Yes, a good brand really is a big deal! So let’s break down exactly why it’s important for businesses (of all sizes) to invest in a brand that’s powerful enough to deliver great results for years to come.
So, first off the bat – what exactly is a brand?
In short, it’s everything. It’s the way that you communicate with your customers and how you make them feel when they purchase your goods or services. It’s the ultimate name that you stand by, it represents what you do best and what you want to be known for.
The importance of powerful brand image…
Let’s face it – you probably wouldn’t go to a job interview in your Nike trainers and last Friday’s t-shirt (well, not to one that you were ‘over keen’ on landing anyway). But like it or not; we as both people and businesses are judged on our first impressions. So why should this be any different in marketing? The way in which we first connect with our potential clients and customers goes a long way. I’ll simplify:
“As businesses, we should brand ourselves in the way that we want to be known”.
Fictional situation – take a minute and imagine yourself checking into a fancy hotel in central London, you’ve saved long and hard for a luxury, 5 star weekend away with your friend or partner. You arrive at reception (all good so far), walk to the desk and you’re greeted by Joe Bloggs, dressed in a scruffy polo-shirt that’s short enough to expose a full sleeve of tattoos. Also, he just happens to be swirling around on his chair and chewing on a Mars bar behind the desk as he checks you in.
Something would feel off, right? But why is that? I think that all memebers of society have a certain line of expectation. And when it’s not met, we are naturally disappointed. Me? I actually like tattoos. My point? Mr Bloggs could be giving off the wrong impression by not making an effort to cover them.
The thing to take away from this scenario is to think – how would you like to be known? How would you like your customers to feel when engaging with you, your products and services?
It’s essential to make things easy for our customers
Okay, say for example, you go to a shopping website and spend a reasonable amount of time trying to look for some crucial information regarding your account. Things are tacky, unstructured a nd out of place. You immediately become agitated. It’s not an easy experience and you cannot help but feel annoyed at the fact the company is making your life more difficult. Although realistically, it’s just down to the fact that they probably haven’t hired a designer to update their site for a few years.
This poor website is representing that company, just as Joe Bloggs (and his ‘OK to eat at the desk’ policy) was representing the hotel that Saturday morning
A solid brand will serve you an ideal image.
One that you need in order to sell your products and services. Of course, this is dependent upon the nature of your business. If you’re a meat company distributing Biltong (a dried meat that’s very popular throughout Southern Africa) then it probably won’t be your priority to have your customers ‘find you’. I imagine that your site would need to be more focused around the products that you are selling, seasonal/promotional offers and the variations that you are making available. In short, it’s all dependant on the nature of your business.
I think it’s also fair to say that the one-time and most popular marketing tactic of “look, we have a great product, we need to sell it. Let’s put posters everywhere and wait for people to come this way” is slightly fading away. For sure, posters will always have their place in advertising events and raising awareness of certain things. But for businesses now, social media and digital marketing is the way forward. We need to think about how we can connect with people in order to sell our products and services before assuming that they trust both us (as a business) and our services. And that’s the reason why a brand is so important today.
What makes you unique?
More jargon? Unique Selling Point (USP) (for those of you who don’t know this already). It’s far too easy to get carried away with doing things by the book; providing good customer service backed up with great products in an ideal place. But your USP is what makes YOU unique. What do you want to be known for? What can you do that’s a little different to Joe Bloggs (yep, that guy again – he’s everywhere isn’t he?) and in this case, he’s the one that lives down your street… the one that’s selling the same thing as you are. SO THINK STRAPLINES. Give your customers a reason to use you and not him.
Let’s think up a couple of examples:
Dominos are known for their speed of service. Shamefully, I’ve been a bit of a late bloomer discovering their new app, which basically lets you time your pizza from prep to delivery time. I gave it a go last weekend and I was more than impressed. I could physically make my own pizza from the customisation menu, toppings, and everything. Better still, it tracked my order whilst it was on the road and alerted me on arrival.
My point – It was Domino’s quirky app that made me (as a customer) feel valued. They as a company have said “Right, let’s get this dough on the road!” and it gives you the chance to see it for yourself. If that’s not great customer service, then I really don’t know what is. But the ironic thing there – I didn’t even have to speak to anyone. So as we can see, Digital Investment can really pay off!
Now let’s take a look at a competitor of theirs – Papa John’s, who demonstrate their USP through quality food and traditional recipes. This chain has arrived from the founder who opened his first pizza house in 1983 and they pride themselves on the fact that they simply know how to make exceptional pizza. Another good reason to give these guys a try.
Do I need to improve my existing brand?
In a nutshell, a solid brand makes you more believable. So whether you’re a one-man band or a big heavyweight brand, then it’s never too late to come up with something original and unique to you.
And after you have found your niche; it gives your audience a reason to respect you more and invest more of their time and money into what you’re offering them.
You may wish to ask yourself three questions:
Are your promotional items consistent?
If not, then how will people know it’s you that they are hearing from? It’s essential for a brand to reflect a consistent tone of voice across both printed and digital platforms so that you’re efforts are not only “out there” but recognised by the people that you are hoping to connect with.
Do you feel that your brand truly reflects what you do?
If it’s not convincing you, then the odds are that your customers won’t be able to grasp the personality of your business either. Think – what are people looking for when they visit your site and why should they choose to work with you?
Do you blend in or stand out?
If you already have a brand, then now may be the time to bring something bigger to the table.
The good news?
We’d love to help you out! We pride ourselves in growing businesses through dedicated marketing methods and great visuals. We drink lots of tea and coffee too. So pop in for one and we’ll get the ball rolling!