When thinking of the term “branding”, you may think of your logo, your website, or your business card. But branding is more than just pretty designs – it’s about how your audience feels when they interact with your business. A website’s performance and design is nothing without a clear brand identity and way for your customers to differentiate you from your competitors.
So, how can you leverage your business branding to position yourself as an expert and trusted source to your audience?
What’s the difference between a brand and a logo?
While it’s easy to get the two misconstrued, a brand and a logo are two very different things, and creating a logo is just one small piece of the branding puzzle. A logo is an image or visual used to help consumers recognise a business. However, a brand is the foundation of a company – its personality. A brand will depict who the company is, what they represent, and how they want to be perceived by their audience (1). Take Nike as an example: their logo is the all-too-familiar tick, but their brand is built through their messaging, wording, key phrases, colours, and they way they use these elements to create an emotional response in their audience: the feeling of inspiration, work ethic, and drive. Without their brand behind it, their logo is just a tick, but put it all together and it creates something special, and something its customers are proud to wear.
Branding helps you to connect with your audience
Not only does a brand give people a sense of trust and understanding of your businesses values and mission, it also gives them a sense of belonging. A good brand generates customers, but a great brand generates advocates (3). When your customers know who you are, and understand you, they build trust. Research suggests that 50% of consumers become more loyal to a brand during their first purchase, so it’s important to create a positive experience for your customer. By becoming real and personable with your audience through your brand’s personality, you can cement long lasting relationships with your customers (5).
Your brand is what makes your website memorable
Your website is a powerful tool to convert someone from a warm lead to a passionate buyer, so it’s important to use your website to create a long lasting impression on your consumers. Without clear branding on your website, your audience simply won’t understand the messages behind your business, or will struggle to refer you to their friends because they won’t remember you (1). There’s more to website branding and design than a logo and colours – injecting your brand’s personality into your website will help to create a connection with your audience (2). It’s also important to remain consistent in your branding throughout your website through language, fonts, layout, colours, and other design elements. What story does it tell?
Performance is a big part of the customer’s experience as well. A website that is slow to load, or crowded with unnecessary plugins, videos or features, will not do any favours for your brand identity. A study completed by Google found that 53% of website visits are abandoned if a mobile site takes longer than three seconds to load (6).
Your brand exists beyond your website
If you want to create a strong, positive brand identity for your business, it’s important to look beyond your website, and make sure your brand is working across every facet of your business. Everything from your social media marketing, to your logo, to the way you write your emails, and your tone on your voicemail will paint a picture of your brand, in either a positive or negative light (1). You could have a beautiful website, but a careless email or Facebook post written without intent will leave your customers wondering if they should value what you have to say after all. Every element of your brand will capture the essence of your business, and what you have to offer, and it should accomplish the following objectives: to reaffirm your credibility, build an emotional connection, generate goodwill and loyalty, and motivate your audience to buy from you (1).
Building brand identity and awareness
When thinking about the identity and brand of your business, it’s important to think about the story you want to tell, and what you want your audience to think and feel when they interact with you. While a sharp looking business card or some catchy wording is great, there is a lot more effort and thought which needs to go into your overall brand (1).
Do you want to be portrayed as playful? Professional? Knowledgeable? Your font, wording and way in which you share information will be different depending on the unique personality of your brand. How do you want your audience to feel? Choose specific key wording, colours and imagery that will evoke this emotional response.
Brand identity and awareness is not built overnight, or from one marketing campaign. It comes from consistent efforts in sharing your core values, mission and story behind your business. Taking a holistic approach to your marketing strategies will help to solidify your brand to your audience. This comes from partaking in a range of digital marketing efforts, such as blogging or podcasting, sponsoring events where your audience are likely to be, and creating targeted ads on Google or social media. Research has also shown that over 50% of brand reputation comes from their sociability online (5).
Ultimately, brands aren’t just about a nice-looking logo, or colours that work well together. Branding is a strategic, ongoing process that defines your relationship with your customers.
- Arpit Sinha, May 14, 2018, “6 reasons branding is even more important than before”, Entrepreneur, https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/313369
- July 23, 2018, “6 tips to improve your website branding”, WebAlive, https://www.webalive.com.au/improve-website-branding/
- Kathryn Wheeler, December 16, 2019, “How to develop a unique (& memorable) brand identity in 2020, Hubspot, https://blog.hubspot.com/agency/develop-brand-identity
- Krista Bradshaw, “Logo vs. Brand – Do you know the difference?”, Brandfolder, https://brandfolder.com/blog/logo-vs-brand-know-difference
- Allie Decker, Updated May 8, 2020, “The ultimate guide to brand awareness”, Hubspot, https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/brand-awareness
Betsy McLeod, November 26, 2019, “75+ Small Business Statistics to Help Your Digital Marketing Strategy”, Blue Corona, https://www.bluecorona.com/blog/29-small-business-digital-marketing-statistics/