The importance of branding and why the way your brand looks matters
This post may contain affiliate links. If you decide to use a service through an affiliated link, ComplYant may earn a small commission from our partner.
What comes to mind when you think of brands like Nike or Apple? You may think of their product. Or perhaps an athlete or celebrity associated with their brand. You definitely will conjure up a picture of their logo in your head. The Nike Swoosh and the Apple bite are recognizable all over the globe, and that’s precisely how they like it.
This is called branding. Brands use symbols, themes, and people to elevate themselves above the crowd. Regardless of your business’s size, you can use branding to do the same.
What is branding?
By definition, branding is “the promotion of a particular product or company by means of advertising and distinctive design.”
There is so much more to branding than just the dictionary definition. Branding uses specific marketing and advertising strategies that leave unique impressions in the minds of consumers.
For example, saying your burger joint has “the best burger in town” is advertising. McDonald's unmistakable golden arch is an example of branding. This symbol belongs to their business alone and can appear anywhere from stickers, commercials, and logos on their products.
Branding is such an extensive study that even with a dictionary definition, there’s a lot of ambiguity around it.
Why is branding important?
As we discussed, branding will impact how customers and markets see your company. This is why you should consider how you brand your business during the planning stage. Branding is not a “one-time” marketing strategy. It’s something that will follow your business forever. The State Of Brand Consistency report by Lucidpress found that consistent branding across channels can increase revenue from 10-20%.
Branding increases business value
A strong brand gives you leverage in your industry. With leverage, your business has more “staying power.” You want to build a “moat” to strengthen your position in your industry. A moat is a long-lasting competitive advantage that your competitors can’t easily replicate. Almost nothing can take away the Nike Swoosh; theoretically, it could outlive Nike itself. Competitive advantages like moats appeal to investors should you seek private investment or take your company public.
When your business increases in value, it doesn’t just make it more appealing to investors. Your business becomes more attractive to customers as well. This means you can afford to charge higher prices than competitors. Consumers tend to connotate a strong brand with trustworthiness and reputability. This phenomenon is part of why the terms “name brand” and “generic brand” came to be.
Branding markets for you
With consistent and memorable branding, you don’t need as many marketing resources to get more customers. A strong brand creates an assumed familiarity and reliability. It’s easier for customers to talk about companies with a strong brand presence as they can easily refer to recognizable characteristics of a brand.
Strong brands eventually take up a life of their own as customers co-opt them into their lifestyles. Think about the farmer that wears a John Deere hat or a motorcyclist who wears a Harley-Davidson shirt. Neither of these companies sells apparel as their primary offering, but loyal customers wear each brand's logos as a part of their identity. Everywhere these customers go, they’re a walking billboard for those companies, showing the importance of branding.
Branding improves employee engagement
The importance of branding carries over to the employee side as well. When your company has a strong brand identity, employees are more likely to feel a sense of pride in the place they work and their roles.
Branding isn’t just about pretty color combinations and fancy designs. The best brands also communicate identity and culture with which employees and customers can identify. When employees know what the brand stands for, they will take actions that reinforce it.
Branding vs. employer branding
Branding is different from employer branding, which is an employer's reputation as a place to work as opposed to a more general brand reputation.
Branding establishes trust
A strong brand is like a familiar face you see at the grocery store or park. People like to do business with people they know, like, and trust. The only problem is – businesses aren’t people. Branding fills the gap where “one-dimensional” businesses with just products and customers cannot.
There’s a second reason why branding is important for trust. Businesses that professionally portray themselves tell customers they have every reason to trust them. If you operate a physical business, branding starts the moment customers walk into your storefront. If you run an online business, every channel you market on, from your website to social media profiles, is an opportunity to present your brand in the way you choose.
Branding improves loyalty
We’ve established that businesses lacking critical branding elements will have more difficulty getting customers to trust them. The same is true for building brand loyalty. Think about it – it’s hard to be loyal to something you don’t understand or have trouble remembering.
Once you’ve established trust, your customers are more likely to return. What triggers them to pledge their loyalty to your brand and tell others is how you present it. What does your brand believe in? What kind of people does your brand associate with? Why does your brand do what it does?
Stay on top of taxes as your brand grows
Watching a brand grow from a small idea to a full-fledged company is exciting. To most, the best part isn’t the profit at the end but the fulfillment found in the journey. As your business grows, so will your financial and tax obligations along this journey. If you’re more creative, you’ll knock branding out of the park but likely have trouble with things like tax deadlines. This is why we created ComplYant. Our tool helps business owners focus on what they love while managing their small business taxes.