When I meet new entrepreneurs, I find that people have very different understandings of how essential their branding strategy can be. Recently I worked for a professional consultant in the construction industry who wanted to have a strong logo and a tight branding guideline before he set out to do anything. On the opposite end of the spectrum, I have met consumer-based business owners who had not anticipated spending a penny on branding. Now, I’m not saying that good branding has to be incredibly expensive, but it has so much influence that it might not be wise to leave it to your nephew who dabbles in Photoshop.
Here are 5 reasons why good branding matters.
1. Tell the world what you are all about
Your brand identity should first and foremost spell out what you are all about. I’m not talking about the graphics here but about the vision. When people catch a glimpse of your brand they should have a better understanding of who you are, what you offer and what your target market is. If you are selling high-end beauty products and your brand emanates words like fun, playful and affordable, then people might be a bit confused when you proudly announce that your basic face cream retails at $100 .
2. Stand out from the competition
Now don’t tell me it’s because of what I do for a living that I buy products (especially new ones) for their packaging. Whether it’s a tub of yoghurt or cosmetics, we all turn our eyes to the products that look good. And that doesn’t stop at products – when it comes to services, I am guilty of picking a daycare/ drycleaner/ restaurant based on which branding looks more appealing.
3. Be memorable
Imagine you are at a networking event meeting lots of potential clients and feeling on top of your professional game, when another mortgage broker comes along. Competition! Now apart from your good looks and ability to chat someone one up, what someone might or might not remember about you is your business card or other literature you leave in their hands. When they get home later that day, the look of your business card in your potential client’s pocket will determine whether that card goes straight to the bin (or garbage can for the North Americans amongst you) or stays on their desk.
4. Show attention to detail
Good branding is not just about one good logo. You can have a good logo and everything else can still look shoddy. However if you have a strong logo and branding that works well together, your potential customer will pick up on this consistent attention to detail and think “wow, if they are so careful with their own image, I can only imagine the wonders they will do for my finances/ hair colour/ carpet cleaning”.
Charities and non-for profits – beware! Often charities feel let off the hook for this one because they are not selling anything but rather processing giving, so they will start of with a good branding and often follow up with poor execution. This gives your donors the impression that you are being wasteful with the resources they have given you. (I will be writing more on branding for charities in an upcoming blog article).
5. Demonstrate your innovation skills
Lastly, you could have a good brand … that is so very 1980s! And that’s not a good thing unless you are intentionally going for a retro look. I love the way Benefit cosmetics plays on the 1950s housewife to convey an image about their products, but for the rest of us, contemporary is key. Imagine a tech start-up company that looks stuck in the 70s, you might start to wonder quite how technologically savvy they are. The same goes for other businesses: if you want to show that you have your finger on the pulse when it comes to new ideas and innovations in your field of expertise, make sure your brand reflects that.
So next time you are tempted to spend your branding budget on non-essentials and make do with a stock logo you ripped off the internet, think again. Good branding is key to creating a business others will remember.