Year after year, many companies spend thousands of dollars on branding. For some, this is justified as a worthwhile investment, while for others, it seems like money thrown to the wind with no visible ROI. The reality is that, in today’s market, branding has become more important than ever before.
In this article, we’re going to break down what exactly branding is, how branding has changed in the current digital era, and why branding and marketing deserve your attention, time, and money to bring results for your business and establish yourself as a remarkable brand.
What is branding?
At a high level, branding refers to the process of actively building your company’s core identity, then refining it over time. It can include tangible and intangible elements all working together to form customers’ perceptions of your company and influence their attitudes and actions toward you. Practically, this can manifest as your logo, color palette, content, and touchpoints, but it is also the overall impression your audience gets when communicating with your brand. Everything from your website, public relations, social media, advertising, and more comes into play.
How has branding changed?
Before the digital era began, branding was largely a one-way street. Companies would pay large sums of money to get their message across in newspapers or television commercials. Now, with easy, affordable access to the internet and social media, brands have been equalized and globalized. Every brand has an opportunity to communicate who they are to a potential audience of thousands.
With this increased access and shift to an online presence, brands are met with greater competition in today’s market. At the same time, buyers are experiencing an oversaturation of information, leading to a change in the buyer’s journey.
A brief look at the data explains this well:
As both B2B and B2C customers are placing greater expectations on brands and the shopping experience, companies must be the first to adapt in order to stay relevant.
Why is branding important today?
To stand out from the crowd, your company must invest in branding. Without intentional efforts to build a remarkable brand, customers are more likely to pass you by for a company that offers similar products or services but better fulfills their core expectations and motivations. There are four foundational needs influencing branding decisions for every company to help them meet the needs of today’s audience and become recognized as a brand.
Customers with limited time and a million distractions want clear, consistent messages from the brands they choose to support. These messages must quickly differentiate the brand from competitors and speak to the customer’s unique needs. A clear, effective brand will communicate who they are in many ways, through visuals, content, and more. With a concise, impactful message, customers will recognize your brand identity without needing to dig.
With many elements of society moving online in recent years, people have felt the effects of isolation. Customers are seeking community, and as a brand, building a community around yourself is one of the best ways to invest in long-term success. The most impactful branding is people-centric.
It’s no longer all about the products and services your brand can offer. People are searching for meaning as they start to look for brands that they identify with. Branding involves marketing what you stand for as a company, your values and beliefs, just as much as your products. Customers will go out of their way to find a brand they believe in and purchase from them, even at the cost of convenience.
Most importantly, customers are seeking connection. Brands that humanize themselves are experiencing great success with their branding and marketing efforts. In every customer touchpoint, including social media, website, design, and advertising, every connection your brand can make with a customer counts.
Branding is the foundation of a company’s success in today’s market. At the end of the day, customers are seeking authentic connection and representation from their chosen brands. Investing in branding can lead to growth of your company, loyalty from your customers, and most importantly building a community of people who believe in your brand and what you do. If you need help in building your remarkable brand, reach out to an expert to get you on your way.