Branding is important– not only for big brands with limitless budgets and a global presence– but also for small businesses and start-ups that are seeking customer loyalty and business success. Branding answers three key questions for your target audience (aka prospective customers):
- Who are you?
- What’s your purpose?
- What’s your message?
Branding helps customers ultimately determine if they trust your message which translates to your products or services. For the business, branding allows you to define your business, what you do, what you believe in, and how you hope to be perceived. For your organization, large or small, your brand is more than an eye-catching logo but the face of your company. It’s your character, personality, and values; it’s every facet of your business. In a podcast episode with Exults Internet Marketing CEO, Zach Hoffman, he breaks down ways to build your brand identity, how your brand appeals to your target audience, and how branding is important to consumers. If you’re looking for a branding agency call Exults.
1. Strong Branding Creates A Competitive Advantage
Branding isn’t merely the foundation for gaining prospects, but also so much more. Branding should be designed to help your business stand out, delivering your message clearly and addressing the needs of your potential customers.
4 Goals of Branding:
The goals of branding rely on strengthening the relationship between your business and target audience, which involves the following:
- The target audience sees you as a credible influencer and thought leader
- Generate goodwill
- Establish customer loyalty
- Create genuine consumer connections
- Motivate the target audience to choose your product or service
2. Branding Allows Your Company to Stand Out
Your branding strategy also showcases your intent to keep the promises you make in regard to meeting their needs. It should provide a common thread through all you do – from promises to delivery and beyond. In accomplishing that goal, you are already on the path to standing out in the midst of your competition, whether it be on a local, national, or international level. Even if your business is small, your branding should indicate your ability to compete on a global level, appealing to universal audiences. By successfully building these messages into your branding, you give your target audience a reason to choose you over the competition.
To gain a better understanding, brand giants such as Nike can be analyzed. The clothing company started by using athletes to endorse its products and establish itself as a high-functioning active gear.
By using idolized public figures, such as Michael Jordan, it works to create a correlation in the consumer’s mind between the celebrity and the product. By associating their lifestyle with the brand, Nike employs a pathos appeal to make their products more appealing. The company’s logo, “Just Do It” assists this by acting as a message of empowerment.
3. Branding Your Business Builds Trust and Loyalty
Your branding not only captures the attention of your target audience, but allows potential customers to get to know you and your business. With that knowledge, trust should follow.
3. Ways to Establish Customer Loyalty:
1. Ensure Your Message Aligns With Your Product
You have to proclaim the message that your brand is about quality and service, and ensure your customers can testify to that fact.
2. Create a Positive Customer Experience
An overwhelmingly positive customer experience, online reviews, and social media presence will speak to your brand’s trust and ultimately build loyalty. As you continue to focus on pleasing your customers, they’ll keep coming back for more as they spread the word about your business.
3. Encourage Customer Feedback
Developing a strong relationship with your customers involves elements of trust and transparency. This relies on encouraging an open dialogue to show that their feedback is important and valued. By sending out annual emails, surveys, and encouraging reviews, customers will know that your business is committed to being the best version of itself.
For example, the New York-based company New York Cosmetic Dentistry, strengthens the relationship it has with its target audience by incorporating them into its website design. The dentistry has portfolios dedicated to clients before and after, celebrities it’s worked with, and client reviews. By doing so, the company’s credibility is assisted and paired with integral transparency, while potential clients can browse dozens of photo and textual reviews
4. Branding Harnesses the Power of Emotions
With quality and service comes trust and loyalty, which compete with a powerful emotional attachment to your brand. The transaction touch points of your brand transpire before, during, and after the transaction is completed. If your product is as promised, served its purpose, and came with exceptional customer service, you will build an emotional connection and a trusted relationship with your customers for years to come.
This is branding, the face of your business, a face that engages your audience, pleases your customers at every touch point, and earns their trust. This brand identity is how you spread the word about your business.
Employing the rhetoric of ethos (credibility and ethics) appeal, logos (logic and reason) appeal, and pathos (empathy) appeal are effective ways of persuading your audience to pursue your brand.
For example, a law firm needs to display a history of success in court, certifications, and client testimonies to reach a successful status in the industry. An example of a company that builds a strong ethos is personal injury lawyers Goidel & Siegel LLP which displays a portfolio of its settlement cases, reviews, and results. This provides the target audience with the best information on how the firm is qualified to assist them.
5. Branding Influences Consumer Behavior and Purchasing Intentions
Your brand, when it makes a connection, has the power to influence consumer behavior. Your advertising becomes symbolic of what your brand represents as well as what your target audience hopes to experience when engaging with your brand. Every exposure of your brand – packaging, social media, advertising – to your potential customers generates perceptions about your brand. When your brand meets or exceeds expectations, it can become part of your customer’s life, and is in turn shared with their family, friends, colleagues, and social media followers. Peer influence follows, as research has shown, when family, friends, or acquaintances trust a brand, that trust is extended, which can lead to increased brand recognition and greater sales.
The perception of the quality and benefits of your brand by consumers directly affects your brand image in 2 ways:
- If positive and trusted, your image is stronger, and, in turn, further strengthens the perception of your brand.
- If brand perception is poor, your brand image suffers, resulting in increased perceptions of few benefits and poor quality.
The brand image also affects price perception. Should your brand have a strong brand image, consumers judge your product less by the numbers than they would a brand with a weak brand image.
An example of a company that uses word-of-mouth to leverage its brand is the fast food company Wendy’s. The chain developed a witty media personality, which has resulted in millions of social media engagements through poking fun at competitors and starting trending hashtags. the company’s consistent and creative voice has cemented the fast-food chain’s identity into the consumer’s mind and landed it as one of the top 10 biggest fast-food chains in the US.
How Digital PR Strategies Can Enhance Brand Perception
Branding should, in essence, establish your message in the minds of your target audience. As they gain knowledge of your brand, trust can grow, along with the adoption of your brand. Your brand perception can be cultivated through the use of Digital PR strategies. These include implementing and improving your brands:
If you are ready to explore new strategies to enhance your brand perception, reach out today.