There are numerous reasons why branding is so important. But far too often, the term “branding” is used loosely and doesn’t get the attention it deserves. What’s the difference between a brand and a business? The problem is that many people use these terms interchangeably. A business is simply the organization that provides particular products and services. A brand, on the other hand, is the impression that a business makes and the elements that differentiate a business from its competitors.
Branding is important because it cultivates recognition, helps build trust, creates loyal customers, and makes it easier for you to market your business across different channels. Still, branding consists of many different elements that many business owners don’t consider. Here’s what you should know:
For most businesses, the link between you and the customer is the domain name. Your domain name is your online address, and is an important component of your brand. Far too often, business owners don’t consider their domain name until after they’ve chosen their business name. Think of your domain name at the same time.
If the name of your business is taken as a domain option but doesn’t appear to be in use, you can work with a domain brokerage to purchase that particular domain from an existing user. While there are many domains available for cheap, it’s worth putting some money into your domain name to accurately reflect your company and brand with precision.
Simply put, a brand ambassador is a person who represents a company. They are real, credible people that resonate and embody your target market and ideal customer. Brand ambassadors understand what your business has to offer and will make recommendations and referrals, both online and offline. In theory, brand ambassadors can (and should be) your employees. But a more common practice in marketing is to hire brand ambassadors.
Brand ambassadors help humanize your brand and influence your target audience. You can recruit brand ambassadors by attending in-person events, connecting with valued customers on social media, and reaching out to people via an email marketing campaign. When you pick your brand ambassadors, be sure there’s a cost-value for them, too. Depending on their level of involvement and the size of your business, they might receive a commission on leads they generate, an hourly salary, or simply free product.
People don’t just associate personality with human behavior anymore; personalities are also attributed to brands. A brand personality is a set of human characteristics that are attributed to a particular brand. These characteristics are put in place to allow the brand to resonate with their target market. The overarching goal is to elicit a positive emotional response.
For example, Apple embodies “simple sophistication” and “clean,” while Patagonia embodies “ruggedness” and “journey.” What emotions do you want to elicit with your brand? What do you want people to think of or feel? Write down these characteristic traits and think about how you can convey those traits in your messaging.
Imagery is a major component of branding, which is why it’s so important for you to maintain visual consistency on your website, social media, and even in your office. Visual consistency is an important factor in brand recognition. People quickly recognize color combinations, shapes, and imagery. To help ensure you maintain visual consistency, your business should have a clear set of brand guidelines that outline how your business should be portrayed. Your brand guidelines should list rules for typography, logos, colors, fonts, and tone and voice.
Events are often left out of the equation when it comes to thinking about branding. However, with so many businesses competing for attention, events are a great way to put your business on display and actually get in front of your target market (and network). You’d be surprised at how many events you can participate in with a booth of your own. Nearly every industry has events that cater to it.
Conferences aren’t the only events; you can also look up local events on sites like Meetup.com or Facebook groups to see what’s happening in your area. Any time you attend an event (of any size), be sure you’re representing the brand image you’re trying to cultivate.
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