Why does branding matter?
When you think of branding, it’s so much more than a fancy logo. It’s how other people perceive your company. For example, many customers will visit your website and look at how it portrays your business.
Every element of your company ties into your branding and says something about who you are, what values you carry and what you offer.
Branding matters because it sets you apart in your industry. It defines your mission and consistently drives it throughout your employees to the customers. If you don’t completely understand why branding matters, here are the ultimate reasons for you to explore.
Why Is Branding So Important?
Many businesses step into the market with an idea, but they don’t have a brand. Without branding, your statement makes it challenging to explain to others curious about your company.
You’ll be the one in control of your company presentation. While you can’t control every little aspect of your reputation, you do have power over marketing and customer experience.
You might think that everyone would understand it as much as you do. However, people often don’t–which is why branding is critical for communication and connection with your audience.
They weren’t there when your company started. They don’t know your heart or why you care about the industry. It’s your job to tell them, and the best way to do so is with a strong branding strategy.
Focusing so strongly on branding:
1. Strengthens Customer Relationships
Trust is an important thing these days. To gain the trust of a customer, you need a recognizable brand name to build those customer relationships. When people think about your business name, they should instantly remember a friend or family member who made positive comments directly to them or on social media.
Branding matters because it expresses the importance of your mission and the products or services you offer. So, when a customer interacts with your company, the first impression they get is from your image. Everything you do should somehow tie back to your personality as a brand. You can be fun or serious, but it’s most important you’re consistent.
A big part of the brand experience involves how well the website performs for users. Around 61% of Americans say they won’t return to a site that doesn’t provide excellent UX. A beautiful design is one of your trust factors. If your site is aesthetically pleasing and efficient, you’ll gain their preference.
The most critical time to gain their trust is through the first interaction with a brand. With that in mind, it’s all about being transparent and authentic with the customer. If you want customers to believe you’ll follow through on any promises, you must state them and show through reviews and brand messaging that you plan to stick to your word. Customer testimonials are another trust factor you can add to your website to help people see you mean what you say.
Without a good branding strategy, your business won’t have the ability to express values, benefits and insights. Those qualities are the parts that form trust and strengthen your relationships. Trust isn’t always easy to define, so pay attention to the small details that signal who you are as a brand.
2. Impacts Employee Morale
A strong brand empowers your employees to be independent and strong problem solvers. Branding not only takes place within your image, but you should carry it throughout the workplace, too. Branding matters because it creates a sense of importance for employees.
When you have a powerful and positive message to spread within the workplace, your workers will take hold of those values. They’ll love working at your company, making things much easier for goal-driven businesses.
Supporting employees with a clear brand will inspire them to spread the word about your business and become brand advocates. They’ll feel proud to be part of your company. In turn, this will drive company culture and instill values around your employees.
The labor shortage impacts many different industries. Making sure you have a top-notch company culture ensures you’ll retain your top workers and attract new, innovative ones.
3. Keeps Marketing and Advertising Efforts Consistent
Advertising and marketing are one of the most important reasons why branding matters. If you want to drive new leads for your business, you need a clear and consistent message.
Put yourself in the shoes of he average consumer. If they hear one message on social media and something different on your website, they might wonder what the truth is. While both messages might cover different facets of your company, the key is to make sure the message remains the same for the user.
For example, if you place a nameplate sticker on a product or even create one for your employees’ badges, you should think about how the look and feel of the nameplate impacts the view of your brand. Does the look of every detail about your business match? How does the overall feel match your brand message? Is your personality shining through?
Branding provides direction for your marketing and advertising needs. It is the foundation of your efforts, which drives recognition and awareness. Make sure a campaign has a single goal with similar wording and offers. You can always cover something different with another marketing drive.
Having a good branding strategy makes it easier for employees to drive sales and support customer needs. They’ll know how to answer questions and what your brand policies are. People will instantly recognize your products when you have a similar look and feel on each item you sell.
4. Enables Establishment of Higher Price Points
Another reason why branding matters is because it makes your business more desirable to customers. When you have established branding throughout your services and products, customers will relate to the tone you set for your business. As a result, they will find an emotional connection through every interaction with your brand.
Once they establish that connection, it won’t matter what reasonable prices you set for your business. They will want to buy from you and keep returning as a loyal customer. You’ve probably seen new businesses in your area use the same strategy, where they offer a grand opening discount and later raise prices to match market trends.
Take a look at Apple or Starbucks, for example. Both companies sell their products at higher prices because they drive value in their branding. If you can focus on the purpose your brand carries, you can establish a customer base that’s more likely to pay top-dollar.
When you raise your prices, you’ll want to maintain your desirability, though. If you increase your prices and lower value, you’ll lose customers. Kaukauna cheese makes cheese balls for parties and gatherings. They not only raised their prices and lost a lot of sales, but they then tried to lower the price and reduce the size by about two-thirds. Since their brand personality is one of a product great for parties, people aren’t going to buy a tiny little cheeseball that won’t serve a single person. They’ll either make their own or buy another brand.
They may have had loyal customers for decades, but they’ll likely lose them over their poor decisions about product sizing and pricing. It’s always best to make sure any changes reflect your overall branding goals. You may even want to run some control groups and see how your target audience responds to changes.
Excellent brand image allows you to raise our price point slightly. If you increase costs by more than the market or your typical customer can bear, then you’ll damage your reputation and lose customers.
5. Builds a Customer Fan Base
Customer loyalty is the thing that drives conversions for your business. According to the 2022 Customer Loyalty Data Study, 22% of consumers cited a strong sense of community as a big reason for their loyalty to brands. It was the second most cited reason. Brands can enhance their image on social by creating groups, encouraging interaction and offer specials for only those part of the group.
Customer loyalty pays off in repeat sells and word-of-mouth referrals. When you have a customer fan base that can identify with your business, you can certainly drive your sales. Some businesses have such loyal fans that they can just ask for a shout-out and gain tons of social traction. Others offer rewards for those who refer others. No model is better than the other but utilize one of your best promotional tools–your raving fans.
Repeat customers are more valuable to your company than new ones. It costs more in sales and advertising to gain new clients. That’s why branding matters because you want to establish a loyal customer base to maintain and drive reorders. Why wouldn’t you do everything in your power to keep people who order often, a lot and tell others about how much they love you?
Customer advocates are your marketing tools. They’re more likely to spread the message about your company. Those who can persuade others will assemble value—and help you gain the trust of new customers.
6. Improves Communication Between Departments
One of the biggest advantages to strong branding is that you’ll know who you are as a company and what your goals are. Sales and marketing are notorious for misunderstanding one another. When you have a clear objective, disagreements go away and the focus shifts to accomplishing the branding most desired by company leaders.
Imagine a brand where you get different answers depending on who you talk to. It’s hard to trust a company is going to stand behind a guarantee or do what they promise when you can’t get a straight response.
Some folks on social media will complain about a brand and others will respond to just call back again because the response you get depends on who you talk to. Your customers should never say that about your brand. You should have consistent customer experience across all channels and all reps.
Now, picture a company where every single department and employee is well-versed in policies and goes above and beyond for the customer. Which one do you want to be?
7. Tells a Story
What is the one thing that sets you apart from your competitors? Your individual story of how your brand came to be, the struggles you’ve overcome and the passions you have all work to make your company different than any other out there.
Your employees are also part of your story. They have unique interests and skills you can tap into. Take the time to share stories as part of your branding process and watch how many loyal customers you attract. People want to feel part of what you’re doing. They’ll jump on board if you give them a reason through great storytelling.
You can also use your story to explain your brand philosophy. Perhaps your branding message changed over time. Talk about your struggles and mistakes and what you adjusted to ensure customer satisfaction. People can forgive a lot when you’re upfront and authentic. If you show them you made mistakes but this is how you fixed the problem going forward, they may even give you a second chance.
Taking Charge of Your Branding
Look at branding as an investment for your business. Many businesses will change over time, so ask yourself if your brand is still relevant to your business. Does it represent your company’s values and still appeal to your customers? If not, maybe it’s time to establish a new brand identity today.
About The Author
Eleanor Hecks is the Editor-in-Chief of Designerly Magazine, an online publication dedicated to providing in-depth content from the design and marketing industries. When she's not designing or writing code, you can find her re-reading the Harry Potter series, burning calories at a local Zumba class, or hanging out with her dogs, Bear and Lucy.