If there’s one thing every business needs to build — it’s a brand. Whether you’re an established industry leader like Apple or Google, or just starting out, your brand (or lack thereof) will impact your business in a tremendous way.
A Branding Evolution
While branding may start with you, it ends with what consumers perceive (and think) about you.
In today’s digital landscape, consumers matter even more when it comes to building a brand; it is actually a fairly new dynamic. Unlike the days of old when branding was almost a one-way street, consumers now have a larger, real-time platform to express and broadcast their opinions about anything, including your business.
Consumers are also more aware of businesses actively trying to peddle their wares. As a result, many people are more cynical and unresponsive to the hard sell. They don’t want you to just tell them to buy what you’re offering. They want you to give them something worth talking about; they want to know your company is worthy of building a long-term relationship.
The Value of your Brand
The changes mentioned above are mainly attributed to more people (from all over the world) gaining access to the Internet; a byproduct of emerging economies from both the East and the West.
Coupled with the phenomenal rise of social media, the world has become more connected. More importantly, everyone that interacts with your company has a unique way of communicating with their peers and with businesses.
For example, headlines about how well (or not so well) a company deals with customers and the quality of products and/or services can circle the globe nigh-instantaneously. Real-time access to this information immediately affects how your brand is perceived (whether good or bad) in a matter of minutes, hours and days.
With this newfound knowledge comes discernment.
People are leery of where they spend their time and money. Therefore, brands that capitalize on the connections they make with their customers will continue to remain relevant and top of mind.
Needless to say, businesses without a smidge of a brand (to speak of) will not likely register in the minds of their prized audience.
To be honest, without a brand, your company can get lost in the communications shuffle; among hundreds of other companies in your industry with no key differentiation or value proposition.
This is an unfavorable position to be in because without customer loyalty; long-term profitability is harder to attain.
Two Questions That Will Craft your Brand
Generally speaking, people identify with a brand because of the idea, story or why behind it. Now that you have an understanding of why branding is essential, you can start to build (or optimize) your own. Begin by asking yourself two questions:
Who Are We?
Yes. It sounds very philosophical, but the answer to this question is incredibly important. It will be the foundation of your entire business; from marketing collateral to your company culture.
Defining your company’s identity can give you the direction you will need to make better decisions across your organization. It will drive what you say when potential employees and customers ask, “What you do?”
Brainstorm and focus until you can explain who you are in a simple and concise way. Get rid of jargon, flowery and technical language.
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