Updated: Apr 23, 2019
First of all, what IS branding?
There is still an idea going around that branding a business is as simple as choosing a color scheme and designing a logo. The trouble is, a logo and recognizable colors are not enough to keep small businesses front and center in the consumer mind; in fact, it’s not even enough for major corporations.
Brand is a vision and a promise that consumers should understand from the first glance. Inside the showroom, everyone from the owner to the manager to the sales staff have to agree on the vision and deliver on the promise.
Consistency is key. Otherwise the message gets confused and customers lose confidence in the company. Millennials are especially sensitive to brand consistency and will not hesitate to find another place to spend their money if they feel a brand has gone off-message.
Note: 62% of millennials say that online content inspires brand loyalty.
A brand is the personality of a company. Once that personality is defined, it must become a part of every aspect of a company: logo, website, store design, lighting, sales practices, customer service techniques, merchandising, promotional materials…you name it.
The goal of a brand is to create a lasting connection between a consumer and a company. This is achieved through shared values, meaningful interactions, and compelling storytelling (which comes down to being honest and open).
Why is branding important?
The bottom line? Proper branding is good for, well, your bottom line. Ultimately, branding strategies and the marketing tactics that go along with them aim to increase profits. Everyone from the local artisan to the multi-billion-dollar corporation needs good branding to succeed.
For brick and mortar stores, branding is increasingly important. As if there wasn’t enough competition from online retail, now even the e-comm giants are opening physical stores! The message: people need a break from technology. There is no substitute for an in-person experience, no matter what the industry.
Lifestyle graphics, like the one seen on the left, send a strong brand message.
If you’re not convinced of the importance of good branding, consider this: a recent survey in the U.S. found that respondents only trusted 22 percent of brands, and overall, 74 percent of brands could disappear and consumers wouldn’t notice. That doesn’t mean you should forget the whole idea- it means a local business has an opportunity to create a real connection.