Think about the last time you purchased a shirt, a car, or laptop. Why did you choose a particular product over another? Sure, style, color, and quality probably played a factor -- but what affected your perception of these factors? The product’s brand. Think about it:
Chevrolet vs. Ford
Nike vs. Under Armour
Apple vs. Samsung
All of these companies produce products of similar quality, depending on which experts you ask. So, how do consumers choose which companies to purchase from? By choosing the company with which they most strongly identify, which they determine by evaluating each company’s presentation, design, values, advertising, and marketing–AKA: their branding.
When your customers buy from you, they aren’t just buying your products or services. They’re buying into the ideas, lifestyles, and perception of your brand.
As a business owner, you’re tasked with building your company’s credibility through offering quality products and services, stellar customer service, and clearly communicating and upholding your company’s values. Add in thoughtful, intentional design with a unique flair, and you’ve got -- you guessed it -- branding. Your brand makes your company stand out from competitors. You want people to see your logo and not just recognize your company, but you want them to feel a particular way. Your logo should immediately invoke feelings of trust, intrigue, and even the impulse to invest in your business in one way or another. Yes, you want customers to invest monetarily, but your branding should also inspire:
Your brand should build trust between your company and your patrons, yourself and your employees, and your business with potential allies, like investors or business partners.
Good branding doesn’t just affect how your customers perceive your company, it also helps to build trust between you, your employees, and your employees’ relationships with one another. When your branding is clear and strong, it reiterates your company’s common goals, values, and culture. Good branding generates a stronger sense of unity, trust, and dedication among your employees.
Branding strategies go hand-in-hand with your marketing efforts. Good branding helps you craft cohesive, consistent, and creative content around your business, products, and services. Clear branding guidelines offer your marketing team or marketing company a foundation upon which to build out a more sophisticated marketing strategy than a business without a strong brand.
With the rise of social media and many consumers’ preference for small, local businesses, word-of-mouth referrals are becoming an increasingly crucial tool for generating leads. When your current customers have a pleasant experience with your company, from ordering a product or service to enjoying your company culture or appreciating your shared values, they are more likely to recommend your company to a friend. While the quality of your products or services is of utmost importance, your patrons are also investing in your brand.
Think about it, when you recommend a particular type of laptop or phone to a friend, what are you really recommending? The user experience of that product, which is largely crafted and maintained by a company’s branding. When consumers pay more for luxury goods, they aren’t necessarily paying for a superior product (as you can see in this study), but they are paying for what the brand represents, how the brand makes them feel, and whether or not they are proud to represent that particular brand.