Why is Branding Important in a Business?
Your company’s branding is an opportunity to concisely demonstrate who you are, what you do, and why people should engage with you. It’s your identity and usually the first interaction a potential customer will have with your business. Your brand forms the building blocks from which you’ll construct your physical and online presence. It’ll inform your goals when starting a digital marketing strategy and help guide your business decisions as you grow.
There’s a tendency to assume branding only applies to large corporations that can reach worldwide audiences with their marketing strategies. The reality is that business branding is just as important to SMEs, particularly across social media, your website, and any other marketing channels you use to influence how your customer base perceives your company.
What is Branding?
Your brand is much more than just your company logo, colour scheme, or visual elements you want people to associate with your business. It’s an identity that encompasses your company values, summarises what customers can expect from interacting with you, and helps you stand out in an increasingly competitive digital world.
Successful brand identity will include most of the following elements, no matter how subtle, and they should all work together to define who you are and what you’re for.
Your brand positioning determines where you sit in the market compared to your competitors. It’s the niche your company occupies and will be used to inform all other branding decisions, and not just the visual ones. Correctly positioning your company will help inform your SEO agency when optimising your website to attract the customers you want.
One of the most important aspects of branding is your logo, a simple, easily identifiable image encapsulating your brand identity.
3. Colour Palette
Colours have meaning and personality. The colour palette you pick for your branding will define your brand in the consumer’s eyes, helping them understand whether you’re playful or serious, youthful or mature, or even expensive or affordable.
The shapes you use for visual assets across your branding, website and social media further help guide people’s perceptions of your business. For example, soft, rounded organic shapes feel friendly and unintimidating, whereas people often perceive angular shapes as powerful and authoritative.
5. Tone of Voice
Your tone of voice is your unique personality, a set of guidelines you’ll use across all written content to ensure your branding remains consistent and that you’re speaking to your customers in a way that agrees with them. It includes everything from sentence and paragraph length to active and passive language and how casual or formal you want your company to sound. Your content marketing agency can help you develop your tone of voice if you don’t already have one.
Imagery includes any visuals you use that aren’t your logo: photos, website graphics, the pictures in your newsletters, the images used by your PPC management agency for your Google and Bing adverts. Whether you choose stock or custom photos, it all contributes to your overall brand identity.
Why is Branding Important in Business?
Your branding forms the basis from which all your marketing efforts will grow. If you work with a digital marketing agency, like SQ Digital, they will use your brand identity to make sure they’re targeting the right people for your business with written and visual content that your audience wants to see. But what is the purpose of being so thorough when it comes to branding?
1. Improving Recognition
Good branding sticks in people’s minds. Great branding sticks in people’s minds with the desired impression you want them to have of your company. By staying consistent with your branding across all visible online platforms and in any physical location, people will begin to familiarise themselves with your company.
2. Building Trust
Customers are far more likely to interact with a company and use their services or buy their products if the company has consistent, professional branding. A well-curated brand shows people you’re serious about what you do, even if your brand identity is playful and casual.
It’s much easier to convince people to part with their hard-earned money if they perceive your company as legitimate and trustworthy. Branding is the best way to do this – particularly if they’ve discovered you via social media. There are many benefits to social media for small businesses. It’s a fantastic way to garner attention, generate interest, and create an open dialogue with real potential customers. Still, if your visual and written branding across all your platforms is not aligned, people are less likely to see you as legitimate or experts in your field. Inconsistent branding could be anything from missing logos or cover photos, different colour schemes or even variations in your company name across platforms.
3. Setting Yourself Apart from the Competition
We talked about positioning and finding your company’s niche, and your branding is how you’ll show that to your customer base. It’s all very well you knowing that you’re cheaper than your competitors, that your products are more eco-friendly or that you offer something the competition doesn’t. But none of that matters if your customers don’t know. You can use your branding to convince people to choose you over others quickly and clearly explain what sets you apart.
4. Creating an Emotional Connection
Brand loyalty is key to customer retention and goes a long way to ensure people pick your product or service over a competitor. You want people to be loyal to your brand and its values, not just your products. The chances are, there’s someone else offering similar products or services to yours, so use your branding to start building an emotional attachment between your customers and your company.
Brand Alignment Across All Digital Marketing Channels
So you’ve decided on your brand identity, now you need to make sure that branding is cohesive across all your online channels. This includes all social media platforms, your website, PPC Google and Bing adverts, newsletters, and any other online space your company is visible.
1. Create Brand Guidelines
Once you’ve decided on all the elements that make up your brand, create a set of brand guidelines that you and your employees can reference whenever they’re producing content for the business. Brand Guidelines would usually include a visual style guide to ensure visual elements are consistent, a tone of voice document and information on how you want your target audience to see your company.
2. Focus on Your Internal Branding First
If you’re going to make sure branding remains consistent and effective across all aspects of your business, you first need to get your team on board. To do so, ensure all internal documents, visuals, messages, and training align with your brand guidelines, so your employees see and hear the same message as your potential customers.
3. Get Your Website, Email Marketing and Social Media Aligned
Once everyone in the company is on board with your brand, it’s time to roll out the guidelines across your marketing platforms.
Get your web design agency to refresh your existing website, or use the brand’s guidelines to build one from scratch if you’re just getting started. Your website is your core online presence and the place all your marketing channels are feeding into, so it needs to be a true reflection of your brand. Use your tone of voice to guide any written content on the site and your defined target audience to inform any SEO optimisation.
If you regularly send email marketing campaigns, create templates that align with your brand guidelines to make sure recipients recognise your company when that email lands in their inbox.
Get your in-house or social media agency to optimise all your social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest and TikTok. Of course, each platform has its own image dimensions, word count limits and requirements, but keeping branding consistent across all platforms is the best way to build recognition and trust.
4. Keep Up the Consistency
Once you’ve successfully implemented your brand across all your online marketing platforms, the most important thing to do is keep it up and don’t drop the ball on your branding. Any blogs, social media posts, newsletters, paid ads, and even customer enquiry responses should align with your brand guidelines. In our article on top marketing tips for SMEs, we talk about why you shouldn’t neglect your digital marketing, and your branding is a big part of this.
We understand how daunting branding can be for SMEs. Even if you have the best intentions and a clear vision of your brand identity, you may not have the time or in-house resources to effectively implement all this into your digital marketing. If this sounds familiar, it may be time to enlist some help.
SQ Digital is a digital marketing agency with over 20 years of experience in maintaining brand identity across all platforms as part of a digital marketing strategy. If you’d like to know more about how we can help your SME, don’t hesitate to contact us today.