“Branding” is one of the more popular marketing terms used in everyday situations, thrown haphazardly into conversations, often without the proper context.
With the advent of social media, individuals have begun to look into their “personal branding,” or how they present themselves on their social media accounts. Beginner marketers, on the other hand, point to a company’s logo when asked about what branding is.
Both these definitions of branding have some merit, of course. However, any marketer worth their salt knows that there’s more to branding than Instagram aesthetic and having a logo.
What is branding, and why should startup businesses care? Here’s our rundown.
Branding is more than just your logo and aesthetic
Branding encompasses more than just a business’ visual presentation.
Entrepreneur.com defines “branding” as the practice of creating a name, symbol, or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products. Similarly, a business develops a brand for the purpose of standing out from other businesses in the industry.
Branding is identity-building. It involves the process of specifying what the business’ mission and vision are, which market segment it caters to, and what its unique selling point is.
From there, a business develops its visual identity, which includes its logo, its brand voice (i.e., the writing style used in social media captions and website copies), and, yes, its aesthetic.
A solid visual identity makes marketing easier—graphic designers have templates (i.e., default fonts, colors, image dimensions, etc.) to follow, and copywriters don’t end up writing email newsletters that don’t resonate with their target market.
Branding is useful for both the business’ internal operations and its marketing efforts. Not only does marketing help customers recognize and remember your business, but it also helps strengthen employee loyalty. Why? Because branding is all-encompassing. It stretches from the URL of your website to what values your company culture is founded on.
How branding boosts marketing
A strong brand makes marketing significantly easier for any business. Here are the top ways branding boosts a brand’s marketing efforts:
- Branding improves recognition. The more recognizable a brand is, the more likely a customer will buy their product.
- Branding breeds trust. When people see others wearing a brand’s logo on a t-shirt or carrying the logo on a canvas bag, the more likely they will see that brand as trustworthy. If other people trust that brand, why shouldn’t they?
- Branding increases financial value. It’s commonly known that “branded” items are more expensive than generic or non-branded items. Buying something that’s “branded” comes with the assurance that a business would never sell something that could damage their reputation; therefore, branding is an assurance of quality and merits an increase in sale price.
How branding helps strengthen human resources
Google is one company that’s famous for its strong branding and its commitment to ensure employee wellness. After all, who doesn’t recognize the iconic red, blue, yellow, and green of their logo? Who hasn’t heard of the adult playground otherwise known as the Google company headquarters?
A business that has a firm grasp on its mission and vision has an easier time of motivating their employees. When employees believe in what your company stands for, then they’ll find themselves more easily fulfilled when working.
Here’s how branding affects employees at different stages of employment:
- Job searching. When job seekers try to find great jobs online, they’re more likely to apply to companies who have a good reputation or a startup that seems poised for success. And how does a business show that they’re successful? By having a polished website, engaging social media accounts, and positive customer reviews—all of which benefit from a business’ branding.
- Onboarding. An employee’s first few months with a business is their most crucial. This period is where your company values come into play. Does your company have a serious atmosphere? A relaxed, playful culture? A business that has a coherent company culture has a better chance of retaining employees.
- Retention. Startups don’t always have the luxury of giving promotions, doling out bonuses, or promising employee vacations. In the meantime, companies need to find ways to reward their loyal employees. However, sometimes, a rewarding company culture is enough to keep employees fulfilled.
Conclusion: Branding is necessary for any startup’s success
There are no downsides to investing in your business’ branding. On the contrary, branding strengthens every aspect of the business operation—a win-win solution.
By building a cohesive brand, your business ensures that it stands out among its competitors and solidifies its position in its customers’ minds. A strong brand means a strong identity. After all, what’s more trustworthy than a business that takes pride in what it does?