One of the most important components to the success of any business is its brand. This is true for a fortune 500 company to a small technology business to somebody who is building their own MLM. The brand that is attached to you and your business, the symbols, sounds and services connected to you are vital to growing and maintaining any successful relationship with your customers.
While creating and maintaining a good brand is a topic fit for a book, a big book, this article will try to distill the concept of branding down to its core essentials. To give you something to work with that will guide you on the path to cultivating a powerful and profitable brand. To do this, we've broken this concept into 3 basic questions, which we'll answer below.
Why do you need to worry about branding?
There is a marketing concept called TOMA, or top of mind awareness. This is the ultimate goal of branding, and marketing, really. As marketing is essentially the act of creating and promoting a brand.
For example, when someone is thirsty, the # 1 cola company wants you to think about them. When someone is hungry, McD's wants you to think of them. That is what you want, in the long run. A general awareness of your products, services and company.
When you have created a good brand, your life will be much easier. It's not to say that your advertising and marketing efforts will stop. Quite the opposite, but it means that what you promote will be much different. Instead of marketing to create awareness, you will be marketing to promote continued loyalty and positive perception.
What is branding?
To keep it simple, branding is the act of associating your products and services with your company in the minds of your current and future customers. This is done in a variety of ways, through marketing, advertising, sales and service, to name a few.
As has been stated in other articles, marketing is the management of perception. As marketing is a big part of creating and maintaining a brand, this is also true for your brand. After all, how your clients see you will determine how they spend with you. So you want to do everything you can to ensure that their perception, or your brand, is a good one in their view.
How do you create a brand?
You create a brand through everything you do. Of course, you'll start with a logo that represents visually the concept and service you provide. This goes everywhere, so it's got to be a good one. From here you move onto printed material and signs and websites and the like.
But branding is not just your logo, or the sign in front of your store. It's so much more than that. Remember, branding is how people see you. More importantly, how they feel about you. What is their experience when they eat in your restaurant, or when your technician comes to their home for an install, or how comfortable a new patient is in your waiting room. Believe it or not, these simple things are probably the largest part of your brand.
There is an old sales expression that goes, "You can sell anything once." Sure, you might have the coolest ads, the greatest sales person, the most awesome website, but what happens after you get the person to buy? How is the buying experience, how is the post-buying experience? Are they excited to tell their friends? If you can turn a customer into a sales person, you have done a great job and know you have created a successful brand.
There is so much more to be learned here. We recommend you read more on this and other related topics, such as marketing, internet marketing, advertising, sales and success. But just with this small piece, you have a good understanding of the power and influence branding can have on your company's success.