When you think of branding, do you think of a nice logo and a sleek colour palette? If so, you’re not alone! Many people don’t realise just how important their branding is.
Your branding is the language that talks to the broadest range of people – get it right and you’ll stick in the minds of your consumers, get it wrong and you could see your business’ value plummet.
In this, the second installation of our ‘Marketing Fundamentals’ series, we’ll be running through everything to do with branding, and our rebranding process.
In order to fully appreciate the power of branding, we should take the time to break it down into its core components.
What actually is branding?
You’d be forgiven for thinking that good branding is only attainable by the big dogs – Coca Cola, Microsoft, etc., but there’s no reason that your business, big or small, shouldn't have awesome branding, too!
There’s a good reason that many people have the wrong idea about branding – its definition is constantly shifting. Fifteen years ago, your brand may well have been just a pretty logo, but it’s so much more than that now.
Your brand is your audience’s perception of who you are as a business; your public facing voice. Yes, it includes all your visual elements, but it also includes your social presence, customer service, societal responsibility, reputation and advertising methods.
Think of your brand as an idea. As soon as someone sees or hears about your brand, they form an opinion on that idea. That’s human nature. From this point, further exposure to your business builds on that initial opinion, eventually creating a full, (hopefully) positive picture of your business as a whole.
This means that your brand is there (in part) to ensure a continuity in your products/services. Your products might be perceived as high quality, or your service might be seen as the best around, all by association with your brand.
Essentially, you want your branding to be the complete package, forming the intended opinion in the minds of potential customers. Working with human minds is never an exact science. Unfortunately, people have individual thoughts, which makes our job infinitely more difficult.
Making a good brand is simple in concept: create a persona that succinctly conveys who you are, what you stand for and why those on the other side should be interested. However, in practise, it’s never this simple.
Your brand will never convince everyone (if we could do that, we might actually be wizards), but it should be as broadly appealing as possible while still remaining relevant to your sector.
Before and afters
To put branding into context, and to showcase some examples of an effective rebrand, we've pulled together a few before and afters of recent projects we've delivered.
We worked with Utility Team to develop a new brand that reflected their growth, expertise and leadership in the market. The result was a crisp, vibrant new identity. We launched the brand through a new, modern website focused on lead generation.
GJD had seen considerable growth in recent years and as such needed an identity that matched their market position and aspirations. Alongside a new website experience we developed a brand that resonated with their market, stood out from the competition, and showcased their expertise.
Cypherly were launching a new system to help Amazon sellers identify buyer trends, and approached Catalyst to expand their brand. We ensured elements of the software were integrated throughout their site and linked with their brand to build consistency and recognition.
With growth forecasted Skye Wellbeing were looking to scale their business and as such wanted to evolve their brand and website to the next level.
The benefits of good branding
Once you’ve nailed your branding, you’ll be able to infiltrate the minds of those in your sector. Think of a search engine, the first one that comes to mind is Google. That’s a brand that’s done so well that it’s literally become the name of an everyday internet tool.
While it’s unlikely that you’ll manage to quite achieve this (never say never!), good branding will still have a similar effect – building trust.
Generate new business
A good brand will never struggle to generate more business. If your reputation precedes you, it’s going to be significantly easier to convert.
Strong branding will result in a positive impression among consumers, meaning that you’ll need to invest less resources into conversion, as leads will be more inclined to spend with you from the outset.
In addition to this, you’re more likely to build brand loyalty with your customers, as why would they bother going to your competitors if you’re perceived to be the best around?
Increase business value
A strong brand means a strong reputation, and a strong reputation is incredibly valuable to your business’ value.
Investors, or those looking to buy, put a lot of weight into reputation. Consider your brand as an asset, it actively increases the worth of your business by making it an easier investment.
Improve employee morale
Who doesn’t want to work for a renowned business? Employees that work for a well-branded company are more likely to believe in the business and develop a good ethos. This leads to better job satisfaction, improved retention and generally more fulfilled people.
This creates a brand snowball, if you like. You strengthen your brand – employees stand behind the strong brand – happy employees have positive interactions with customers – you strengthen your brand. It’s a cycle that benefits everyone working for a company.
How to make your branding better
Your branding is designed to appeal to your specific target audience, so should always be built using data and logic over what we think looks nice.
It’s an ongoing process; organisations that make some changes, dust off their hands and leave it to stagnate will inevitably fall behind their competitors who are constantly innovating their brand.
Make decisions based on research
As with most things in life, the best decisions are informed by cold, hard data. Market research is critical when making brand improvements (remember our previous blog?).
We help our clients to identify who they want their branding to resonate with, and create a strategy to position themselves correctly.
Once this is done, and your new brand is established, we’ll manage and update it when fresh data becomes available - it’s a never ending process. Remember: other companies will be doing this, so you need to stay ahead of the curve to remain relevant.
Build assets to spread your brand
Materialising your brand is the main way that you’ll allow it to proliferate. Assets should consist of:
Visual branding - logos, website design, colour palettes, imagery, etc., this should be distinct and striking, designed to stick in the minds of those who see it and immediately establish who you are. Your visuals are the first line of communication, so is arguably the most important element of your brand.
Content - blog posts, video content, guides; education is an excellent way to establish yourself as an expert in the sector.
Products - naturally, your products/services should be excellent. This, of course, contributes a great deal to your brand perception.
Ads - how you present yourself in advertisements is often not considered in branding strategies. Overly pushy/aggressive ads can leave a bitter taste in the mouth of those who are exposed to them. Remember: ads are often the first impression, so need to be spot on. Not only this, but the modern consumer is savvy and familiar with advertising techniques, so think outside the box!
In addition to this, there’s the human element of your brand:
Customer support - things going wrong is perfectly natural. How you deal with these situations will have an impact on how your business is perceived.
Human relations - how you treat your people is a really good indication of your values as an organisation.
Public relations - being seen doing good in your community is an incredibly valuable way to improve your brand. Getting involved in charitable efforts, making a statement in a creative way or publishing insightful content will work wonders to improve your brand.
Renovate your brand with Catalyst
Our team at Catalyst work closely with businesses and organisations across various industries to establish, improve and refine their brands, with our core goal being lead generation.
We establish successful brands that bring in more warm leads than ever before. Our designers and writers know exactly what needs to be done to ensure that your brand stands out from the crowd.
Find out how Catalyst can make your brand exceptional - get in touch today.