Branding is the process of creating a brand identity and positioning a brand in the minds of consumers
Why is branding important?
That’s precisely what we’re here to explore.
In this article, we’ll explain the concept of branding, present a step-by-step guide for branding your business, and provide a few famous examples of successful branding.
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What Is Branding?
Branding is the process of creating a brand identity and positioning a brand and its products in the mind of consumers.
Branding includes visual elements such as a logo, design, typography and color palette, but also a whole host of other elements, including a mission statement, unique selling proposition, promise, tone of voice and language.
If you read Cambridge Dictionary’s definition of branding, you’ll see that it refers to the concept of branding as a company’s visual identity, logo and design. However, the term has evolved over time to include the way a brand is positioned in consumers’ minds.
Why is Branding Important?
What exactly does branding do for a business?
Branding is important because it:
Increases Brand Recognition
One of the major benefits of branding is that it helps brands get recognized among consumers. When consumers memorize and become familiar with your brand, they are more likely to purchase your products over those offered by a brand name they’re not familiar with.
Helps Build Trust
Another value of branding is that it allows you to show potential customers that you are trustworthy, honest and authentic. Through effective branding which involves fostering connections, educating your customers and engaging with your community across platforms, you will build trust with your audience.
As a result, customers who trust a brand are more likely to recommend it to their friends.
Branding plays a big role in the recruitment process, too. When potential employees notice a company that has a strong brand and positive reputation, they are more likely to be interested in joining that team, to become a part of something great.
If you have established a unique brand persona and respected values, you will find it easier to attract potential employees who share those values.
Increases Customer Loyalty
A strong brand leads to increasing loyalty among customers. When a brand creates personalized experiences for their customers, shows their human side and forms an emotional connection with them, customers can relate to the brand more.
Loyal customers become repeat customers.
How To Brand Your Business: A Step-by-Step Guide
The branding process consists of a set of elements, each playing an important role that impacts the end result. Combined, these elements form consumers’ perception of your brand.
Here is a step-by-step process for branding your business:
1. Analyze Your Target Audience
Before you take any other steps toward creating a brand, you need to research and analyze your target audience.
Who are your ideal customers?
To develop messaging and target the right customers, you need to understand who your audience is, what they like, what their pain points are and how to solve them.
Once you know who your target audiences are, group them based on their interests, age and shared characteristics. This is called audience segmentation.
When you’ve grouped your audience, develop buyer personas to represent each target group. A buyer persona is a fictional but detailed description of a customer who represents a particular group of consumers you’re targeting.
Developing buyer personas will help you improve your targeting and tailor your messaging and marketing efforts to each group.
2. Research Your Competitors
Researching your competitors and industry leaders is an essential step in branding because it allows you to see who you’re up against.
Learning about your competitors, their branding strategies and their offering will help you determine what you need to focus on in your branding efforts and how to set your brand apart from other businesses in your industry.
3. Develop a Brand Identity
Now that you know who your target audiences are, you are ready to start shaping your brand identity and creating a brand book. A brand book outlines every aspect of your brand identity, including your brand name, your story, logo, and other elements, and will serve as a guide for representing your brand.
This means defining your visual persona including logo, color palettes, typography and imagery, as well as determining your core values, mission and tone of voice.
4. Craft Messaging
The next step is to craft the messaging to define how your brand will communicate its unique value proposition. Your brand’s value proposition explains to consumers what benefits your product or service provides and the value they will get from it.
You will also need a tagline or a slogan which is a short, catchy and memorable statement that sums up your brand’s essence. Think of Nike’s “Just do it” tagline, which is so simple but catchy that the brand has been using it for over twenty years. If you need help coming up with a tagline, Shopify has a free slogan maker you can use.
Craft your main benefits or selling points that make your brand stand out and ensure they reflect your brand voice. You will use these points for content creation, including blogs and social media.
5. Build an Online Presence
Now you need to start establishing an online presence. This includes building an optimized, user-friendly website and being active on social media.
Once you create a website, start a blog to educate your audience. Write blog posts related to your industry and the product/service you offer that provide value to your audience.
For many people, your blog will be the first interaction they have with your brand. If you write quality content optimized for search engines, your audience will discover it when searching for related information on Google. This is why it’s important to provide informative, meaningful content to attract and engage them.
Social media also plays an important role in boosting brand awareness. In fact, a study conducted by the Sprout Social Index revealed that a staggering 89% of consumers tend to shop from brands they follow on social media.
To discover where your target audience spends time and which social media platforms you can use to reach them, analyze your audiences’ demographics. For example, TikTok is popular among younger audiences such as the Gen Z population, while the biggest group of Facebook users are between 25-34 years old.
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6. Maintain Consistency
Consistency is key to effective branding. This means ensuring that your brand’s representation is cohesive across all channels and touch points.
To maintain consistency in branding you need a brand book with brand guidelines, which we talked about earlier.
Use your brand book to make sure your brand is represented consistently, from your website to your social media pages, marketing materials and beyond. This not only includes visual elements, such as your logo, typography and color palette, it also includes consistency in your messaging, brand promise and values.
Top 3 Examples Of Powerful Branding
We’ve talked about the key steps of branding but what does successful branding look like in practice?
We’re about to show you! Here are three famous examples of successful branding:
When we think of successful branding, Apple is one of the brands that immediately come to mind. The tech company’s brand positioning was so successful that people now identify themselves as an Apple or Android person or a Mac vs. PC person.
Apple’s brand mission from day one was to bring the best user experience through their innovative products and services. And it stays true to that mission today.
Apple products are known for their intuitive, user-friendly interface. Unlike other consumer electronics brands, Apple focuses on a single mobile phone model – the iPhone. And the supplies are always limited when a new product comes out. This creates a sense of urgency and pushes consumers to act quickly and buy the product.
Apple’s logo, the bitten apple, is recognized worldwide and in 2022, Apple is deemed the most valuable brand in the world at $355 billion.
The name Starbucks has become almost synonymous with drinking coffee and that is why this is one of the top examples of successful branding.
This global brand reimagined the coffee drinking experience and created a third place between home and work where people can go to grab their favorite drink and relax. What’s more, people go to Starbucks not for the coffee but for the experience the brand provides.
The idea of writing down people’s names on cups of coffee when serving was brilliant and became a recognizable part of the brand’s culture.
If you didn’t see a Coca Cola Christmas commercial on TV, has the holiday even started?
The giant soft drink brand Coca Cola has built its brand identity around togetherness, sharing, happiness and the holiday spirit.
But it wasn’t a success story from the beginning. The first glass of the refreshing drink was sold in 1886 but it’s the marketing and branding efforts from the 1970s onward that created the Coca Cola that we know today.
Their taglines evolved over the long history ranging from “Always Coca Cola” and “Taste the Feeling” to “Together Tastes Better”, emphasizing the experience, not the product itself.
The product itself hasn’t changed in 130 years, which is why Coca Cola focused on branding and evoking a feeling associated with opening a bottle of a cold, refreshing drink on a hot day or over lunch with friends and family.
Coca Cola doesn’t just sell a soda drink, it sells happiness in a bottle, a feeling consumers can share with their loved ones.
The brand also managed to personalize the consumer experience with its global Share a Coke campaign, where popular local names in over 50 countries across the world were printed on the label instead of “Coca Cola.”
The Importance Of Branding: Key Takeaways
Branding, or the process of creating a brand persona and positioning a brand in the minds of consumers, can do wonders for your business if done right, as seen from the examples above.
- Increases brand recognition
- Helps build trust
- Attracts talent
- Increases customer loyalty
To successfully brand your business, you need to follow the established step-by-step process, which includes:
- Analyzing your target audience
- Researching your competitors
- Developing a brand identity
- Crafting messaging
- Building an online presence
- Maintaining consistency
Branding success does not come overnight, but if you build a great brand story and remain consistent in brand representation, you can reap long-term benefits.
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