Branding is the development of a visual or perceptive element that makes your business unique. Branding usually involves the creation of a name, design or personality, that aptly describes your company.
Expert branding creates a distinctive identity for your company, and your products or services, in the minds of customers. Branding enables you to develop a sharp competitive edge too.
Benefits of Branding
Apart from creating recognition for your company, branding delivers several other benefits:
- Generates trust in customers, employees, vendors, and investors
- Attracts new customers by generating trust
- Builds a loyal customer following
- Inspires loyalty and a sense of ownership in employees
- Increases business value
- Builds a formidable reputation for the company within the industry
- Good branding serves as strong support for a business’ marketing strategy
Challenges to Business Branding
Branding plays a major role in increasing the trust and sales quotient of your products or services.
In the case of startups, expert branding can successfully fulfill the key job of being the face of the company. Branding helps startups build trust, which is crucial in the initial years of company founding.
With successful branding, startups can sell their products/ services more easily because customers buy from a brand they are familiar with than from a faceless company.
It is important for every business, and more so for startups, to invest time and money in branding.
Every company faces some key challenges with branding. Whether you are a startup or a company aiming at better branding results, an awareness of the following branding challenges enables you to be well-prepared with strategies for overcoming them:
Failure to Create Brand Trust
You may have a great brand logo and design, but your branding may not be making the right impact.
Why? Your branding strategy may not be inspiring trust in your customers.
For example, say you own a shopping website. If your website design and content are poor, or worse, shady in presentation, then your branding will not impress. It is important to have elements that deliver on your branding promise.
You can address this lack of brand trust in multiple ways:
- Make Excellent Customer Service the Base – Good reviews by customers are powerful in attracting other customers. Ensure that your existing customers are happy.
- Use References and Testimonials on your Website – References by your customers and media coverage are great ways to generate credibility.
Testimonials by customers, celebrities, and social media influencers can help you make an impact on relevant audiences.
- Choosing partners with a well-liked brand – This strategy especially helps every business, but especially startups. A well-known partner builds credibility for your business.
Investors and customers want a trustworthy brand and if you are associated with one, the chances of success are more.
Lack of Customer Education
No matter how great your branding is, it will not work if customers do not understand your products/ services. Educate your target audience about your products/ services. Explain how you can help them with your products/ services.
Some ways to overcome this branding challenge:
- Offering free trials of your products/ services
- Explaining how your products/ services have made a difference in people’s lives. You can talk to your customers through the press, blogging, and social media.
Brand inconsistency happens when your branding elements, such as your logo, company actions, and marketing messages, do not align. When there is a gap between what you stand for, and what you communicate through your branding, you lose customer trust.
Some ways to ensure that you maintain consistent branding:
- Have clarity regarding your brand message – If you are unsure about your brand message, so will your audience. Whether you want to sound professional or light-hearted or want your customers to interact in a specific way with your brand, make it known.
- Define your target audience correctly – Who is it you want to be your customers? Adults, children, families, working women, or baby boomers? Specify.
Branding makes the required impact only when your message reaches the right audience. If you are targeting every consumer, then you will land nowhere.
- Be Consistent in Presentation – Use your logo, slogan, image, or any other branding element consistently across all platforms (brochures, office stationery, website, in-store, social media, blogs, etc.). Lack of consistency in presentation confuses customers.
Failure to Create Brand Awareness
Your brand needs to be embedded into customers’ minds to reflect your company in their minds.
Budget constraints can sometimes prevent executives from investing in brand awareness strategies. In the case of startups, tight financial situations are most often the case for lack of brand awareness.
In some cases, budget constraints can cause businesses to forgo investment in creative branding.
Executives hesitate to hire the services of a branding expert to accomplish the required task. In such cases, the result is inferior branding, which damages the company’s reputation and disassociates customers from the brand. Over time, the brand, and the company, are both forgotten.
Strategies to create brand awareness can make a great difference:
Improve brand visibility
From making use of branded T-shirts to improving your search engine optimization (SEO) strategies, there are many ways to improve brand visibility.
- Showcase your company on social networking websites
- Implement branded packaging
- Introduce brand reviews by influencers
- Create and share good content consistently
Create or Leverage your Personal Brand
A strong personal brand increases the credibility of your company brand. But, do not create a personal brand only to boost your company brand.
- Build a personal brand around areas that you are passionate about. For example, you may have a passion for books. You could build a personal brand that revolves around your world of books.
- Specify your target audience.
- Be up-to-date on your desired area of interest. Follow people that are experts in your area of interest.
- Engage with your audience by publishing interviews of experts in your field of interest. Share posts and informative resources on the same.
- Diversify your online footprint. Use social media, blogging, and video-sharing platforms for a stronger impact.
- Grow your network. Connect with like-minded people. This will reinforce your personal brand.
Networking can also build connections that can help you professionally.
Build your reputation as an Industry Expert
Add to your brand’s credibility by mastering your domain. Be up-to-date with industry trends. Share your thoughts on how your industry can evolve over the years through blog articles, interviews, and podcasts. Participate in industry seminars and conferences.
Awareness of significant branding challenges enables you to identify them before they sabotage your branding initiatives. You can also take appropriate steps to overcome these challenges at the right time so that branding gives you all intended business results and more.