Branding isn’t a new idea – companies have been creating a look to their business communications, shops and adverts for many decades. But with the growth of the internet, the importance of corporate branding has reached new levels and means even small businesses need to take the topic seriously. But why is it so important and what constitutes good corporate branding?
According to the definition from Entrepreneur.com, the meaning of branding is that it is a marketing practice that involves ‘creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products’. The same can also be applied to business – branding is how Business A makes itself different from Business B despite the fact that both companies sell the same product or service.
It can be easy to see corporate branding as the domain of the multi-million dollar international giants – think McDonalds, Coca-Cola and Pepsi or car manufacturers as the most commonly used case studies. These companies spend millions on their branding, have entire teams dedicated to the subject and are far away from the average business. But the core concepts that drive them to spend so much money on the topic is relevant for every business, regardless of its size.
Benefits of branding
One of the most important benefits that a business can receive from cohesive branding is improving recognition. Think back to those big name examples: if you see their logo, you know who they are, even if you can’t see anything else. The giant golden M of McDonalds, the white words on the red background of Coca-Cola. When your brand becomes recognisable to people, they are more likely to interact with it.
Being recognisable and having a consistent look to all communications also helps to build trust with customers. It shows a level of professionalism that is appealing in a world where we are all afraid of the con-artists, of the fraudulent scams seeking to steal our money. We associate good branding with good companies and therefore even a small business can gain legitimacy through it.
Branding also helps word of mouth, be it in traditional ways or across the internet. If a customer recognises your business brand and points out to a friend, noting a positive experience or a product they would be interested in, that friend is more likely to follow the advice. This positive reinforcement from a friend, family member or colleague increases the likelihood of that new customer buying the product or service from the business.
How to create a company brand
Building a company brand is about more than just a smart looking logo and a few complementary colours. It is about creating an identity for the business that can translate from mailing adverts to emails to the social media presence and any other format that the business might seek to interact with customers through.
There are various approaches to creating a branding for a business. One important thing to consider is your ideal customer. Many businesses create customer personas, ideas about who their ideal customer is and what they are looking for. This helps them taper their efforts to what is more likely to appeal to this demographic.
Armed with an idea of the customer demographic the business is targeting, then the work of creating the branding can begin. Many companies hire a professional to handle elements such as logo design unless someone within the company is a graphic designer. Of course, the logo is just one element of the brand but can be used as the cornerstone onto which the rest of the brand is built – in it will be colours, icons and even text that can be adapted to other areas of the brand.
The art of simple branding
It can be tempting to get really creative when branding a business but the experts recommend to keep it simple. There are some quite insulting quotes out there about the attention span of the average internet visitor but there is a core element to these – people are in a hurry and your branding needs to grab their attention very quickly.
So while it can be tempting to be clever with word play, add in artistic flourishes and bring a visually stunning element to everything the business does, sometimes less is more. As with website design, advertising copy and even email formats, the simple approach is often the most effective. Lead the customer to where you want them to go, make it simple for them to see what you offer and to visualise why that would benefit them. Wrap it up with clean and stylish branding to make them recall the business and this is the essence of good corporate branding.