Even in the early stages of starting a business, building a brand should not be overlooked. If forgotten, you will find that you may have difficulty engaging with customers and fostering loyalty later on. A brand is not just a logo; each part serves as a chapter to your story, and you will want to convey that message in a concise and professional manner.
Throughout my career, I have been fortunate enough to spend much of my time mastering branding in a variety of fields. From musicians to fashion labels to athletes, each has their own identity and purpose. But across industries, all of these professionals have one thing in common: They want their brands to be extensions of their goals and visions.
Even some of the biggest companies often have difficulty in creating brand value and identity. We see this every day with certain projects crumbling because they did not reach a level of consumer acceptance. Poor branding can lead to a variety of problems, from distrust and confusion in the marketplace, to looking outdated or unprofessional.
You want to make sure that before it is time to decide on your brand direction, you spend ample time understanding its importance and how to differentiate yourself. Your brand should be consistent with your company vision, authentic, relatable to your potential audience, and recognizable. Below are a few reasons why building a memorable brand is of vital importance:
Your brand name rings a bell. Business owners should carefully consider the name of their company. The name you choose is just as important as naming your own child. It is going to define your company for years to come. When someone hears it, they will think of the brand story -- and that is a key factor in customer loyalty.
It is important to distinguish yourself so make sure your name, logo and even color choices are well thought out. If not, you are looking at more work later down the road to create a cohesive brand. Do your research early on so damage control is unnecessary.
One method I've used is to always make sure that your brand name can explain your business concisely, without being overly complicated. Does your brand evoke an emotion? Do your company's services relate to any unique metaphors or synonyms? If so, you are on the right track on finding a memorable brand name.
Your brand builds customer loyalty. Your customer is the main reason you need a brand story. It is a way for them to identify with you and understand who you are in the market. Your most loyal customers are likely to tell their family and friends about your brand, and in our age of Yelp and Amazon reviews, the stronger your brand, the more likely people will be to go out of their way to write a positive review of your business.
But getting that word-of-mouth loyalty can be tricky. Don't be afraid to ask for those reviews; we often encourage feedback on social media and Yelp by simply asking for them through our promotional materials or in direct conversation with our customers. While that can be difficult, as you're giving customers a platform to say exactly how they feel, more often that not, they love how transparent we are. It's an easy way to identify those who care, and helps you find ways to give them an even better experience.
Your brand is a source of inspiration. Creating a strong brand is vital to inspire not only yourself through any rough patches, but your employees as well. It is your reason for being and creates clarity and focus for everyone involved. These days, the consumer is more conscious than ever before; they take pride in their purchases and want to know that their companies have other interests beyond profits.
Inspiring your customers can be a challenging, but rewarding, aspect of brand building. Companies can do this by reinvesting back into your local community, donating to a charitable organization, or even finding unique ways keep employee satisfaction high.
Your brand sets you apart. Your brand story can be a competitive advantage: The story you create will differentiate you from your competitors, as well as provide unique opportunities to showcase your brand in a new light.
A good way to establish that competitive edge is to think about how and why you got started. It is your own origin story that provides a great starting point on why your brand stands out. The best part is that your customers can feel the authenticity of it, too: You will find that your most loyal early adopters are not only your first customers, but they will also be the ones to spread your purpose.
Remember, building a brand should be a fun and exciting experience. It allows you to create a voice for your business, as well as a stake in the ground for something you believe in. It's one rare aspect of your business that you can truly put your heart into and develop something that will leave a legacy in its own right.