What is branding?
Branding is the creating a top-of-the-mind positive impression by putting together drawings to form a logo, promises, mission statement, graphic designs, and consistent theme, consistently communicated to the public and presented to a target audience as a product or service.
What is branding in marketing?
In marketing, branding a business, product, or service in the public space using perception elements like color theme, graphic images, marketing communication, and promises built into products and services.
Why is branding important for your business?
Your business is a going concern. That means it has its own life, image, character, and responsibilities to make and keep promises to customers. It can sue and vice versa for any offense at the law court.
It is, therefore, necessary that the business makes it easy to be identified by the public.
Branding is necessary for your business for the following reasons:
- To make it easily noticed by the public when it sends out any message.
- The business’s products and services are identified when they carry the marks or logo of the business.
- The customers will recall the name and the marks of the products or services they found effective in solving their challenges.
- It creates a high barrier of entry for new entrants into the same business, thereby reducing competition.
- It connotes proprietary rights on the owner of the brand.
What are the steps of branding?
When forming a business, usually, the business name comes to mind as soon as the idea of starting a business is born. Naming the company is the beginning of branding.
However, the steps of branding usually are:
- Research the public for:
- Current issues that require solutions.
- The current products and services are already in use.
- Gaps there to fill.
- Choose your business target market.
- Research your competitors.
- Choose your target audience and locate them.
- Analyze your target audience.
- Create an Avatar for your brand.
- Create the logo for your brand.
- Choose a color theme.
- Choose a slogan for the brand.
- Apply your branding across your business.
The scale of activity involved in this process is directly related to the size of the business. Smaller businesses will do similar exercises at their respective scale and achieve branding.
The importance of branding in business development is not reduced by scale but rather increases as the business grows.
What are the benefits of branding?
Branding is beneficial in that it creates:
- Customer recognition for the brand – can be seen in its logo and color
- Competitive advantage – it can compete with other brands in the market for market share, customer loyalty, and market dominance.
- Independence of the brand – the brand can stand alone and do things independent of the owner of the business. It can open a bank account in its name, do events, give back to loyal clients, create and maintain community, have fans, award contracts, etc.
- It creates higher visibility in the market and public.
- Connote authenticity and credibility.
- It improves business equity and value.
- It promotes consistency.
- It brings cohesion.
- Make it easier to communicate with the target market.
Branding for startup
As the name goes, startups are businesses that are just starting. Such businesses should prioritize branding immediately after they roll out.
Startups must ascertain what their purpose is and start applying that to their brand proposition. All branding steps as listed above should apply from their early stage.
When this is done, growing the brand is easier and building brand equity is faster. Branding is important to get investors and new shareholders for the startup.
Branding well done reduces the effort of the startup business in convincing the public to put their money and watch it grow with them. For example, a new bank will need the branding to be visible and perceived as a banking business that can be trusted with money deposits.
Branding for Small Businesses
Small businesses are those businesses that may have gone into business just after naming the business but may not have thought of branding in the first instance. They already have customers and are getting patronage and revenue. In the midst of this, they may have lost the importance of branding and consequently, remain operational in their small size.
This may not be the best for the business and economic and environmental eventualities may hit the business and may it inoperative due to lack of scale.
Branding will help them be visible to their current and potential customer for patronage and identity in the marketplace. Consistent branding across the online and offline outlets of your business will make the public familiar with the business and its products and services.
This will improve their sales turnaround time and revenue growth which will increase the rate of growth of the businesses.
Therefore, a small business that plans to grow, I suggest, should exploit the opportunities of branding, in their businesses.
Branding for food businesses
Branding for food is said to be trickier than for other sectors. Though food branding also creates product differentiation in the food market, other factors such as quality of food, the hygienic application of standards, compliance certifications, and the healthiness and taste of the food create a first and enduring impression.
Food business branding takes branding seriously from the sourcing and procurement of ingredients, the manufacturing process, and the packaging of the food. That is how you can deliver a message with your well-packaged brand without expensive advertisements.
Some examples of food brands focused on health-conscious food are VeGa, Orgain, KOS, etc. They are brands for protein sources for vegetarians and the keto diets. There are also food brands for sportsmen and women, brands like Purely Inspired, Nutricost, etc.
Branding for Hotels
The hotel business is a localized business. Branding opportunities that make the hotel building facility visible from the roads approaching it will be used. Branding infrastructure used for building locations are:
- Roof Top Signage
- Street Pylon
- Facial Canopy Signage
- Room Number Signage
- Directional Signage
- Utility Signage
The process of branding equally applies. Research of the business name, logo creation, design of messages, etc. will be done before the fabrication of signage for respective branding opportunities for the hotel facility. Local government permits are required for outdoor signage. These branding infrastructures are deployed as appropriate.
Read more about hotel branding in this post
Branding for fashion designers
A fashion designer that plans to grow big will need to have a strong brand concept and compelling customer profiles. Create an experience with creative innovation that stands your customers out when wearing your made outfit. This is necessary for success in this industry, else you can’t market to your target audience.
The listed essentials of the branding process listed above also apply here. This is also a localized business and will need outdoor building branding depending on the business’s size.
Branding for Real Estate Agents
This business has more speculators than brokers. Whichever way, building a strong brand in this sector will result in trust, visibility, and consistent patronage.
Real estate is highly priced and the lead generation for the business is expensive so the branding will lower the rate of ROI by creating visibility across on and off channels of lead generation.
The process is similar to that described above but will require tweaking in the area of personal branding which the broker needs.
An estate agent should research to know the complete value chain in the real estate business. The value chain should include assisting clients with home improvement and decor. A new homeowner will require a range of home improvement items and furniture. They may need information on getting affordable furniture, bed, beddings, window blinds, Airconditioners, and kitchen equipment.
For online sources, the amazon store is a good source for most of these items. They always have good deals and I have provided some above.
Read about customer journey mapping to understand another approach to branding
Branding for Artists
Artists are personal brands. Creating an enduring personal brand requires a strength, weakness, opportunity, and threat (SWOT) analysis for a direction on further steps to take for success. This will inform you of your capability and competence in your industry. It then tells you how you should reposition and then communicate to your target audience.
This list of steps to take toward building a successful brand for your business. Though it is not an exhaustive list, if effectively deployed will grow your brand. The steps are:
- Do a ‘SWOT’ analysis of your brand – to understand the current competencies of the brand.
- What is your purpose as a brand? – do your research and write it down.
- What do you want to achieve with your brand? – know it and write it down.
- Define who your customer is, and what is their problems or pain point. – Assemble solutions for them. Make your products and services.
- Create your brand logo and color theme.
- What is your brand story?
- Create your brand slogan
- Know your target audience
- Apply your branding to all your outlets and channels of communication, online and offline.
- Engage your target audience with your brand messaging.
These are promotional activities and materials like email marketing, social media messaging, blogging, vlogging, reviews, YouTube videos, websites, seminars and conferences, brochures, calendars, diaries, and other merchandising items put together and having branding on them.
The branding on them creates Identity and equity, communication a promise to deliver.
Brand communication is essential for lead generation and business development and growth.