The importance of brilliant branding
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The importance of branding should never be underestimated. No one can deny that. In the simplest terms, it’s how your customers view you. But, it is also about how those customers react to you, emotionally as well as physically. That needs to be a positive experience of course, if you want your business to be a success by making sales.
Branding is more than just a logo. It is everything which forms the fabric of your brand. There are so many touchpoints which contribute to the public perception of your brand too – probably more than you think. For a clothing company, this is your sales representatives. For a restaurant, this is the design of your venue. However, the starting point for establishing your branding comes from careful consideration of the impression you want to create. Initially, this is the basics like colours, fonts and images.
But, branding also covers the look, feel, tone of voice and messaging used too. Then, those messages need to be circulated far and wide and to be loyally followed to achieve brand continuity. It takes 5 -7 brand impressions for someone to remember your brand. So, consistency is key.
But, branding doesn’t stand still. Lots of factors, both within and outside of your company’s control, can impact on your brand’s personality and worth. Here’s a couple of things to take into consideration when thinking about how your brand can change over time.
Brand equity can go up and down
Brand equity rests on the public perception of your company. Do something good and this can, understandably, shoot up. Get it wrong and watch it plummet. Brand equity isn’t necessarily a monetary value – although a company fail will knock this too. Brand equity is less tangible – it is bound up with the thoughts and emotional reactions which the public have about your company. It is about who you are as a company, what you stand for and whether a person connects with that.
Brand equity is fragile. We can probably all think of an example of when a company has got it wrong. This could either be through personal experience, such as bad customer service. Or, it could also be from a viral social media post or media coverage. For example, Pepsi’s advert with Kendall Jenner received a huge public backlash for positioning itself alongside emotive social issues to make sales. The campaign was soon pulled and the company apologised. Arguably, the damage had already been done. But, Pepsi got back into public favour with their 2018 Superbowl advert. And, did any of it really impact on what can of drink you picked up in the supermarket?
A brand refresh can shake things up
No brand should stand completely still. A company can evolve as quickly as the world around it can and it is important to keep up with that. Your business offering may also change and the branding may no longer be in sync. A brand refresh can change all that and give a new look to an old favourite.
Some of the biggest companies have given their marketing a bit of a spring clean to move with the times. This can be subtle little tweaks, such as changing a font or colour palette. Or, it could be more overt than that with a total overhaul of an entire image. For some companies, the reasons behind this may be obvious. For example, there has been several Microsoft logos since the company was founded in the 1970’s. This ensures that its image is modern, fresh and forward thinking.
However, companies can thrive on the heritage of their branding. Some of the most recognised brands in the world, such as McDonalds or Heinz, are hard to imagine without their choice of colours and font which helps them to achieve their strong market position.
Most importantly, a brand refresh needs to stay in line with your company offering. So, if that’s changed, or you’re maybe aiming to reach new target customers, a brand refresh could be a great way to do this. Otherwise, it may be a case of if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.
Brands exist behind closed doors
A huge part of branding is formulated internally within the company’s offices themselves. A brand represents the relationship between customers, staff, partners and investors. Multinationals, such as Google, are famous for their company culture and amazing offices. Staff need to be proud of their workplace to become positive spokespeople or brand advocates. People aren’t going to recommend a company with which they have had a bad experience, as a customer or as an employee. This is especially important when you consider that word of mouth accounts for 13% of consumer sales and that people are 90% more likely trust and buy from a brand which is recommended by a friend.
Basically, we’re surrounded by brands. They extend to absolutely everything from the food we eat, to the clothes we wear to even how we find somewhere to live. There’s no escaping it in modern life. We all work hard to earn our money and therefore we should make educated decisions on which brands we give our cash to.
So, a company needs to get it right. A lot of this will be the domain of your marketing team or your outsourced marketing agency. Marketing is an art and it’s best to enlist the help of experts to get it right. Because, otherwise things can go wrong.