In the early days of starting your business, you probably focused on survival tasks. Getting customers in the door. Getting orders out the door.
You set up vendor accounts and, somewhere in the chaos, managed to launch a website. Now, you work in a more stable routine that lets you think about improving your business.
It can look like nonsense at first blush, but it’s not. The benefits of branding exist and you should know about them. Let’s jump in and explore 7 of the key benefits.
1. Improves Your Own Sense of Your Business
A brand and a business enjoy a very close relationship, but they aren’t quite interchangeable.
A business consists of products or services, employees, and the support infrastructure. Think buildings and ethernet cables. A business owner knows these elements very well.
A brand is something more abstract. It’s the personality and principles of your business that surrounds those other elements. It’s something you might not have ever seriously considered.
Defining your brand means asking questions about your business. What makes your business cool or unique? What can customers expect from your business?
Is your guiding star a sense of fun? That means your entire brand must say fun to customers.
Exploring those questions helps you know your business and your potential customers better.
2. Customer Loyalty
Ever hear someone call themselves an “Apple person” or a “Nike person.” That’s the power of branding right there.
A good brand is something that people incorporate into their lifestyle. It becomes part of their personal identity. Of course, that requires that the brand stands for something identifiable.
Let’s say that you run a startup that offers a suite of fitness-related software that includes:
- a calorie tracker
- a meal planner
- a weight trend tracker
- a workout scheduling
- a sleep tracker
The software suite itself won’t create a brand. A guiding principle like “driving lifelong health,” however, gets you started.
Now, layer in a friendly community forum, health-related content, and guided workouts for different age groups. All of that supports the guiding principle. You end up with a brand that drives loyalty.
3. Gives You a Competitive Edge
Has your significant other ever sent you to the store to “buy spaghetti” or some other non-specific product category? What happens when you get there?
For a lot of people, it goes something like this. You stand in the aisle and stare at the shelves for a while. Then, with nothing else to go on, you pick up a name brand box of spaghetti.
Maybe you pick that brand because you associate it with quality or taste. Maybe you pick it for no better reason than it’s the brand you know. Whatever the reason, you gave your money to that brand over other alternatives.
An established brand provides your business with that same kind of recognition. Maybe people pick you because they believe in your principles. Maybe they pick you because they recognize your brand.
Either way, you beat out the alternatives.
4. Let’s You Price on Value
No-name brands compete on cost because it’s the only way they can distinguish themselves from other no-name brands. Strong brands price based on value or perceived value.
Look at luxury cars vs. economy cars. Since luxury cars enjoy strong, established brands, they can price on the perceived value of that luxury.
When you establish a strong brand, you can price on the basis that your product or service provides a better value.
5. Simplifies Getting Investment
Not every business seeks outside investment, but it’s common practice among tech startups. While your product or service must meet a need in the market, that’s only part of the equation.
Investors can generally gauge whether a product or service has a real chance in the marketplace. The intangible part they care about is whether your brand can capture mindshare with the public.
Anyone can make a better mousetrap. Not anyone can make people want that better mousetrap. That’s what a solid brand does for you.
If you have that brand, it makes investors a lot more interested in partnering with you.
6. More Referrals
A strong brand doesn’t get you referrals at the beginning. As people buy into your brand, though, they start referring more people your way.
As new people buy into your brand, the process repeats itself.
You can let this brand-driven process of organic referrals happen on its own. If your brand and service really are outstanding, you can help the process along with some basic referral marketing.
7. Adds a Layer of Professionalism
A good brand demonstrates consistency across the board.
Your color scheme and logo stay the same across physical and digital media. Your overall tone doesn’t change whether it’s a blog post or a streaming video.
That level of consistency doesn’t happen by accident. It takes work and money.
It communicates that you take your business seriously and will invest in making it look good. That signals a layer of professionalism you won’t see in fly-by-night companies.
Parting Thoughts on the Benefits of Branding
Branding covers a lot of ground, which can make discussions of it seem arbitrary or nonsensical. Nothing is further from the truth. In point of fact, your business will likely enjoy some growth courtesy of the benefits of branding.
You’ll get a better sense of your own business. You encourage customer loyalty and, as a byproduct, more customer referrals. You communicate a sense of professionalism to everyone who encounters your brand.
You get a competitive edge over competitors without strong brands. You can also engage in value-based pricing since you don’t compete on cost.
A strong brand makes securing investments easier if you want outside investors.
While brand building can take a while, the benefits make it worth the effort.
Eric Ritter specializes in digital advertising and marketing strategy. For more information about our consulting services, contact us today.