When you think of Nike, you probably picture the swoosh design seen on all of their products and packaging. Similarly, when you think of McDonald’s, the first thing that comes to mind is likely the brand’s signature golden arches or the 5-note tune that plays at the end of every McDonald’s advertisement. These identifiers are all a part of branding. They’re what makes a brand recognizable, helping to distinguish brands like Nike from other athletic wear companies.
Branding is an essential part of any brand’s success, whether that be an individual influencer or a multi-billion dollar company like Google. Without effective branding, you won’t be able to establish a cohesive and unique brand identity, making it all the more difficult to draw consumers to your product or service. If you’re new to the concept of branding, it can be quite intimidating — there are many distinct kinds of branding, not to mention tons of different advice about how to improve your brand strategy. Let’s start by breaking down what branding is.
What is Branding?
Branding refers to the process of forming an identity for your business. It encompasses your brand’s design characteristics, messaging, and interactions with your core consumer base or audience. Branding is meant to set your business apart from competitors and establish lasting relationships with customers by improving brand recognition and marketing strategies (Mailchimp, n.d.).
The Different Kinds of Branding
There are several different kinds of branding to be aware of, including product branding, retail branding, service branding, and geographic branding. However, two of the most basic categories of branding are personal branding and corporate branding (Mailchimp, n.d.).
- Personal Branding
Personal branding is how an individual brands themself. This form of branding is most often used by influencers, freelancers, affiliate marketers, business owners, and anyone who seeks to distinguish themself from others by constructing a personal brand identity. Personal branding is different from your identity; your brand’s identity doesn’t have to reflect your personality in everyday life, even if you’re the face of the brand (Mailchimp, n.d.).
- Corporate Branding
On the other hand, corporate branding is how a corporate entity brands itself. This form of branding goes beyond the branding of a specific product or service offered by the company; it refers to the company’s image as a whole. For corporate businesses, branding plays an important role in establishing a positive reputation, which can affect everything from attracting consumers to finding investors and drawing in quality candidates during the hiring process (Mailchimp, n.d.).
The Importance of Branding
The importance of branding cannot be understated when it comes to both individuals and corporate businesses. While many of the benefits of personal branding also apply to corporate branding and vice versa, each form of branding has some distinct advantages that are worth mentioning.
- Benefits of Personal Branding
One of the most notable benefits of personal branding is that it establishes credibility and trust with your target audience, as well as colleagues in your field. This can open up professional opportunities for you that will allow you to advance your career and grow your business.
Personal branding helps you build connections that will bring you one step closer to reaching your professional goals. Networking is an important part of creating a personal brand identity, and this will introduce you to like-minded people who might be able to help you get a foot in the door or introduce you to one of their connections later on. The more connections you have, the better! You never know what opportunities they could present to you in the future (Walter, 2023).
- Benefits of Corporate Branding
There are infinite benefits of corporate branding, one of which is brand awareness. When you’re hungry and looking for a restaurant to order food from, you’re more likely to order from a restaurant you’re already familiar with than one you’ve never heard of before. Branding helps to make your brand more recognizable so that you’re one of the first companies people think of when they need the product or service your business offers.
Corporate branding also improves your brand’s reputation. Based on a brand’s reputation, people know whether that company sells quality products or services, which affects their willingness to engage with the company. Solid branding can ensure that your target audience has a positive view of your company, making them more likely to purchase your goods or services. Outside of the merits of a specific product, the value of your brand is a massive selling point for consumers, so maintaining a positive public image should always be a priority (Launch Media, 2021).
Components of Branding
To create a complete brand identity, you need to consider several different components of branding. Your brand’s image, values, and personality all play a role in shaping how consumers, investors, and clients view your business, making it crucial for each of these components to be fully fleshed out and identifiable.
- Brand Image
Your brand’s image includes the visual elements of your branding, including your company’s name, tagline, logo, and color palette. When consumers think of a brand, these visual elements are often the first thing to come to their mind, so they have to accurately reflect your brand’s purpose and values. They need to be eye-catching, memorable, and distinct to stand out from competing brands (Gartlan, 2023; The Go! Agency, 2023).
Your brand image is one of the largest factors affecting the recognizability of your brand. Therefore, consistency is key when creating your brand image. If you don’t establish simple, yet distinguishable visual elements for your brand and stick with them, consumers might not understand what your company has to offer or what it stands for, and this will drive potential customers away.
- Brand Values
Your brand’s values are the core principles your company stands for. These values can include specific political views or be something as simple as “honesty.” A company’s values are one aspect that attracts consumers the most. People want to stand behind brands that they believe are in line with their morals. Thus, brands need to stand firm in their values. Consumers don’t like when companies are inconsistent or go back on their word, so it’s better to be resolute about your position, even if it might turn some people away (Gartlan, 2023).
- Brand Personality
Your brand’s personality refers to the human qualities of your company, and it influences the way your brand interacts with your audience. This personality is what makes your brand relatable and helps consumers make an emotional connection to your company. Tone of voice is one of the most important aspects of this personality, so a consistent tone should be used in all of your brand’s written content. To determine the appropriate tone for your brand, you first need to assess your company’s target audience. The age demographic, political affiliation, and geographic location of your target audience are all elements that can help you decide how formal or informal your tone should be and whether or not you should use slang or conversational language (Gartlan, 2023).
How to Strengthen Your Online Branding
- Be Consistent
Without consistency in your brand’s visual components, consumers are less likely to recognize your brand. Likewise, if your brand’s values aren’t consistent, customers will likely be less loyal to your company. Presenting a consistent image of your brand is essential for attracting a long-term and engaging audience (Gartlan, 2023).
- Seize Every Networking Opportunity
Networking and collaborations, especially as an influencer or small business, is a great way to make new connections and expand your audience. For example, writing a guest blog gives you exposure to a new audience who might be interested in your expertise, content, or products (Walter, 2023). Always take advantage of these opportunities to attract new connections. Along the way, you’ll establish credibility with colleagues in your field and attract your target consumers, leading to increased engagement, sales, and opportunities.
- Create High-Quality Content
Producing high-quality content will bring more traffic to your website and increase your brand awareness. Furthermore, establishing yourself as an authority in your area of expertise will give your brand more credibility. When people view you as a reliable source of information, they’re more likely to trust that the products or services you’re promoting are also reliable. The trust people have in you as the face or spokesperson of the brand is likely to translate into brand trust, improving your overall brand reputation (Gartlan, 2023).
Quality branding is a vital part of any business. Not only does it establish credibility with your target audience and business partners, but it also increases your brand’s recognizability, allowing your company to reach a wider audience. If you want to grow your business, start by evaluating your current brand strategy to determine what’s working and what changes need to be made.
If you need help navigating the do’s and don’ts of digital marketing, BlueTickSocial is here for you. Contact us today to begin growing your brand’s online presence!
Photo by Harper Sunday: https://www.pexels.com/photo/instant-photos-placed-on-table-3130269/