Branding and how it affects small businesses

Why Is Branding Important?

The importance of branding in your marketing strategy can’t be overstated — even for small businesses. Your brand influences every aspect of your customers’ perceptions of your company. Branding builds trust, recognition, loyalty and reputation.

According to Accenture, 66% of consumers say that a brand’s culture and transparency attract them to buy from a certain brand, and 62% want companies to stand up for the issues they are passionate about. This illustrates the impact of strong branding. Your brand has the potential to say so much about your company: its products or services, its customer relations, its employee relations, the promises it makes, the promises it keeps, its values, and even its societal goals.

Consider Nike, a brand that leverages its strong brand identity across all its marketing strategies. Nike’s brand recognition extends beyond the iconic red swoosh of its logo. Even its short and powerful slogan “Just do it” is immediately identifiable to the majority of consumers.

Brand Marketing: What Is the Relationship Between Brand & Marketing?

What is the difference between branding and marketing? It’s not uncommon to see people and companies using the two terms interchangeably, but they are actually two very distinct concepts.

Branding is about who your company is, its brand personality, its voice, its purpose. As the driving force behind customer loyalty and recognition, branding speaks to the long term. Marketing, on the other hand, is about achieving more tactical goals through more short-term marketing objectives such as sales and revenue growth, new customer acquisition and expanded market dominance.

But despite the differences, a successful brand marketing strategy understands the interplay between the two concepts. Branding serves as a guide for your marketing plan, while marketing promotes your business, products and services by building and leveraging the power of your brand.

Developing a Brand Identity

What Is a Brand Identity?

Your brand identity is about more than the visual elements associated with your brand. A brand identity consists of what your company says, what your values are, and how you communicate those values. Coca-Cola is an example of a company with a strong brand identity: customers instantly recognize the product when they encounter various elements of the Coca-Cola brand, including the red and white Coca-Cola logo, the distinctive shape of the iconic Coca-Cola glass bottle, and the slew of well-known taglines the brand has embraced through the years (such as 1979’s “Have a Coke and a Smile” and 2016’s “Taste the Feeling”).

Why Is Brand Identity Important?

Your brand identity is a collection of all of the elements your company has created to portray your brand to customers. Because a strong brand identity has a powerful impact on your marketing messages, your visual identity, and the way you interact with your customers, your brand identity plays an essential role in shaping the overall perceptions of both your existing and potential customers.

To understand the impact of a strong brand identity, consider Apple. Apple’s brand message focuses on simplicity and the user experience, and this message is reflected consistently through all of its marketing and branding, from its simple but distinctive logo to the elegance of its retail shopping experience and user-friendly product interfaces.