According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, more than 627,000 new businesses launch every year. However, the SBA also estimates that each year more than 100,000 businesses close their doors. In this competitive marketplace, every business owner faces the challenge of differentiating their company from the rest.
As a new business owner, a large portion of your work will be creating and sharing your business’ unique brand. Decades ago, branding meant logos, taglines, a few specific colors, or some combination of these elements. Today, branding is far more complex, and it isn’t just for major, national brands. Small businesses and startups need to establish a high-quality brand just as much, if not more, than any other company.
What is a Brand?
Branding extends much further than creating a logo and slapping it on your website and business cards. It includes defining your purpose and what you stand for. Through proper branding, you can position yourself where you want in the market and influence the way customers perceive your brand. You want customers to view your business as the superior provider of whatever service or solution they’re looking for. Successful branding creates an automatic association between your business and the need that you fulfill.
When done right, a brand should be able to deliver the brand message clearly and effectively, build customer loyalty, motivate buyers to make a purchase decision and, above all, build relationships with customers. The best brands evoke an emotional response from their target audience. Any brand that accomplishes these key objectives will have a strong competitive advantage over competitors.
How to Make a Brand
Developing a brand is not an easy task. It entails shaping your customers’ perception of your business and requires a lot of brainstorming and planning. While creating a brand for the first time may seem overwhelming, it helps to start by identifying the fundamental truths of your brand. Fundamental elements of any brand include values, objectives, mission, and vision.
If you struggle to identify these key brand indicators or have difficulty communicating them, you may consider working with a creative branding agency. Branding agencies can help you get started and can develop clear strategies to connect with your customers through branding. After getting to know your business, branding agencies will find creative yet clear ways to share with your customers the essential message of your brand and what your business offers.
The Value of a Brand
To understand the importance of branding, look to brands like Apple and Nike. Over the years, these brands have created loyal followings, and many of their customers won’t even consider shopping their competitors.
Building a brand doesn’t have to be expensive, but it is a lifelong investment. A strong brand can influence customers and yield measurable returns for your company. Whether you choose to work with a branding agency or not, you want your brand to achieve the following:
- Quality branding builds recognition. Think about an arrow in the shape of a smile. Instantly, your mind jumps to Amazon. If you see a curved checkmark on a shoe, you automatically know it’s a Nike product. That’s the power of building a brand. A brand enables easy recognition of your business.
- Branding creates trust. The more people see a brand, the more they trust it. Once this trust is established, customers will remember your brand when they eventually need to make a purchase decision.
- Branding attracts new customers. When you build a positive brand experience for your customers, they spread the word about your business. If people hear about the product or service from others, clear branding helps them find your business.
Without branding, businesses get lost amongst their competitors. With nothing to set your business apart, customers won’t find you, and if they do, they likely won’t return to make another purchase. To see your business thrive, you need to show customers what makes your business distinct and trustworthy. With so much at stake when it comes to branding, reaching out to an experienced creative branding agency can make all the difference.