the cutthroat competition you cannot trivialize those aspects. Over and above, people now also closely pay attention to an enterprise’s values, beliefs, passions, and involvement in community development. Do they align with someone’s because only then can they consider buying from you or associating with you?
Gaining People’s Trust – Customers And Other Stakeholders
Arguably the most expensive commodity to acquire these days is people’s trust. That is why getting investors, partnerships, and even customers can be a tall order. There are so many socio-economic factors that have caused many people to have trust issues. If you are to find your perfect spot in the market you will have to figure out ways to earn people’s trust. I can give you an example of starting an eCommerce business in Zimbabwe. First of all, eCommerce is still a budding area in Zimbabwe. Secondly, there are several accounts of people who have been duped through eCommerce. Thirdly, there are several more that have had challenges with late deliveries or wrong deliveries.
These are examples of some of the things that have created trust issues when it comes to eCommerce in Zimbabwe. How then do you convince people, as an incoming eCommerce enterprise that you can be trusted? That is why building your brand becomes of utmost importance. When we put everything together you can see that branding or building your brand is all about telling and showing people how trustworthy you are.
Building A Community Around Your Enterprise
I recently did an article on the subject of building a community around your business. You cannot achieve this without pay close attention to your brand. When you do you create a perception in people’s minds of being an enterprise that has a good reputation and offers superior value. The growth of the community in itself entails new customer sign-ups and retention of existing ones. This will go a long way in not only driving up sales but also in driving down marketing costs. This stems from the fact that a well-oiled brand generates social buzz where literally everyone talks positively about it.
What To Look At In Building Your Brand Right
The subject of branding is multi-layered; there are 5 core areas which you should place focus on for your brand:
What promise(s) am I making or do I make to my stakeholders? (Stakeholders referring to everyone connected to your enterprise, from investors, partners, to customers and so on). In essence, what can they expect from your enterprise (which you will ensure you timely and consummately deliver or fulfil)?
What is my brand position? Position here refers to what you do, who you serve, your values, and what sets you apart from the rest. This basically defines what your brand position is.
What are my personality traits? This puts together your personality traits and more importantly the personality traits that your enterprise will operate with. For instance, if you are and want a bubbly personality to be exuded, that will influence the choice of things like logo design, colours, customer interactions, and so on.
What is your story? How did you come to be i.e. the story that led to starting an enterprise? The idea is to have a relatable story that makes you authentic and credible. This even spans to what you stand for or what you believe in.
What will my brand associations be like? Here I am referring to things that help people identify your enterprise. Examples are logos, names, taglines, images, fonts, colours, shapes, and the like. The aim is to ensure that the promise, personality and even the story and position are apparent in the brand associations.
I once mentioned in the past that branding is not the preserve of big companies or businesses. So long it is a business, no matter how small; it must look into its branding seriously. Remember building your brand is not a once-off thing; it is a continuous endeavour that should be empirical.