On its surface, a company’s brand may seem like nothing more than a logo or slogan. But the truth is that there’s a lot more that goes into building a successful and enduring brand.
The best way to view the branding process is from two sides: identity and perception.
From an identity standpoint, your brand is a combination of your company’s values, mission, and what it has to offer. It’s why your company exists beyond the simple objective of making money.
However, none of these things matter if consumers don’t view you the same way, forcing companies to also view their brand from the perspective of the average person. This makes developing a brand both an inward and outward endeavor.
These are hard things to figure out, no doubt. But it is essential that you do. After all, how can you expect to grow your business if you don’t have a clear understanding of who you are as a company or how others perceive you?
Developing Your Brand
While logos, color palettes, taglines, and jingles help to communicate your brand, it’s not the full picture. Your brand needs to have the ability to create a bond between the lives of your customers and the products and services you offer.
Companies, like people, have certain characteristics that make them unique. They can have a sense of humor, a personality, a way of speaking, and a presence. They generate a feeling inside those who know them and reach out to those who don’t. They build relationships, form partnerships, and come up with new ideas.
Developing a brand is hard work, so we’ve included an exercise that hopefully makes the process a little easier.
Think of your company as if it were an actual person.
- What’s their personality?
- What do they do for a living?
- What are they passionate about?
- What are their goals?
- What are their friends like?
- What kind of people do they associate with?
- How do they dress?
- How do they talk?
- What are their hobbies?
- Who do they want to become?
To put this in a way that is more concrete, think of these questions as answering the following:
- What principles and ideals does your company stand for?
- Where do you fit within your industry?
- What aspect of your business do you enjoy the most?
- What do you want to accomplish as a company?
- What kind of people do you want to hire?
- Who are your customers?
- What are your company’s colors and logo?
- What is the voice and tone of your marketing content?
- What are some other business avenues you’d like to pursue?
- What is your overall vision for the company?
The best way to form a fully realized brand is to define the identity and build a perception around it. This means answering questions 1-5 first. Question 6-10 should then help you shape the perception of your company.
These are big and difficult questions. So make sure you take the time to answer them completely.
Why Branding Is So Important
Even if you have a unique product, it likely won’t sell very well if you don’t have a good brand backing it up. Also, if your service or product is not really all that unique, a good brand can be the difference maker when it comes to having someone choose you over someone else.
Moreover, it can be incredibly difficult to advertise a company’s services or products when you don’t know how to position it to the company’s consumer base. Being able to give your marketing team a solid understanding of who you are and how you’d like to be seen is critical when developing a campaign’s strategy.
This is why every business should have a brand guide that clearly lays out who your company is, as well as the fonts, colors, and different dimensions of your logo. With a guide like this, you can easily hand it off to whoever wants to learn more about your company and show them everything they need to know.
A Brand Builds Company Culture
Aside from improving your marketing efforts, a fully realized brand will act as the foundation of your company’s culture. This will help you hire the right people and foster a work environment in which your employees can thrive. With clear and consistent messaging, it will be easier to attract the kinds of people you’re looking to hire.
Why does almost every computer programmer want to work for Google? Because they know what it means to be a Google employee.
A Brand Gives Direction and Purpose
Every company will experience pitfalls throughout its years in business. During those trying times, it’s important that you take a moment to remember why you exist and what you set out to accomplish. A strong brand can help get you back on the right path and help you solve the problems your company is facing.
Hiring a Branding Consultant
So, if you haven’t already started thinking about your brand, we strongly recommend that you do. It may be that you need to hire a branding consultant to help guide you through the process. Getting an outsider’s perspective can be incredibly beneficial when trying to articulate exactly what your company is and does. It may even help you discover something about your company that you never thought of before.