Branding is one of the most misunderstood parts of running a business. Most small business owners I talk with believe that branding is simply their logo, or their company’s name. It’s true that identifying marks are a major part of your brand, but branding goes much deeper. Your brand is also your company’s reputation.
1. Brands boost referrals
In a survey on Word-of-Mouth marketing, around 58% of respondents said they recommend companies with whom they have positive experiences. However, this survey also found that people were much more likely to share bad experiences. What does this mean for you? If your company doesn’t have a good reputation, you’re fighting an uphill battle when trying to find new customers. It means you’ve got to make the most out of that 58% who’ll potentially recommend you. A solid brand with a lot of trust built into it makes that job much easier. Ensure your customer service is top-notch, especially early on in the company’s life when your brand is still emerging. Follow up with customers. Make sure they’re completely satisfied. As time goes on, and your brand reputation grows, it will amplify the power of any word-of-mouth marketing you do.
2. Branding backs up marketing
Traditional marketing has become very difficult. People just don’t trust ads like they used to, since they feel most companies exaggerate their claims. Lesson learned: don’t exaggerate. You could hurt your brand before it even gets off the ground. “Say what you do, and do what you say.” Walk the walk. Your brand reputation will grow as people learn they can trust what your business says. As time goes on, simple brand recognition will reinforce the marketing claims you make. This trust will also help distinguish your business from competitors. People are more likely to go with a trusted brand than someone they don’t recognize.
3. Brands stick around
Your company is going to go through a lot of changes. People will come and go, new products and services will be added, and the general focus of the business could shift. But even with all of those changes, your brand will stick around as an inextricable part of your company. As long as you continue to deliver what you promise, years, and even decades, of goodwill could be built into your brand.
Thus while branding may be denoted by symbols, sounds, logos, and other marks, there is much more to it. Your logo’s important because it is how people identify your business at a glance — but your “deeper branding” will be the trust you’ve built into those symbols. New businesses must take extra care when introducing logos and other symbols to their branding, lest a couple of mistakes taint their brand. So, as you build your company, always remember to ask yourself how your decisions affect your brand. With customers’ trust, your brand can be priceless.