A recognisable and sought-after brand is one of the most valuable assets any small business or global corporation owns.
It's a fact, most consumers prefer to buy products or services from brands they trust and are familiar with. So, when it comes to buyer's choice and bottom lines, brand matters.
Whilst the definition of branding may differ, what’s consistent is that - brand is everything, it's what sets your business apart and determines its success. Encompassing more than the visual realm or specific elements, it's the overall perception and experience that makes a brand.
"Your brand is the single most important investment you can make in your business." – Steve Forbes
Great branding comes down to more than just a unique logo or a catchy tagline, positioning the brand at the heart of a business is key and can set the tone for future sales, especially post COVID-19. The global pandemic has already had an enormous impact on consumers and brands, we've entered a new era of business, everything has changed and so have consumer behaviours.
Navigating the challenges of COVID-19 has been a difficult task for many small and large-scale businesses across all sectors. These unprecedented times demand rapid, yet tactful action to meet fast evolving markets and stay in the game. Yes, business leaders are currently faced with many obstacles, but they're also presented with an opportunity to redefine or improve their product/service and find new ways to connect with customers to ensure they remain relevant for years to come.
Every business starts small and has unlimited growth potential. However, turning a small business into a big one is never an easy task, and you can't scale a business if you haven't established a solid brand identity.
Many small businesses make the mistake of overlooking critical branding practices because they view themselves as a business and not a brand. If, you're a small business owner who believes branding is something best left to the Apples, McDonalds and Fendi's of the world, you can't be further from the truth - branding is equally important for small business as it is for big names. Therefore, if you're in business, it's your business to know;
- / purpose / - what problem do you solve.
- / reason / - why you do what you do.
- / unique / - your point of difference.
- / mission / - your business intention.
- / consumer / - who your customers are.
- / aware / – is your brand well-known.
- / recall / - is your brand memorable.
- / credibility / – is your brand trustworthy.
- / values / - your trading code of ethics.
- / identity / – the overall view of your business.
- / perception / - the public's opinion of your brand.
- / relevance / - are you meeting current market demands.
Branding is a complex process, but one thing is true - every successful brand has powerful intent behind it, and so should yours. A strong brand knows who they are, who they are talking to and stands outs from its competitors.
BRAND vs BRANDING vs BRAND IDENTITY
There are many misinterpretations about the use of 'brand', 'branding' and 'brand identity'. Put simply, to build a successful business of any size, you need a standout 'brand', consistent 'branding' and a solid 'brand identity'. Yes, they are interchangeable and equally valuable, but individually play significant roles;
/ brand / - a type of product or service by a particular company under a particular name.
A brand is a name, term, design, symbol or any other distinct feature that identifies one seller's goods or services from those of other sellers.
Brand is how people perceive and feel about a company, it creates the emotional relationship between customer and business. When people fall in love with brands, they trust them and their promises.
/ branding / - the promotion of a particular product, service or company.
Branding is an ongoing process of creating, enhancing and growing a business by responding to the market and consumers demands. It is the marketing practice a business or corporation implements to create a name for itself. It's the process that identifies, differentiates and connects a brand with an audience.
It's much more than the visual components, it's a strategic plan of action taken to build a certain image of a company. Branding is how a business influences what customers think of the brand.
It incorporates all visible elements such as logo, tagline, design, brand philosophy, company promise and non-visible aspects including customer expectation, satisfaction, end user experience, etc. Brand Identity is the sum of all aspects of a business, the overall perception of how the market views and feels about a product, service or business.
"It’s very important for a brand to have an identity through the years, but it’s very important to evolve because times change so fast." – Donatella Versace
"There are three responses to a piece of design – yes, no and wow! Wow is the one to aim for." – Milton Glaser
"A business is simply an idea to make other people’s lives better." – Richard Branson
"Each day is an occasion to reinvent ourselves." – Ralph Lauren
"Change is the healthiest way to survive." – Karl Lagerfeld