A good branding definition is hard to come by. And that’s because the definition of branding can be tricky to get to grips with, and a branding definition is certainly difficult to write.
Clients, friends, acquaintances, family members, business owners, and others often struggle to understand what branding in business is actually all about.
What is branding? Is branding about your logo? Perhaps it’s what colours you use, or about the different types of marketing materials you have? Is it how your business talks to people through social media or where you decide to advertise?
Actually, it’s all of that and more. Sound confusing? That’s why so many work with brand strategy consultants to ensure best-practices are adhered to.
First of all…
Branding is all about getting people to accept or believe that you are providing the best product or service for them, right at the moment that they come into contact with one of your products, services or marketing materials. When you can achieve that status with enough customers, your business growth will explode and you’ll start enjoying some hard earned success.
Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Well actually, it is.
Jeff Bezos has a good branding definition, which is:
“Branding is what people say about you when you’re not around.”
The process behind how you perceive a brand is similar to the way you form opinions about other people. You listen to what they say, watch how they act, hear about experiences other people have had with them, look at how they present themselves and consider the decisions they’ve made, before subconsciously putting it all together and forming your very first opinion of them; whether it’s right or wrong.
The reason the branding process works, is because of the time and investment into it by both the business, and a professional branding agency.
Branding is about doing everything you can to ensure that the relevant people think about your business in the right way.
But what actually affects your brand? Let’s take a look at some examples:
How likely are you to hire a solicitor after learning from a colleague that they turned up to court in their favourite wrestling outfit? Technically, their choice of clothing would have no real impact on how well they can do their job, but it will certainly change how people think about them and how willing people are going to be in trusting them with something that’s very important.
You’ve no doubt got at least one person who “volunteered” to look on TripAdvisor for suggestions. There are two main points of marketing contact here, which is important because this is when people will decide whether or not to make the first of several steps towards buying something from you.
Let’s dive into the details:
OFFLINE – PHYSICAL MARKETING
So you’re walking around and there are restaurants in every direction, you haven’t heard of half of them and everyone seems to have “heard things” about a selection of potential options, but not enough to make an informed decision and that’s the point.
When people aren’t able to spend hours researching something they must make a decision based on the information they have available to them at the time.
Which is why some of our favourite small business advertising ideas work so well!
- Visual appeal of the restaurant – If a business doesn’t look like they care about how they present themselves to customers then certain types of people are going to look elsewhere.
- How many customers it has – When a business has lots of customers it’s a clear indication, and proof, that they’re doing at least something right – or why would so many others be spending money there?
- How much they charge – People will rate you based on how much you charge, if you haven’t done a good enough job of making them realise the value of your product or service they simply won’t pay for it.
If you look at a restaurant and the logo design has clearly had little to no thought put into it, the signage is old and the menus are held together with sellotape then you’re sending out one of two very clear messages; you either don’t care enough to want to look professional or you can’t afford to.
ONLINE PRESENCE & WEB
Whilst walking around, your friend has been frantically searching online for some recommendations on local restaurants – and they certainly have a lot of information to sift through in a short amount of time.
- Reviews left by customers – Being able to manage and exceed customer expectations is what leads to good reviews. You can only do that if you truly understand the audience your business serves and what they want from your brand.
- The Website – Some industries can get away with a poor website, especially if they’re in a busy location, but it’s not doing them any favors. Restaurant’s should make the most of the their websites to attract new customers. If you want to grow your business into something bigger then you need to do things that your competitors aren’t, offering new services and products that make the best use of the staff, premises and assets available to you.
- Social Media – With everyone being connected these days, it’s very difficult to sweep bad customer experiences under the rug. It’s vital to communicate with people who show an interest in what you do; they can provide invaluable insights into what you’re doing right and where you might be able to improve. If you don’t understand who these people are or what motivates them then it’s unlikely that you’re going to get very far with them.