Knowing your brand and communicating it effectively can be the difference between a business that goes the distance and one that gets stuck in a short-term cycle of success and distress.
In fact, studies show that long-term brand building is the most effective form of marketing as it establishes your business as the go-to in your field and increases preference with your customers.
We talk to Blake Ramage, creative director at The Artistry Online to discuss what is a brand and how can businesses start thinking (and focusing) on theirs.
What is a brand?
People often think it’s the logo, or typeface, or whatever, but it’s not (helpful as they might be, or not be, for it). A brand is rather the ‘gut feel’ you create for someone when they encounter your company. It is the overall impression they have; the company’s reputation and all the associations that go along with it. Therefore everything is important to your brand, all the way from the logo to how the phone is answered – all need to be consistent.
Why is having a brand key to a successful business?
In our daily life and own business experience, why do we choose one particular company over another, even when pricing is sometimes higher than alternatives? Brand. All the touch points we’ve had with the company have given a more favourable impression, leading us to select them above others. Successful branding can produce a significant uplift in revenue because it has altered the very way the business is perceived by those who encounter it.
What are the top three things that are vital to building a strong brand?
If I can stretch it to four, I would say they are understanding your purpose, finding your voice, understanding your customers, and getting clarity on your goals.
When it comes to telling your brand story or messaging, what are some top tips?
When I look at brand messaging with companies, I try to simplify things for them and get them down to three descriptive words that define them. Say, for example, we end up selecting these three words: “premium”, “sophisticated”, and “trustworthy”. These words then provide a reference point for the copy and visuals being developed.
When anything is created, we keep coming back to those words and asking (in this case, using my example three words), “is it premium, is it sophisticated, is it trustworthy?” It’s then about creating resonance between those words and everything that happens in the company.
What are some pitfalls people often make around telling their brand story or messaging?
As a business owner, we can view our business in terms of what we like or don’t like/what we think about our product or service/why it’s worthwhile/etc. Inadvertently, we make ourselves our company’s “ideal customer.” It’s always a mistake to make decisions based on our own individual preferences rather than clearly defined goals and customer personas. When I’m designing or writing, I’m not designing or writing for my client (or myself) but rather for my client’s ideal customers.
If a business is looking to rebrand or wants help identifying their brand, how can they get started / what should they think about?
Really understand your own company and what you offer, what you are seeking to do, and who you are seeking to do it for. Brands born from a lack of clarity are rarely successful. Write out as many words as you can think of to describe your company and narrow it down to three you would best like to describe you. Then establish where there is, and is not, resonance with what you do as a company in relation to those three words.
What role does design and / or a website have in showcasing your brand and telling its story?
It’s often the first impression. Your first opportunity to build your reputation in a particular way with your customers. All visuals provide strong and lasting impressions in people’s minds and set the scene for all that follows. These are powerful, and are either working for or against the reputation you are seeking to build in your customers’ minds. I’ve seen companies relaunch their brand or website and have a huge increase in revenue because they’ve changed the very way potential customers perceive them; they’ve increased the confidence customers have to make buying decisions with their company.
Anything else you would like to add?
Have fun with it! The more you enjoy and embrace the process of working on your brand, the better. It’s a chance to celebrate and refine and take exciting new steps.