January 31, 2022
Read Part 1 Here
In Part 1, we talked about The What of brand identity and how a branding guide can inform that. Now let’s talk about The Why: Why you—yes, you!—need branding.
Branding is the foundation for marketing efforts. If you try marketing your products or services without brand clarity, you’ll be spinning in all kinds of circles. It’s not efficient. (And it will make you dizzy!)
The thing is, your customers need to know what your company is about. People don’t just buy goods anymore. They also buy into the promises a company makes and the values it represents.
For example, people don’t just buy MacBooks for the product (which, don’t get me wrong, are awesome)—they also buy them for the cache. The unstated promise of being the cool kid on the block. The sleek design makes you feel like you are part of an elite club of people who are passionate about their work. Apple makes sure its customers know what it stands for through its strong branding. People buy Apple because it’s Apple.
Your messaging should be consistent across time and marketing channels. This is true online or offline, whether through digital advertising, social media, email marketing, print collateral, or print ads.
If you market with a clear vision of who your company is, your messaging will be consistent. Not only what you say—but how you say it. And not just in words, but in design, through typography, or via your logo. Every part is important! A branding guide pulls all these parts together so you can use them consistently. It helps you solidify your vision of your company and then guides your messaging.
Clear messaging is how you keep clients who resonate with your company and bring in new ones. You want your message to grab the attention of the right audience, those who are likely to purchase from you.
So the clearer you are, the better off you will be. But if you don’t have focus, your message may hit the wrong audience, with you losing valuable ad budget and time.
Remember, your messaging crafts people’s perception of your business (your persona). You want to portray your company as professional—like you know what you’re doing. Like you know who you are.
You also want to portray your company’s values. If sustainability is a core value, for example, then make that clear. Seventh Generation’s mission is “to transform the world into a healthy, sustainable & equitable place for the next seven generations.” (No one’s quite sure what happens after the seventh generation, though . . . ;-)) One way they convey their eco-friendly message is by using the color green and an image of a leaf on their packaging.
Your messages must speak to your values. A branding guide will help you clarify your brand’s values. It will guide you in communicating those values so you stay consistent. Words are obviously important when it comes to messaging. But design is a huge part of this as well, as your company’s images and typography form key impressions in your audience’s minds, conveying what you want them to think and how you want them to feel about your company.
We can help you communicate your company’s core values and messages. Schedule a call with us to talk about how we can help create a brand for your business.
You need to make people aware of your business. And thankfully, it’s easier than ever to get seen on the Internet—as people spend more and more time online. But it’s not enough to just be seen once. In fact, you have to be seen about 17 times before you’ll really be noticed.
Being noticeable and memorable means customers recognize you and keep coming back. That recognition makes for loyalty. And loyalty . . . well, that’s great for your bank account! In fact, let’s circle back to Apple: loyal customers are often willing to pay higher prices.
Customer loyalty also shows up here: It is not unusual for an iPhone user to also have an iPad and a MacBook. Could they get non-Apple versions of these products that will meet their needs? In most cases, yeah, probably. And cheaper, too.
But it’s all about Apple loyalty. In fact, Apple has enjoyed a loyalty rate of 91% over the past three years. That comes about through brand recognition.
Amazon is the first company many people think of when they need just about anything. From Q-tips to an 85-inch TV and everywhere in between, Amazon delivers. (Literally.) Whether you’re in the kitchen and need a thingamajig or in the garage and need an extra doodad, Amazon, for many of us, comes to mind immediately. That’s how strong their brand recognition is. And wouldn’t you know it? Amazon has a comprehensive branding guide. (So should you!)
Here’s another example. Starbucks. Is their coffee really better than your local coffee shop? That’s arguable. But their brand is certainly recognizable—and not just in your hometown. The icon is so familiar, in fact, that in 2011 they took their company name and the word “coffee” off their logo—and have continued to boom worldwide! That’s the power of recognition. (Here is their extensive branding guide. Make sure to click the tiny menu bars in the upper right corner)
Even small businesses need to be recognizable. How else will they become established in their customers’ minds? You want your products and services to pop up in your target audience’s minds at the right time, as with the Amazon example. So how do you do it? You got it! Visuals! Logos, colors, and imagery make a brand recognizable.
Recognition is fueled by consistency. A study by Lucidpress and Demand Metric showed that companies with consistent branding have a 3-4 times higher chance of “excellent brand visibility.”
The study also found that while nearly all organizations had some form of branding guidelines, only a quarter had formal guidelines that were consistently followed. Over 60% said they did not always follow the guidelines they had. Any wonder why 71% of participants in the survey said there was confusion in the market?!
Here’s the positive side to that. Lucidpress has reported that consistent branding can increase revenue by as much as 33%! Imagine the impact that could have on your business. Think of how many doodads and thingamajigs you could buy from Amazon with all that extra revenue . . .
Consistent branding can get you a lot of word-of-mouth marketing. People talk about brands they recognize all the time. And the best part of that? It’s free! Consistent branding turns loyal customers into brand ambassadors. It’s like a salesforce that you don’t have to put on payroll.
If you have employees, there’s an added perk to having a strong brand identity clearly communicated in a branding guide. It gives employees direction and motivates them to do their work. They will feel like they are part of something.
Just like customers identify better with a branded persona than they do with the idea of a personality-lacking, sterile company—your employees will be able to relate to your company at a deeper level. It will become more than just a job.
You can even carry the branding physically into your workplace. Maybe artwork intentionally reflects the company’s values and color-scheme or furniture design portrays the company’s style. The employees will feel like they belong to the brand and the brand belongs to them. Like they are part of something bigger than themselves. And we all want to feel like that, don’t we?
Stay tuned for Part 3 . . .
Schedule a call with us to talk about how we can help create a brand for your business. Our Design Days include a Brand Clarifying Questionnaire that will help you really home in on the message your business is sending.
Feel free to reach out to us anytime with questions!