There are few things more critical to the life of your business than your target audience’s perception of it. And that perception is the result of branding. Branding is all about the way people identify your company, how they feel about it and what distinguishes it from competitors in their minds. Great branding is essential for countless reasons, but here are what I consider to be the top five:
#1: Branding equals trust.
Successful branding equals trust, that is. The opposite is true if branding appears disorganized, confusing or inauthentic. When your customers (or potential customers) see a clearly defined, authentic company, they’re more willing to take a chance on you. And when you continue to deliver and “be yourself” in every aspect of your marketing, they’ll keep coming back for more.
#2: Branding focuses advertising efforts.
Once you identify your target audience and what you want to say to them, it’s a lot easier—and more cost effective—to plan your marketing strategies. Advertising budgets tend to be big-ticket items, so it’s important to spend those dollars wisely. Great branding can help you concentrate your time and money on attracting the right audience, rather than trying to reach people who are unlikely to become customers.
#3: Branding attracts the talent you need.
Even if you’re a one-person operation right now, you’re probably planning for growth. And that growth can’t happen without the right people at your side. The best employees are as focused on the brand as they are on the paycheck. When top talent believes in a company, they’ll work harder, stay longer and elevate your business in ways that employees just collecting a paycheck never will.
#4: Branding allows your company to evolve.
Times change, and companies need to change, too, if they want to survive. Strong brands have the ability to evolve and even branch out into new, (hopefully) lucrative directions—all while retaining customers and attracting new ones. When customers associate you with “trusted provider of Product A,” they’ll probably queue up when you add Product B and C as well. Or if you want to transition Product A into Product A+, they’ll come along for the ride.
#5: Branding becomes money in your pocket.
That’s what it all comes down to, isn’t it? Whether you’re a non-profit or an international conglomerate, you can’t maintain your mission without customers who support you with their wallets. Great branding turns into dollars in a thousand big and small ways—like current customers who recommend you to friends (because they remember your name) or backers who see you as a smart investment opportunity (because they’re familiar with you). The bottom line is that great branding creates a direct route to profitability.