Everyone knows that having a strong brand is important, but what exactly does it do for a company?
“Branding” seems to be something that startup companies are constantly hearing. If you’ve ever visited an entrepreneurial conference or watched a startup business video online, chances are you’ve heard the word brand hundreds of times in one hour.
So what’s the big deal about branding? What are the benefits of branding? Will having a strong brand actually set a business apart and give it an advantage against its competitors?
Any great business marketing company will tell you: yes. Having a strong brand will definitely help a business stand out and surpass the competition.
What is a “Brand”?
Everyone’s idea of the Benefits of Branding is different. Some people think it’s simply the fonts and colors a company decides to use. But if you’ve got a real understanding of what a brand is, you know that it includes at least some of the following:
- Design Style (eg. logo, colors, typography, and packaging)
- Website and Marketing
- Social Media Presence
- Customer Service
- Environment and Company Culture
- Taglines and Slogans
- Product Quality and Pricing
- Philosophy and Overall “Personality”
Developing a strong brand doesn’t always take millions of dollars, but it does take a lot of creativity and research.
As the world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos, states;
“A brand is literally what people say about your business when you’re not in the room”.
Basically everything they *think* and *feel*, which is why branding is so important.
What Makes a Strong Brand?
There are many things that make branding strong.
Uniqueness, quality, a clear message, a solid philosophy, targeted marketing, and audience awareness are just a few. Typically, what makes a brand great isn’t just one amazing thing—it’s a combination of several.
A great example is Ikea. While they’re definitely not a small startup, they perfectly exemplify a strong brand. Why? Because they’re known for their low prices, giant stores, customer experience (cheap meatballs and set-up room displays!), and blue-and-yellow colors with the blocky font.
Similarly, fans of Apple are die-hard devoted because of not just one, but several key factors: the sleek look. The promise of quality products and innovation. The atmosphere of the stores. The story behind it all.
When you think about companies who are so powerful that they may as well be considered religions (like Apple, Nike, Coke, Amazon), consider that they all combine many things to make their work. It’s not just a logo. It’s not just a tagline. It’s not even just marketing research. It’s all of that, and much more.
Even a brand that’s much less well known—for example, let’s take the Screamin’ Sicilian Pizza Company, which makes frozen pizzas—employs many factors that come together to create a remarkable strategy. Their website, choice of verbage, font, and packaging make them stand very far apart from their competition. They are the ‘purple cow‘ in a sea of sameness.
What are the Benefits of Branding?
So why is branding so important? What does having a strong brand actually do for a business? It’s an ever-changing climate, but here are 8 key benefits of branding:
- Customer recognition
- Customer loyalty
- Brand equity
- Attracts talent
- Allows shared values
- Gives confidence
1. Customer Recognition
Never underestimate the power of familiarity. When a customer is shopping and sees the unmistakable typography/colors/images of a Benefits of Branding that they recognize, they’re more likely to grab that product than the sea of others that are surrounding it. Why? Because it’s eye-catching and familiar.
From something wild and eye-popping (like the aforementioned Screamin’ Sicilian pizza) to something simple and zen (like And Union beer), good branding will click inside shoppers’ minds.
2. Customer Loyalty
Once shoppers begin to recognize and buy a service or product, a good branding can keep them coming back for more—and can make them loyal “followers” of that brand. When a company combines a great product with engaging that hits all the right notes with shoppers, a business will see their Benefits of Branding customer loyalty begin to build and build and build.
3. Helps Keep Marketing Consistent
Once a business has its in place—a company philosophy, marketing, colors, typography, print, website, etc.—it can begin to model the rest of its efforts after it. When there’s a “set” foundation in place, it makes other choices much easier, and all of the company’s future marketing Benefits of Branding can branch off of it.
4. Brand Equity Maximizes New Product Launches
When those little M&M characters are onscreen promoting the launch of caramel M&Ms or pretzel M&Ms or whatever new flavour is arriving, everyone pays attention because they’re so familiar with those guys. A huge benefit to strong branding is that it helps promote new products and services. People will be automatically interested because they’re already familiar with a brand. So if you bring our a new flavour, product or service, a strong brand will help launch it!
5. Increases Credibility
When a business has solid branding, it increases that company’s credibility within its industry, as well as with customers.
Innovative marketing paired up with phenomenal customer service and interesting visuals will establish a company as Benefits of Branding a serious professional business.
6. Attracts Talent
When a business has great Benefits of Branding, people notice. And often, those people who are noticing are very talented influencers, social media marketers, or website designers, or concept builders. When a business is doing an excellent job with this caliber of thinker often wants to be a part of what Benefits of Branding that business is doing. And when a company allows people like this in, they’re adding to their creative powerhouse.
7. Allows Shared Values
When a company connects with their customers through shared values, it can create loyalty for life, and can even go into future generations.
Take Toms, for instance. These shoes are very nice, but the main thing that this brand is known for is their donation of one pair of shoes to someone in need for every pair that’s sold. This is a great example of that Benefits of Branding transfers over the generations, because parents strive to teach their children to give. Harnessing a shared emotional connection between company and customer is Benefits of Branding one of the key points of branding.
8. Gives Confidence
Here’s a nice one: good branding not only gives confidence to the customer, it does a lot for the actual business owner. With great branding, all of the energy, time, money, and work that has gone into a company Benefits of Branding comes together as a complete and professional presentation. Branding exists to further the original Benefits of Branding product or service. It pushes it forward by grabbing the public’s eye and making them pay attention. Good branding is for the public, but it’s also for the business owner to appreciate what they have created and built.
Make Sure All the Bases are Covered
As you can see, great branding does quite a lot more for a business than just making it look pretty.
When done properly, strong branding can advance a business further than the owners ever thought possible.
If you’re a business owner who is looking to progress your company with strategic branding, be sure to make sure you’re covering every area so that you’re not missing out on any opportunities.
Need to get your brand in shape? Contact Jacob Cass to get started.
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6 Innovative Ways to Increase Brand Awareness
1. Get influencers to display your art or other product.
Inviting influencers into your niche is a great way to brand awareness increase brand awareness and hopefully drive sales. When influencers have an established audience that knows and trusts them, once they mention your product(s) and discuss your brand in their content, those mentions will expand your reach and increase people’s awareness of your product.
Ikonick is a perfect example of a company that works directly with influencers: It sells canvas art for your branding home and office. The way Ikonick brand awareness uses influencers involves providing them with art and having those influencers pose with the art, then share the photos on social media.
“Our relationships are an important part of our business,” co-founder Mark Mastrandrea told me. “Our relationships make up our community, and brand awareness the community is how our brand grows.”
Ikonick uses all types of influencers, from branding Instagram photographers to celebrities. The company’s social strategy has enabled it to scale and grow exponentially because its influencers become part of its sales team — even ambassadors. The relationship is mutually rewarding, Mastrandrea said.
Related: Your Personal Branding Strategy in 10 Steps (Infographic)
Companies can also offer to sponsor influencers to brand awareness at an event (if they do that sort of thing) and even use them as spokespersons for their brand and product(s). A lot of CrossFit-related companies do this, including Rogue Fitness, which sponsors certain athletes with clothing. The athlete then becomes a walking billboard for the company.
2. Use branded packaging.
Have you ever received an order that came in branded packaging? Rather than see it as just another shipment, perhaps brand awareness you felt that that that special branding made the package seem like a gift.
Packlane is a company that allows companies to design custom packaging, using their own logo and branding to enhance the customer experience. The team has created unique boxes for L’Oreal, HP, Shopify and RedBull, to name a few.
The team knows that the product experience doesn’t commence at first use, but rather at the unboxing stage. How companies present brand awareness their brand, and the story they tell through their design and graphics, can create an emotional connection with the customer that may last even longer than the product itself.
Branded packaging offers an additional touchpoint to the value your brand gives to each customer’s experience, and helps distinguish you from marketplace competitors. Overlooking your product’s packaging is a missed branding opportunity in today’s ultra-competitive market landscape.
3. Do your SEO research.
Have you heard that the majority of consumers don’t look past the first page of search results, and the majority of people in that group don’t look past the first few results on the page?
Think about how powerful that SEO is for branding companies pitching to prospects. If competitors are all citing the same information, though, it loses some of its power because of all those companies trying to get new clients.
Researching SEO strategies related to your niche, products or services can help you increase brand awareness. This research will set you apart as an expert and leader in your industry.is a great tool that helps you conduct the right type of research because it provides specific keyword research.
4. Double-down on social.
Instagram is a social media platform with power. It’s said that a picture is worth a thousand words, and Instagram lets you promote that story via the image(s) you post and the text you narrate. It’s a great tool for friends and family to keep up with one other, and it’s just as good for brands reaching out to their consumers.
Azazie sells bridesmaids and bridal wedding gowns. To do that, it’s become hyper-focused on growing its social communities, especially on Instagram.
The reason is that on that platform, the company can ask new brides to share images of their special day — and their experiences with Azazie’s dresses. Not surprisingly, Azazie’s Instagram page is full of beautiful photos that inspire other brides-to-be to imagine themselves in one of its gowns.
Best of all, Azazie harnesses the power of social proof by leveraging testimonials (and personal images) from the customers it’s helped make gorgeous brides and bridal party members.
Then there’s Facebook: Like Instagram, Facebook has the power to increase brand awareness and create a community. Gallant Dill is a self-made entrepreneur who’s built a community through his Facebook group. Dill’s business is a mentoring program which teaches branding entrepreneurs how to build and scale their companies.
Facebook helps him speak directly to this community and share the results of his different mentoring programs and products. Just 26 years old, he has multiple multi-million dollar businesses, a feat which testifies to his intelligence but also to the power of social communities.
5. Step up your game on Twitter.
Twitter is yet another big social media platform for brand awareness because it helps you publish news and interact with customers already talking about your business.
Wendy’s, for instance, has built a reputation on Twitter and increased its brand awareness by responding to media mentions of its brand, as well as competitors’ posts with quippy, sassy and hilarious branding remarks. One of the best examples occurred when a user called out the company, asking where the closest McDonald’s was.
Wendy’s responded with trash can image.
Then there are Wendy’s tweets (here are some examples shared by BoredPanda). Whether you like Wendy’s or not, it’s hard not to appreciate its roasts — and keep the brand top of mind.
6. Take advantage of Google’s AdSense auto ads.
Finally, paid ads are a great way to get your name and website in front of your target audience, but narrowing down your brand awareness audience and getting your pitch just right can be tricky.
Google recently announced its new AdSense Auto ads, which show publishers the best place to create and optimize their ads.
Through machine learning technology, Auto Ads can be automatically placed on sites that are best for your brand. There, they effectively brand awareness reach your target audience, giving you a greater return on investment.
Related: Why Converting to Instagram Business Is Not a Winning Brand StrategyThese six strategies are great ways to increase your brand awareness and help your company thrive. Which do you think will be most effective for you and your brand? Read more!
Build Brand Awareness with These Clever Tips and Tricks
The Build Brand Awareness Test: Take a look at the graphic below. Recognize anything?
How many of these brands did you know exactly what/who they were after just milliseconds?
Maybe it’s the color or style of writing that catches your eye.
Or maybe the logo itself is recognizable enough that you don’t even need the text or business name that goes with it.
All of these big brands have spent a lot of time and money making sure you know their logo, colors, and what they stand for as a company by heart.
In order to get on top of the competition and stay there, these companies have had to continuously build brand awareness. But what is brand awareness exactly and how can you use it to grow your business?
What is brand awareness?
If people don’t know who you are, they can’t purchase your product or service. Brand awareness happens the second someone remembers your brand from previously seeing something like your logo or company name. When you build brand awareness you are building your reputation. This can help you to acquire new customers, retain old customers and stand out from your competition.
Let’s take brand awareness a step further with brand recognition. After your customer learns your business name the next goal you have is for them to have an in-depth knowledge of your products, services and overall feeling of your business.
For example you can probably recognize the Starbucks logo from a mile away when you are driving down the highway. You know that the company is currently trying to find alternatives to their classic green straws. They have a point system that allows you to collect stars until you get a free drink. And you definitely have your go-to order memorized.
Before your customers can reach this state of brand recognition you will have to build brand awareness. This will allow you to target customers, generate leads, and close sales.
How can you build brand awareness for your business?
Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is brand awareness. People are not going to automatically know your brand after seeing your logo/name once or twice. You have to work for it by building a strategy, earning customers’ trust and making your presence known on multiple channels. This strategy should be unique and creative so that you can beat out your competitors.
On the surface level you will need to build a strong brand awareness strategy targeting highly specific audiences and focusing on brand recall and customer engagement.
If you are just starting out you will need to define your target market and develop buyer personas because you can’t target everyone. The more focused your audience is, the better. You want people who will actually engage with your brand. Quality over quantity.
Focusing on brand recall is the core of building brand awareness. The key to brand recall is being consistent on all platforms. There are so many ways you can engage your customers online – from advertising on social media to blogging. Make sure you know which marketing tactics you should use and which to avoid.
Components to add to your branding strategy
1. Consistency Is Key
You can probably guess at least one reason why it’s important to be consistent. Obviously it helps people remember your brand if they have seen the same logo on every platform. But consistency can also aid in SEO. If you have a Google My Business (which you should) you will notice that your “NAP” also known as your name, address and phone number is displayed when you search for your business. This should be the same across all platforms.
If you own a law office and your offices name on Google My Business is Law Office of Bill Brown but your name on Yelp is Law Offices of B. Brown this is problematic for search engines. Search engines as well as your customers might view these as two different businesses.
If you as a brand are consistent in everything you do you will become a trusted and reliable source for customers to return to again and again. And you will have a higher chance of ranking in search.
2. Invest In Advertising
You will no doubt want to invest in advertising. But make sure you use the appropriate channels. Social media and Google advertising are two great ways to build brand awareness for your business.
By now you have probably seen ads on every social media platform. When running ads on social media platforms you will probably have a photo accompanied by some text. You will of course want to have a photo that resonates with your audience with a small amount of text so that Facebook approves your ad but you will also want to include your logo.
Even if it is subtly nestled in the corner of your photo this is a strategy that can help you build brand awareness. You want potential customers to be able to recognize your logo so place it any and everywhere you can.
You can also run ads on Google with AdWords. There are two different options when creating ads on this platform – search and display ads. Search ads are text based and are the ads you are used to seeing when you Google something.
Display ads are the ones you see as banners or side bars on other websites.
In order to create brand awareness with each type of ad you will need to make sure you are using your brand’s target keywords for search ads and images that reflect your brand for display ads. All ads should be cohesive with each other and with your website. That way, whenever a user sees your ad, they are never confused and never see a break or lapse in branding. The same types of imagery, fonts, colors, and logos across all advertising efforts will significantly build brand awareness.
Using Google advertising and social media advertising in tandem can up your brand awareness game, increase leads and help you close sales! If you forgo online advertising, you will missing a huge opportunity to build brand awareness. With digital ads you can track your customers every move as well as your ROI.
3. Social Media Presence
In a digital world it’s important to have a presence on social media. Sure you can run ads but you should also be posting regularly. Remember that consistency thing we talked about? That applies here too. There are branding several things you can do alongside posting to boost your brand visibility.
Reply to comments on Facebook! Do you want to be known as a trusted, helpful brand with a great social media presence? Make an effort to interact with your customers. If someone asks a question, answer it. If they have a problem, solve it.
You can also try to do a livestream. This is one of the organic ways that is considered as most cost effective. And it is proven to increase your conversion rate – fast. You just need to choose the platform that has the highest engagement. Be sure that your content is interesting and enticing to attract more people to take action in what you offer. And having solid CTAs all throughout your branding live stream will quickly earn you leads.
Create a hashtag for your brand on Instagram. Hashtags help users discover products, brands and more through posts that are tagged with hashtags. You will want to use hashtags that are both generic, niche, and branded in order to build brand awareness. If you only use generic hashtags, your posts can get lost in the mix. Make your own hashtag. It may be a while before it takes off but it branding helps you create an identity and stand out from the crowd.
An Instagram account called Food In The Air has gained 389k followers and has built enough brand awareness to have their own hashtag #FITA and #foodintheair. In this post they also hashtag bagels which is generic but if someone is searching for photos of bagels they might just stumble across their account.
The tone, colors and photos on your social media channels can help you build brand awareness. For example, your Instagram theme can say a lot about your brand. Creating a theme means that all of the photos on your account have a similar feel. Nisolo Shoes has a clean Instagram theme and all of their photos have similar tones. So when a customer sees a photo that looks branding similar to their theme, they will associate it with this company. Not to mention, having a consistent theme just looks nice, put together and professional.
Utilize Pinterest! This may seem like an outdated platform but pins on Pinterest will continually generate traffic to your site and are great for giving people insight into your brand. The key here is to have interesting visual content so that you can stand out. Photos of your products, infographics, videos and gifs can all help you build your brand on Pinterest.
4. Partner With Other (Bigger) Brands
If you are a smaller brand looking to build brand awareness, partner with established brands to have giveaways or even collaborate on a product.
If you are a smaller brand just starting out ready to build brand awareness, it’s time to turn to Instagram and find brands that you would like to work with. Engage with them on social media and branding once you have built a relationship you can ask them to collaborate. Instagram giveaways are perfect for building brand awareness. It’s a simple way to get your name out there and to meet other brands and influencers in your market.
This blogger and influencer partnered with another brand for a healthy giveaway. Contests like this are perfect because in order to enter, Instagram users have to follow both brands. You can easily increase your follower growth and make people aware of your brand.
This partnership giveaway is between the brands Rifle Paper Co, a stationary and lifestyle brand and Loccitane, a line of natural beauty products. An interesting partnership right? Rifle Paper Co actually designed some packaging for Loccitane’s products. These are more well known brands but they have taken a collaboration to social media in order to gain more exposure.
Even two big brands can work together. Apple partnered with Hermés, a luxury fashion brand in order to give both brands a marketing boost with Apple’s series 3 watch. With this strategy, each brand is targeting two customer bases.
5. Refer A Friend
If you have a referral program in place this can be a great way to gain new customers as well as increase brand awareness. If someone is already a loyal follower of your brand give them the opportunity to share your brand with a friend.
If your friend tells you about a product and asks you to try it would you? Would you be more inclined to do so if it was free? Blue Apron, a meal subscription box, is well known for their referral program; it’s a huge part of their brand. If you refer a friend, you get a discount and so do they. Everybody wins! These customers essentially become free ambassadors for your brand.
Blue Apron combines a sort of “free” trial with recommendations to give their brand a boost. People who haven’t heard of Blue Apron will eventually have a friend that tells them about it so really Blue Apron only has to build a circle of loyal customers who will spread the word and essentially market for them.
6. Offer A Free Trial
Everyone loves free stuff. And people especially love to try out a product before the fully commit. Letting people take a test run of your product or service can build brand awareness as well as trust.
Instead of a “trial” Spotify offers a completely free version of their service and you don’t even need to put down a credit card.
Although the free version doesn’t come will all of the paid features, it gives customers a taste of the product without the stress of commitment. In March of 2016 Spotify had 30 million paid users. That number has more than doubled. As of January 2018 they had 70 million paid users. Using a free trial to build brand awareness is smart, especially if you can make it commitment free and give users a long test run. Read more.