Branding is one of the most important aspects of your business’s marketing and positioning strategy. That’s probably why you hear about it so often. In fact, you might have even had people asking about your own business’s brand.
“Does your business have a brand identity?”
“What’s your brand like?”
“So, what makes your business any different from that other one I checked out the other day?”
If any of these questions have made you go, “uhhh, ummm,” then you’ve got a problem. It’s incredibly important that you have a defined brand.
It helps your business be more memorable, it gets your clients more eager to buy from you and it helps you differentiate yourself from the competition.
Fortunately, on today’s post, I have Vaishali Budhiraja, founder of New Delhi-based digital agency Binary Quotes, here to share with you her advice on how you can start building a powerful brand for your business.
First things first: a good brand is more than just a pretty logo.
Before we can even start talking about branding, we need to understand the what and the how; specifically, what it is, and how it can bring immense benefits to your business.
Vaishali defines branding as creating an identity for your business. For her, it’s all about making sure your business portrays an intentional image in your audience’s minds. Contrary to popular belief, it’s so much more than just a colour palette and a logo. It’s ensuring that your business relates to your clients’ problems and creating a memorable client experience.
“The way you serve your customers is a key factor in a business’s brand. I would even say it should be at the core of your branding process.”
She explains that while the visible image of the business (the colours, the logo, the designs) are important, it’s just as important that you relate to your client’s problems. If it can help show that you understand what they’re struggling with in their business, that you get them, that’s when you’re winning.
At the end of the day, you could spend all your money on strategy, creating a logo and building your website, but prospects won’t buy if they don’t see you as the solution to their problems. And that’s what it all comes down to: presenting yourself as the best solution. So rather than focus on all the things you can do, think about the things your audience wants (there’s a difference), and reflect that.
It’s best that you start the branding process ASAP.
Vaishali recommends starting as soon as possible, preferably at the very beginning, when you’re just setting up your business.
She explains that if you start early on, you avoid a lot of headaches further down the line.
Imagine if you’ve grown your business, and you’re getting a moderate stream of clients, but it’s peaking. Then you realize you need to start branding your business. All of a sudden you need to find the time to sit down, either on your own or with outside help, and work on the fundamentals, and it might turn out to be something completely different than what you had up to that point.
Vaishali says that if she were to start a whole new business today, she’d start with her brand strategy. Then she can use that to inform the way she sets up her social media pages, her website and the rest of her marketing collateral.
It’s best to start in the early stages so that you don’t end up facing problems as you scale up.
Of course, you don’t have to be married to your brand. Rebranding is totally possible and totally okay. You just need to be careful with how you transition so that you’re not confusing your community and audience.
And on that note…
When it comes to the process, always start with your audience.
For Vaishali, especially with her clients, the first step is always understanding what your prospects are looking for. Because if your brand isn’t resonating with your audience, then that defeats the purpose of creating a brand to begin with.
Once you understand the way they think, the journey they go through to arrive at a purchase and what they value in a business, in a solution, the rest falls into place pretty easily.
Vaishali recommends seeing things from your clients’ perspective, and crafting something that’s tailored to what they need and what they find valuable.
Then, with that insight, you can create a much more focused, informed identity and story, which entails all the tangible, visual elements. The colour palette, the graphics, the tone and voice, the website, social channels, even the style of the content that you put out.
“One of the greatest definers of a good brand is empathy. The key to creating a brand that resonates is to put yourself in your prospects’ shoes. When your prospects feel like you understand them, they’ll trust you, and when they trust you, they’ll form an unbreakable bond with you. Then, they’ll buy from you. Always.”
Once you have the foundations, apply them to your brand consistently.
Vaishali explains that once you’ve created the foundations for your brand, defined your audience, your values and mission, it’s also important to apply your brand in a consistent way.
If your brand is your business’s image, then it needs to stay consistent across all your platforms. In fact, it goes beyond your website and socials.
If you’re selling products, then it should also be present on your packaging and labels.
It should be present in the way you serve and work with your clients.
It should be present in your work culture, if your business has a team.
It should even be present in your testimonials and reviews. If people are singing your praises, those praises have to align with the brand you’re trying to convey.
It should present a united front. The client or customer should be having the same brand experience and feelings towards your business no matter where they interact with you. Vaishali likens it to your brand’s “signature,” and that it’s just another way of cementing your business in your audience’s minds.
Once your content, designs, tone and overall image are in alignment, that’s when your prospects will start approaching you. That’s when they start seeing what kind of business you are and whether or not you’re a good fit. As opposed to constantly reaching out to them with cold calls and emails, your prospects will remember you for your memorable first impression.
As with many things in business, your branding will absolutely take a lot of trial and error as you hone in on what works and what doesn’t. Vaishali herself went through 3 years of growing pains to get to where she is now. But once you’ve defined your brand, the returns will be well worth the investment.
So what do you think? Will you start taking the steps to brand your business? Share your comments below!
If you want to find out more about Vaishali and Binary Quotes, or connect with her, you can reach her in the following ways: