A Strong Brand Gives Your Business Credibility
I was speaking with a potential new client a few weeks ago who was getting ready to launch a new online product offering. This individual had a great idea, that would certainly be well received in the market place. Yet somehow didn't understand the value of making the investment in creating a strong brand, that would resonate with consumers. He believed that consumers would be more interested in the product than in the branding.
Here's why this thinking is detrimental to a business's success (especially a new business). Your brand is your promise to your customer. Perceptions are everything. Your customers will base their decision on whether or not to do business with you based on the perceived value that you can provide.
So, what do you need to do to launch a successful brand and build credibility with consumers? Start with this list:
1. Take Your Time. Don't rush. Slow down and brainstorm first. Write down your ideas and share them with a few people who you trust. Refine them based on feedback, do your research, trust your gut and then make a commitment.
2. Invest in Logo Design. Hire a professional to design a logo that encapsulates the personality of your brand, summarizes your brand voice, showcases your attributes and has a memorable look and feel to it. Think about Nike, everyone knows exactly what the swoosh stands for without even having to see the words "Nike." It is so simple, elegant, and authentic to what Nike stand for. The association has become automatic in the minds of consumers.
3. Create Brand Standards. For all of your marketing materials. The last thing you want is for your logo to look different at every turn. It can't be seen as one way on your business card and another on your website. This will destroy your credibility and liquidate your brand equity. Think about everyone in your organization who uses your logo and branding - how is it represented on email signatures? How about on signage and in corporate communication materials or on social media? There are a lot of places your branding can show up, and in order to build trust you need to make sure it looks accurate everywhere.
4. Be Consistent. Again, you want to instill confidence, professionalism, and stability to all of your stakeholders. Take the time to create a simple logo and tag line that you'll be proud to use on everything for a period of 3-5yrs or longer. Appoint a brand gatekeeper in your organization who will ensure the branding is consistent across the board. Make it a once a week or once a month "to-do" item, and audit it regularly.
5. Build A Community. Studies have shown that a strong brand attracts better employees, increases word-of-mouth referrals, and will help you gain brand advocates. When you know exactly what your brand stands for - your customers, employees and stakeholders will too. And here's a bonus - studies have shown that a strong brand allows you to charge more! (source Stratabeat, 12/14).
A strong brand takes time and investment to build, but the effort is absolutely worth it. Do it right initially and you'll start building brand equity. Your customers will take notice and feel confident in doing business with you, allowing you to charge a premium. A small investment up front will return huge payoffs in the long run.