There's brand people and there's people that don't think much of branding. Trust me, I understand, I was the later in my early days of direct response marketing. But then something magical happened. I was 25 and deep into a PPC campaign when I noticed that everything brand: keywords, campaigns, and overall investment in brand out preformed product keywords. Finally, I found the use-case that convinced me (and also leadership) that, yes brand can analytically be proven to improve marketing efforts and directly convert into revenue.
More yet, particularly 90% of consumers say brand authenticity is a critical factor in deciding whether to buy from a company or kick the can down the road to a competitor.
So in this article, we'll explain what branding is, why it's important, and how brands can use it to build a strong online presence.
Brand strategy is the way a company presents to the world. Of course this includes your company name, logo, colors, fonts, slogans, and taglines; but a brand is so much more than pretty design-elements and catchy slogan; it’s a promise to your customers about who you are, what you stand for, and what they can expect from you.
If someone hears good things about your products, services, and user experience, then buyers are more likely to trust and buy from you. But if the opposite is true, convincing your target customers to buy from you becomes challenging.
As a business owner, you want to be known and liked by your customers. This is where branding proves helpful. When done right, you can create a connection between your company and its intended audience.
Over time, people will seek out your products and services based on past great experiences with your company. But what other benefits do you get from brand building?
Here are a few:
A brand strategy gives you direction—without it, you'll struggle to find the path to reaching your company goals.
So whether you're looking to sustain, grow, or expand, branding will help you get there. As more people recognize your business as a trusted brand, the more they'll recommend it to others they know. Word of mouth is key to growth and longevity.
But what makes up a brand strategy?
A brand strategy is a written document outlining who you are, what you stand for, and how you intend to position yourself within the marketplace. It tells everyone involved in your business what kind of company you are.
Here are three steps to create a clear brand strategy.
This step should start by defining who you are as a company. Do you have a vision statement? Does your website reflect this vision? Have you created a tagline? All these define who you are as a business.
An example of a company's vision statement might be "We provide high-quality services at affordable prices." Or maybe "Our goal is to always exceed our client's expectations."
Your tagline could be "We offer exceptional service" or "We strive to deliver excellence daily".
You may also want to consider creating a corporate identity system. This includes everything from logos and colors to fonts and stationery. Your corporate identity system defines all elements of your brand, including visual style, tone, voice, and content.
After defining your brand's identity, it's time to determine your core values. These are the beliefs making up the foundation of your identity. It's the heart of your organization.
For example, "Believe In Something Greater Than Yourself" (Nike). Their mission statement reads:
"Nike exists to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world. Our Purpose is to move the world forward through the power of sport – breaking barriers and building community to change the game for all. If you have a body, you are an athlete."
Once you figure out your values, it's time to write your mission statement, which explains what you want to accomplish through your company branding. You may not achieve all of your goals right away, but having a clear purpose will keep you focused throughout the process.
Now, it's time to put your plan in motion. To do this, you'll need to get the word out about your brand and what it represents. You can use various channels to achieve this, including:
If you're trying to sell high-end products online, you might choose to focus on SEO rather than PPC ads. If you're selling low-cost items, you may focus more on influencer marketing and social media marketing. There's no one way to build a quality brand, so trying a mix of the options is ideal to see what works for your audience and budget.
Digital marketing is essential to building your brand because it allows you to connect directly with your customer base. Digital platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, etc., allow you to share content and interact with followers at scale.
You can also track conversions using tools such as Google Analytics, allowing you to measure ROI and optimize future marketing efforts.
Marketing focuses on creating awareness around your product or service. Branding establishes trust among customers by developing a consistent message across multiple touchpoints.
Together, you can build a profitable company that's recognized and loved by your customers.
Of course, you also need a valuable product or service and great customer service. Without this, even the best marketing strategy won't save your business.
Paying attention to how other companies develop and maintain their brands is key. It'll provide insights into what you should (and shouldn't) be doing with your own business.
So here's a look into some of the notable brand wins and losses in recent years.
Following the financial crisis of 2008, Gap Inc. decided to redesign its 20-year-old logo. This decision led to the ‘Gapegate’ phenomenon.
Gap’s highly recognizable iconic logo, which represented the company from 1990 to 2010, underwent a complete overhaul in 2010. This switch was a shocker to the public.
But it wasn't a good one.
Consumers jumped on social media to express their disregard for the new look. Within a week, the company reverted back to its original logo, signifying a botched rebranding attempt.
In case you missed the mishap, here's a look at the logo they attempted to use to "modernize" the Gap's brand.
But not all rebranding attempts are negative. Take for example Potrell UK. They decided to change their name and brand identity.
As of 2015, they're now known as Vivo Property Buyers.
The motivation behind the switch was to find a relevant name and logo locals could relate to. There was also a stigma in the fast sale industry, so they wanted to instill trust in their customers and prospects.
So they needed a rebranding that was approachable, friendly, and authoritative.
They came up with Vivo, which is "live" in Spanish. And a new logo design that was clean and included the color teal, which portrays trust and harmony.
Here's how the brand's website looked before:
And then after:
After their rebranding, Vivo Property Buyers saw 2x conversions.
Building a brand takes work. If you want to sustain what you build, then following best practices is key. Here's a look at several quick tips to improve the branding process:
Getting branding right today helps secure your future business. So keep these insights in mind as you build your brand.
At the end of the day, you want to build a business that resonates with your target customers. This is only possible if you truly understand what they value. Aligning your mission and messaging with your core audience will make it easier to build a connection.
Use the steps and best practices in this guide to figure out how you'll develop a brand that wins over prospects.
If you need help fleshing out your brand identity, consider partnering with an agency. At Orogamis, we built an entire branding framework. This includes creating your brand strategy and development, conducting market research, and running branding campaigns.
We understand the importance of branding and can help you create one your audience will admire.
Ready to get started? Then download our free branding checklist today!