By James Kwon
By James Kwon
Building a business is one of the most difficult, and yet rewarding challenges an entrepreneur can undertake. In business, there are many questions that don’t come with obvious answers. Only by doing a gut-check can entrepreneur’s know they are on the right path to success. One thing that is certain, is the importance of branding to the success of any business.
Often overlooked, branding requires an enormous amount of creativity, as well as knowledge of the core values and aims of a business — beyond making money. Like marketing, branding has a strong return on investment and if you can afford it, no expense should be spared in this area. Outsourcing to a professional branding agency is well worth the cost in order to position your business for success.
Think of branding as crafting the heart and soul of your business; your purpose, identity, foundation, and the reason for what you do combine to become the core message of your business. Branding encompasses logos, colors, slogans, and hashtags, but it also includes the story of your business, the message you are sharing, and the experience that you are offering.
The reality is there are many businesses that offer products or services similar to yours. With online shopping, social media, email marketing, brand ambassadors, influencers, and more, it seems nearly impossible to create a stand-out brand that brings you success.
Branding is helpful as it helps products resonate with consumers. Many major brands are easily recognizable due to their branding. Consumers know what to expect and what they’re getting when they invest in a particular brand. Identifying a brand helps people to make decisions when they are in the market for a particular good or service.
In the same way, when you’re starting a business or trying to sell your services, you have to have branding that fits you, and that declares the message and story to consumers that you want to be known for. Your future clients need to have enough defining information about you that helps them make the decision to say yes to doing business with you. That, essentially, is branding.
While part of branding is creating a unique and memorable logo, using specific colors and fonts, as well as developing a slogan, hashtags, and identifying words, that is only a small portion of what goes into developing a brand. One of the most important aspects of branding is crafting a unique and personal message, story, feeling, and experience. This is what will set your business apart from the competition, separate you from other brands and make you shine. Your brands values are what consumers immediately remember when they think of you, see your logo, or hear your slogan. Branding is really just developing a unique, personal way to market your business, your services or products. Branding means crafting a message that clearly communicates why your brand or product is the best choice on offer.
As with all forms of marketing, visibility is important. Your brand becomes visible when your message is put out in the world to be seen. Without the ability to share your message with others, you’re not going to get anywhere with selling your services or product.
Today’s consumer values integrity, compassion, and honesty above most things. When you develop a brand to share with the world, you are essentially sharing a promise with consumers. That your brand is aligned with a certain set of values. This is why authenticity in branding matters. The values that your brand embodies become a rallying cry to consumers in your target market. If your brand doesn’t display behavior that keeps in line with these values consumers will notice. Creating a brand built on genuine values can garner a loyal set of followers. Likewise, stepping out of line with your values can also cause a backlash amongst your fans.
Our world today provides the opportunity for consumers to share their experiences, and opinions with the world. Businesses can be made or broken by the tap of a button, the reviews of a few, or the post of an influencer.
When you go public with your brand, you are making a declaration to the world that this is who you are, this is what you stand for, and this is the experience that you are offering. Your business reputation and success depends on whether you live up to your promise or not.
Developing a strong, personal, and effective brand means crafting something that is unique and can connect with the hearts of consumers. Developing a brand requires time, dedication and a whole lot of questions.
Many people underestimate the creative endeavor that developing a unique, from-scratch brand is, and either avoid using top branding agencies or attempt their branding on their own. But like with most things, you get what you pay for.
Investing in high-quality, expert branding is one of the best decisions you can make for your business. Solidifying your branding early on means you can talk directly to your audience with the confidence that your story is going to resonate with them.
Top brands invest top dollar in order to develop a trustworthy, recognizable branding. Consider brands such as Apple, Coca-Cola, and Nike. Each brand can be recognized by their logos, colors, and slogans. Each brand stands for something beyond just their products — they are selling a promise, a message and an experience. Whether you like the products or not, you know these brands by their branding, and make decisions as to whether or not you will use their products based on it.
Tesla Motors is an example of incredible, expensive branding that has built fierce loyalty amongst followers. The ideology, and eco-awareness of founder Elon Musk, has led to immense branding success. All of these qualities make up the values, message, and experience of the brand, and are things which highly resonate with today’s consumer.
The creativity and visibility allotted to top-dollar branding usually proves to be worth it. Take a peek at high-cost branding projects such as Interbrand and the new Comedy Central to truly understand what top-dollar branding can do for a business.
Businesses that opt out of working with high-level branding agencies and instead go with a freelancer or even do the work on their own, are risking an opportunity to improve the business value of their brand. As brand success depends upon visible honesty, integrity, story, message, authenticity, values, and personality, getting your branding right should be treated as a priority, and be given a budget to match.
The difference in quality and results between a reputable branding agency and a freelance brander is immeasurable. It’s the difference between employing a team of experts who can work together to craft messaging, or one person who might have one area of expertise but can’t see your brand from many different angles. Working with a freelancer or doing it yourself, can result in low conversions, low customer retention, and the need to rebrand again if you haven’t gotten it right. An agency has the knowledge and experience to craft a positive, perfectly-targeted, sustainable brand and messaging to your target market.
The domino effect of this type of branding is incredible. When you reach your target market and then convert them to loyal customers, they share, recommend, and shine a light on your brand, which in turn grows your influence, brings in new customers, and positively impacts your bottom line.
If there’s anything you decide to neglect when creating your business, make sure it’s not branding. Branding is one of the top tools for business success, and not crafting a unique, personal brand can cost you business.
Remember that when consumers see your logo or hear your slogan, they will think of your brand; your values, your message, as well as your products or services. Your goal is for these things to make consumers want to do business with you and to create brand loyalty in them once they do.
Hiring a branding agency to expertly craft your unique brand is the best decision you can make. Don’t leave this make it or break it aspect up to chance.
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