The value of branding is intangible. But if you care about how your brand is positioned in your market and what consumers think of you (or whether they think of you at all), branding is a crucial investment.
It may seem strange to dwell on the significance of colors, imagery, voice, style, and the qualities you want to be associated with. But getting this right allows your brand to serve as an anchor as consumers navigate your industry and interact with your organization.
And while it would be incredibly difficult to calculate the return-on-investment of branding exercises and consultations, having an effective branding strategy is vital to your success.
Here are four reasons you should invest in branding.
1. It creates one cohesive version of your brand
When your employees think about your brand, what comes to mind? What about when your customers think about it? Or your general audience? Your competitors? If your branding is clear and consistent, each of these groups should have similar ideas about what your brand looks like and sounds like, as well as the qualities they associate with you.
Whether your brand has been around for days or decades, without brand guidelines, employees will be left to decide how to represent your brand in different situations, and you’ll inevitably wind up with many very different versions of your brand.
If consumers don’t have consistent experiences with your brand, it’s difficult to establish trust and set expectations. As consumers encounter and interact with your organization, branding is a signal that brings to mind their past interactions with you, reinforces the values you represent to them, and primes them to expect a particular kind of experience.
2. People gravitate toward familiar brands
Even if someone has never bought from you before, every time they see your branding in the context of your industry, it creates an association between your product category and your colors, imagery, name, voice, and style. If you have memorable, consistent branding, then when your audience begins to explore your product category, they’ll think of you first.
Simply seeing your brand can make consumers more receptive to your marketing. Implicit memory shows that even when people can’t remember an ad for your brand, these “forgettable” ads can cause people to develop a favorable impression of your brand. With strong branding, some of your customers may not realize they’ve seen you before, but they’ll prefer you all the same.
3. You can influence what people think of your brand
Branding isn’t just about how your product or organization looks. It’s also about how you come across. Thoughtful branding intentionally positions you in your market. Do you want your audience to see you as a leader in your industry or an underdog challenging the status quo? Should consumers come to you for technical expertise or down-to-earth solutions to their problems?
What consumers think of you depends on how you present yourself. It stems from the decisions you make about what your brand will and won’t talk about, what you value, and how you demonstrate those values through action.
That’s not something you want to come about accidentally over time. How people see your products and your organization should be driven by your branding.
4. Consumers recommend brands they know
Good branding doesn’t just help distinguish you from your competitors when someone is exploring your product category. It helps them remember you when their friends, family, or colleagues need the solutions you offer.
“Oh, you’re having problems with your church presentation software? I’ve heard good things about [your brand].”
“Yeah, I guess you get what you pay for with that free kidmin curriculum. I just saw an ad for [your brand], and it sounded like a solid option.”
People don’t have to be customers to recommend you. They just need to remember you and what you do. Branding makes that happen.
Is it time to reexamine your brand?
Maybe you’ve already done extensive branding exercises or consulted with a team of branding experts. Maybe you haven’t. Either way, it’s important to ensure that your employees have a solid grasp of how your organization looks and sounds in everything you do. From team to team and department to department, everyone should have a shared understanding of what you stand for and how you want customers to perceive you.
Branding isn’t just some ethereal concept. It’s a collection of tangible decisions that position you in your market and influence your audience to think about you in specific ways.