Many small, start-up businesses fail due to a lack of revenue from ineffective marketing strategies. New companies are often employing little to no brand strategy, or are doing so in the wrong markets.
Branding goes hand in hand with starting a business and you are doomed to fail if you neglect the importance of brand management. If you want loyal, repeat customers, you must create a company with substance for them to come back to.
Let’s dive into what strong branding is and its many benefits that are sure to increase your revenue.
What Is Branding?
Branding is a broad term that encompasses all the ways that you can positively shape what your audience thinks of you. Every form of communication with your audience says something about your brand. Logos, websites, and packaging are common touchpoints that strong brands consider. When done right, it is less about your products and services themselves and more about what makes you different and important as a business. In short, why should people care about you?
A vital tactic in branding that many businesses overlook is to focus on your target audience. You need to persuade them that you should matter to them. The most effective way to do that is to convey how you solve their specific problems and ultimately make their lives better.
What Is Co-Branding?
Co-branding is a marketing strategy in which two brands collaborate with the goal of being a new, collaborative product or service with both brand names used jointly. Two well-known co-branding partnerships are McDonald’s McFlurries with both Oreo and M&Ms.
Participating in a co-branding opportunity can multiply your brand’s audience with the loyal customers of another respected brand, as well as allow both partners to expand into new locations and demographics. It may also reinforce a strong brand identity.
What Makes a Strong Brand?
A strong brand typically consists of a compelling brand identity with high customer recognition. Good branding is consistent, authentic, and engaging. It is also unique and not easily confused with other brands in the same industry.
Why Is Branding Important?
Branding has always been vital to successful businesses but grows in its importance daily. As the market saturates with new startups and social media rises in popularity, audiences are exposed to hundreds of brands a day.
Utilizing branding strategies helps you stand out in a crowd and takes your business from a mere company to something identifiable for potential customers. Branding is also where you get to have some control over how people perceive your business, so be sure not to waste it.
Costs of Neglecting Your Brand
When you establish a strong brand foundation, you’re taking control of how people think of you (and whether or not they want to buy from you). If you don’t, you’re putting the fate of your brand in other people’s hands.
There are many negative consequences to neglecting your brand. You will likely:
- Target the wrong audience
- Waste time and money
- Produce inefficient marketing campaigns
- Limit your profitability
- Be unmemorable
- Lack customer loyalty
- Appear untrustworthy
With time, these vital issues get more and more expensive for your business.
The Benefits of Branding
The benefits of branding are numerous, and we’ve narrowed it down to 12 main benefits, all of which will directly impact your revenue. Securing these is the key to fostering customer loyalty and ensuring your company’s success.
1. Brand Awareness
Brand awareness is a term that describes how familiar consumers are with your brand, service, or products. It is a measure of how memorable and recognizable a brand is to its target audience. With branding, you give your audience a personality, logo, message, or color palette to associate with your offerings and increase the chances they can identify your brand under different circumstances.
2. Customer Loyalty and Advocacy
However, you aren’t aiming to create one-time customers who recognize your brand and use your business once. You are aiming to create loyal customers who keep coming back to a brand they love. Branding allows you to give your brand a human side that can connect consumers to your company and foster relationships with them.
With loyal customers also comes customer advocacy. If a consumer feels connected to and pleased with your brand, they are more likely to recommend it to their friends or talk it up on social media. This free, word-of-mouth marketing is a great way to gain consumers with similar values.
3. Competitive Advantage
Strong branding cannot be duplicated. Creating branding that truly encapsulates who you and your brand are allows you to stand out as unique when compared to similar brands in the industry. Your unique selling proposition, brand personality, and messaging are all your own and are not being used by anyone else. This gives you a competitive advantage and allows clients to gravitate to you over a competitor.
4. Credibility and Trust
CEO of Pedego Electric Bikes, Don DiCostanzo, hit the nail on the head when he remarked: “A brand is a promise of an experience and is directly connected to trust. It’s what your customers say when you’re not around.” One great benefit of branding is that it allows you to create and uphold a brand promise.
For example, if your brand aims to make customers feel confident and body positive in its messaging and fulfills this promise, its customers will trust it. Fulfilling promises and aligning with consumer expectations builds your brand as credible.
5. Emotional Connection With Customers
A strong brand strategy typically employs a brand voice and story that allows customers to feel connected to it. Branding takes your business a step further than a mere money-making operation and allows your consumers to discover a personal and intimate relationship with the brands they purchase from.
A recent survey has revealed that customers who have an emotional relationship with a brand have three times higher lifetime value and will likely recommend the company at a rate of 71% instead of the average 45%.
Ensure your customer experience is personal and pleasant, and that your brand speaks to its audience’s values, pain points, needs, and wants.
6. Market Expansion Opportunities
If the long-term goal of your brand is to expand into different markets, securing good branding in your current market is key. The more well-known a brand is, the simpler the process of expanding into different demographics will be.
A brand that isn’t well recognized or trusted will have a hard time staying afloat in a brand-new market, while respected brands will be more readily accepted.
7. Premium Pricing Potential
Once you achieve strong branding and brand recognition, you unlock the opportunity to increase your pricing. Brands that are extremely high in popularity and reliability can often get away with higher pricing, given how known and respected they are.
For example, Apple products are known to be costly, yet they secure almost exclusively repeat customers that continue to purchase and upgrade their devices with the brand. They can utilize their reputation and perceived value to increase revenue without losing consumers.
8. Employee Morale and Commitment
Branding isn’t just a tactic to pull in new customers, but the very fabric that unites your team. The identity and purpose behind your brand are what will give your employees a sense of community and belonging within the company. When a strong brand strategy is in effect, your employees are all working towards a common goal they feel passionately about, which will naturally unite them to one another and to the brand itself.
A strong set of brand values will also draw in employees passionate about your brand and what it stands for, allowing you to craft a committed and motivated team of productive workers.
9. Scale Your Company
Solid branding is key when it comes time to scale your company. If you remain unknown and hard to identify as a small brand, you’re not likely to make it a larger one either. You must have a successful foundation within your existing team before expanding it to support an even larger business.
10. Consistent Messaging and Identity
Branding allows you to build a brand style guide that informs all of your brand operations and the company’s products. Consistency includes staying true to your brand image and voice across all touchpoints, whether it’s your website, social media presence, or in-person interactions.
This entails consistency in messaging, visuals, and customer experiences. Consistency builds trust by signaling that the business is genuine and reliable and this will drive sales.
11. Risk Mitigation and Brand Protection
Branding makes all the difference when it comes to a company’s decision to take a risk. A company with a well-established brand and cohort of loyal customers will be more easily forgiven when they take risks that may have unexpected results. However, if you take a risk without the backing of a loyal following, you’re less likely to be forgiven and can drive away potential customers.
In the world of branding, a sustainable brand is one that is built with practices geared toward the long term. You want to create a strong bond with customers in order to foster brand loyalty and high customer recognition. Always keep the long-term in mind when branding, and be willing to adapt any strategies as the market shifts to stay relevant.
Studio Lyn’s Process for Developing a Brand Strategy
Our brand strategy process is broken into three steps:
- Step 1: We start with a questionnaire to learn more about your current strengths, weaknesses, business objectives, and project expectations. We want to know how you define success so that we can tailor your strategy to achieve it.
- Step 2: We meet for a two-hour workshop on strategy via Zoom (or in person). We ask questions and clarify your responses during this session to identify the distinctive components of your brand.
- Step 3: We create a 20+ page Brand Storybook explaining your unique brand strategy using our knowledge, research, and workshop findings. This document serves as your internal guide to ensuring aligned operations, successful sales and marketing, and strategic initiatives within your company.
Build Your Company’s Brand
The numerous financial benefits of branding make it impossible to neglect as you build your business and set it up for success. A strong, memorable brand will pave the way for repeat customers and the respect you hope to earn in your target market.
Want to explore branding options for your business? Schedule a no-commitment consultation with Studio Lyn to start the branding process today.