No, the answer isn't marketing. Sure, grabbing the attention of many is great, but keeping them coming back is the result of successful branding. Branding is not only about getting your target market to select you over your competition but also about getting your prospects to see you as the sole provider of a solution to their problem or need. It's about who your company is at its core.
"Your brand is what other people say about you when you aren't in the room."
Jeff Bezos, CEO + Founder of Amazon
To succeed in branding, you must understand the needs and wants of your customers and prospects. This is achieved by integrating your brand strategies through your company at every point of public contact. Think of branding as the expression of who you are as a company or organization and what you offer. Think of it like this: if a brand could speak, it would say: “I am _____. I exist because ______. If you relate to who I am and why I exist, you might like me. You can buy me and tell others about me.”
It’s important to remember branding and marketing are two separate things. Marketing may contribute to the overall brand by getting the word out effectively, but the brand is what remains after the marketing has swept through the room.
Your brand is what leaves the lasting impact and influences the crucial decision of whether or not someone will become a long-term customer. However, branding doesn’t happen overnight. It takes strategy and planning to successfully implement a lasting brand.
Design a Logo
- If you’re not super tech savvy, that’s okay! There are plenty of designers and creatives with an eye for unique logos. The key here is simple and recognizable. Think of the McDonald’s golden arches – it’s just an M. Nothing fancy, but always recognizable.
Craft a Branding Message
- This is what your company is built upon. Why do you exist? What are you working for? Use this opportunity to put words around what your brand stands for. Think of your brand message as your ultimate value proposition.
Integrate your Brand
- Integrating your brand into absolutely everything you do is imperative. This doesn’t just end at the work you complete for your clients. This is how you answer the phone, how you respond to emails, how you interact with clients and customers on a daily basis, everything.
Create a "Voice"
- The voice of your company is conveyed through all written communication and compliments other visual elements as well. This will match whatever tone it is you’re going for – formal suit-and-tie? Informal and conversational? Make this decision and let it guide all communicative elements.
- The most important part of branding is consistency. When you pick a tone or logo, for example, it needs to stand the test of time. This is why taking time to strategically and methodically map out your brand will help you down the road.
Ultimately, branding takes research. Take the time to learn the needs, desires, and habits of your target market, and don't rely on what you think or assume. Branding is about far more than your product. Think of Nike. They don't just sell shoes for the features of their sneakers. Brand credibility and authority are born out of significant time spent developing
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