There’s much fluffy talk about brand; what they are and why you should have one but very little that actually tells you how it will benefit you from a business perspective.
At a time when having brand has never been more critical, many business owners still believe that they are an unnecessary luxury.
But before we begin…
There have plenty of posts, blogs, articles, and presentations written about what a brand is, this isn’t one of those.
But to clarify using the words of Jeff Bezos, a brand is ‘what they say about you when you’re not in the room’. It’s the thoughts and feelings that your clients or potential clients have about you, your service or product and the inherent benefits and outcomes of using you over your competition.
What a brand isn’t, is your logo, colours scheme or website. That’s branding.
Most often thought of in the context of your communications, a brand is much more. It is a strategic asset that should be used to define your marketing (of course), services and products, pricing, distribution and human resources (more on that in a later post).
With that in mind, here’s a list of what a brand can, and will actually do for your business.
Brands make selling easier
We live in an omnichannel world and in the B2B space, 87 per cent of businesses report beginning their buying journey online, with 82 per cent saying brand had a ‘significant effect on their decision making’ with 57 per cent saying they are ‘already made up their mind’ and were significantly through their buyer journey before they reached out to a supplier of services. There’s also now an average of seven people involved in the decision-making process when selling services.
Brands provide that assurance and are invaluable when you can’t do it in person. Your brand will pave the way for success by creating awareness of your unique proposition long before you get to present your sales pitch in person (if you even get that far).
Prospects that are aware of your brand are aware of your positive characteristics and what you stand for. Before they even consider doing business with you, they’ll know who you are, what unique value they can count on you to provide. The result? You can spend more time addressing the client’s needs rather than wasting valuable time explaining yourself, who you are, what makes you different and why they should consider working with you.
Without a brand, you’ll waste endless hours building a case for why you deserve the client’s business every single time you go to make a sale.
A strong brand will allow you to close the deal while the competition is still introducing themselves.
Without a brand, you are a commodity. That means the only way potential buyers can differentiate your service or product is by price resulting in you being perceived as easy to replace. Selling a commodity is hard face-to-face. Without somebody to explain your offer, answer questions and deal with resistance – in the digital world, it is all but impossible.
A branded business will fare better because:
Brands are chosen for, and because of their unique and distinguishing attributes. Potential clients will work with brands or buy them because they relate to them and their promise.
Brand builds equity
In any category, the brands preferred and valued by consumers and clients deliver clear business benefits that translate into higher sales, better profit margins and higher owner value. Consider the following:
- Clients will pay more for brands because they believe they will deliver outstanding results and benefits when compared to their competition
- Brands experience higher loyalty and ‘top-of-mind’ awareness, and they are purchased more often, in greater volume at a lower cost of acquisition
- Brand owners don’t need to launch new services or products from scratch. They can build their businesses by leveraging their brands into new services and products when the need arises
- Brands attract and retain better employees because applicants believe in the workplace’s quality, based on knowledge of the brand. Research proves premium candidates will accept a lower remuneration to work for a brand which translates into cost savings for that company and superior service delivery.
- Brands drive efficiency on an operational level when all decisions made and behaviours align with the Purpose, Vision and Mission that underpin the brand promise
- Brand owners experience increased market share, increased investor support and increased company value.
It’s a common misconception that ‘big companies’ brand because they can afford to’. In reality, the opposite is true. Companies that grow do so because they built a brand from the outset.
The list of reasons you should invest in brand is long and growing
Competition is fierce, and thanks to the internet, it’s becoming increasingly global, making a strong brand more necessary than ever. There are a few more reasons:
- Brands unlock profitability. Potential clients are overwhelmed by choice, meaning they are far more likely to choose and pay a premium for services and products from companies they are familiar with and that they believe will deliver higher value than the others. If you are perceived as having no difference, they will select on availability and price. A profit-crunching scenario that a brand helps you avoid
- Brands drive choice. With a few clicks and keystrokes, we can now find, select and purchase services and products unconstrained by geography. Brands, through familiarity and trust drive sales. Commodities are lucky to survive
- Brands build meaning. What do people think and feel when they see your logo? It’s these perceptions that exist in your potential and existing client base that is critical to your business success. Brands provide a consistent platform so that when people hear your name or see your logo, they think and feel what you want them to instead of leaving it to chance. In the form of symbols, colours, type, and messaging, branding is excellent, but it’s meaningless without a brand.
- Brands increase the chance of business survival. With products and services now being launched at an unprecedented rate, only those established off of the back of an existing brand, or those capable of building a strong brand and awareness quickly in a fast-paced and competitive business environment will be able to drive enough consumer awareness, understanding and preference to survive.
Brand has been around for a long time, but it never been more critical or essential to business success than it is now. Can you afford not to invest in yours?
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