A good branding definition is hard to come by. And that’s because the definition of branding can be tricky to get to grips with, and a branding definition is certainly difficult to write. That is why so many lean on branding agencies for optimal brand stewardship.
Clients, friends, acquaintances, family members, business owners, and others often struggle to understand what branding in business is actually all about.
What is branding? Is branding about your logo? Perhaps it’s what colours you use, or about the different types of marketing materials you have? Is it how your business talks to people through social media or where you decide to advertise?
Actually, it’s all of that and more.
First of all…
Branding is all about getting people to accept or believe that you are providing the best product or service for them, right at the moment that they come into contact with one of your products, services or marketing materials. When you can achieve that status with enough customers, your business growth will explode and you’ll start enjoying some hard earned success.
Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Well actually, it is.
OFFLINE – PHYSICAL MARKETING
So you’re walking around and there are restaurants in every direction, you haven’t heard of half of them and everyone seems to have “heard things” about a selection of potential options, but not enough to make an informed decision and that’s the point.
When people aren’t able to spend hours researching something they must make a decision based on the information they have available to them at the time.
Which is why some of our favourite small business advertising ideas work so well!
- Visual appeal of the restaurant – If a business doesn’t look like they care about how they present themselves to customers then certain types of people are going to look elsewhere.
- How many customers it has – When a business has lots of customers it’s a clear indication, and proof, that they’re doing at least something right – or why would so many others be spending money there?
- How much they charge – People will rate you based on how much you charge, if you haven’t done a good enough job of making them realise the value of your product or service they simply won’t pay for it.
If you look at a restaurant and the logo design has clearly had little to no thought put into it, the signage is old and the menus are held together with sellotape then you’re sending out one of two very clear messages; you either don’t care enough to want to look professional or you can’t afford to.
There’s no excuse for not caring and if you can’t afford to look like a serious contender then you’re going to have people that assume your restaurant is no good and that it’s probably best to steer clear.
ONLINE PRESENCE & WEB
Whilst walking around, your friend has been frantically searching online for some recommendations on local restaurants – and they certainly have a lot of information to sift through in a short amount of time.
- Reviews left by customers – Being able to manage and exceed customer expectations is what leads to good reviews. You can only do that if you truly understand the audience your business serves and what they want from your brand.
- The Website – Some industries can get away with a poor website, especially if they’re in a busy location, but it’s not doing them any favours. Restaurant’s should make the most of the their websites to attract new customers. If you want to grow your business into something bigger then you need to do things that your competitors aren’t, offering new services and products that make the best use of the staff, premises and assets available to you.
- Social Media – With everyone being connected these days, it’s very difficult to sweep bad customer experiences under the rug. It’s vital to communicate with people who show an interest in what you do; they can provide invaluable insights into what you’re doing right and where you might be able to improve. If you don’t understand who these people are or what motivates them then it’s unlikely that you’re going to get very far with them.
ONLINE & OFFLINE FACTORS
There are several factors that apply equally, regardless of whether it’s online or offline.
- Effective Communication – When there’s lots of choice, people expect businesses to help them and make it easy to find the information that they need in order to make an informed decision. If a restaurant hasn’t taken the time to put their menu in a clearly visible location outside then they’re forcing people to go inside and initiate a conversation with staff; a commitment that most are unlikely to want to do until they are sure they want to eat there. A strong brand understands the needs of their customers and actively seeks to simplify their lives in some way.
- Pricing Transparency – Imagine if a restaurant refused to tell you the price of the items on their menu and forced you to either call them, or worse, physically visit them. When customers are forced to make a decision on who they are going to spend money with, they are almost always going to pick the company that understands them the most. Price is a huge factor, and if you’re not going to be transparent about that, or you can’t be bothered to make it easy for people to know how much you cost, they will likely want to find someone else.
There are many reasons why it’s important to manage the presence of your brand but ultimately the better you maintain how you communicate with potential customers or client, the better you’re going to do.
When people are making a purchasing decision but don’t have enough information to make an informed choice they will go with their gut feeling.
This could in fact be completely the wrong choice for them, but if your brand doesn’t communicate everything it needs to in the right way then you’re leaving them with no other choice.
They’re then forced into making snap decisions on information that can only be taken at face value.
Your brand needs to be visible, in a way that your customers need them to be.
Your brand also needs to be clearly defined, so your customers know exactly what they’re buying in to, and what your brand vision is.
Think about it:
There’s no point putting all of your information into a mobile app or poorly designed desktop application if the majority of your audience is over 65. If people find it difficult to navigate your website (no matter how pretty it is) then people are going to lose interest.