When we think of a “brand,” we think of the popular global brands like Amazon, Nike, coke, etc. However, there is more to branding than spending millions of dollars to create global recognition for your brand like these large companies. In today’s connected world, people are bombarded by businesses, products, services, promotional messages, and advertisements in just about every channel. In such a cluttered marketplace, how do you stand out and create a positive image of your business with the right audience?
Why is branding important?
Most startups and small businesses don’t know how to brand. They stick a random logo on t-shirts and business cards then consider themselves a brand. However, branding is about the feeling people have when they encounter you. It’s about creating a meaningful connection with your audience. Your potential customers will form an opinion about your brand within the first 3 seconds of interacting with it. They are judging your brand’s logo, your design, and your content. The outcome will determine if they trust your business, or not. People buy from brands they like and trust. 91% of consumers report they are more likely to buy from a brand they trust. The greatest marketing efforts will fail if you have poor branding. With the internet, your customers have many options to choose from.
Why should they choose your business?
Great branding will help you stand out from the competition, establish trust, and ultimately drive more sales for your business. Professional services firms rebrand for all kinds of reasons — from refreshing their look to reinventing themselves. Whatever your goal, we believe a successful rebranding has to accomplish two things:
- differentiate you from your competitors
- elevate your value in the eyes of prospective clients
Hinge’s b2b branding process transforms the way prospective clients, job candidates, and partners think about and experience your firm.
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Top most popular FAQs about Branding
What is a brand and what are the advantages of having one?
A brand is a set of characteristics – or an identity – that is easily recognizable and which enhances the reputation of your products or services. A brand should embody the unique selling points of your product or service. An accountant could place a figure on some of the goodwill you have built up on your brand values. Brands aren’t just for big companies – they can make smaller businesses stand out from the crowd, particularly in competitive markets. A strong brand image will help you establish an edge over your rivals and can open doors to new opportunities. For example, other lines can be bought in, branded, and sold as your own products.
The key attributes of a brand will include a name, a symbol, or a design (or a combination of the three); this branding identifies a product, service, person, or organization as having a unique selling point. It can then be used across all marketing activities. A successful brand invariably results in superior profit and marketing performance. A brand name can set a product or service apart and add significant value as a capital asset.
How long does it take to build a brand?
It will probably take you years to build up a widely-recognized brand – the sooner you start the better. Here are the first steps you need to take:
- Try to think of a memorable and meaningful trade name that sums up what you do, making sure it does not conflict with any existing names in your field.
- List the brand attributes you want to convey.
- Commission an appropriate logo. When you have the right design, make sure it appears everywhere.
- Develop a corporate image and color scheme that can be used on your website, on stationery, vans, signs, staff clothing, and adverts.
- Ensure that all your products and services are reliable, compatible, and of a good standard. A single weak link will drag down the value of the brand.
The time it takes to build a brand is the time it takes your customers to accept your brand values. These may include the belief, for example, that your product or service will give better value or be more reliable than competing ones. They may also start to believe that they will be happier with your product or service than any others and that your product or service is the most suitable for people like them.
Clearly, these values are based on customers’ perceptions of your company and its authority and reputation in its particular field, combined with the particular benefits provided by your product. Your customers’ good opinions will be based on substance; continuing to deliver on your promises will ensure your brand is successful.
This kind of authority and reputation is not easily won, so building a genuine brand is likely to take time, some money, and other resources.
Do I need a logo to build a brand?
A separate logo, as a distinct way of writing your company or product name, is not an essential requirement for a brand. Many well-known and profitable brands exist without logos. Often they rely on their name to create the necessary impact rather than a graphic. However, the look of a brand name demands as much care and attention as a logo. It’s worth using a designer to create a properly-conceived brand name identity, rather than just picking an attractive font.
Can having an established brand ever work against me?
The only time having a brand name is counterproductive is when it has become tarnished by scandal or has come to be seen as being old-fashioned, out of touch, or unreliable. In these circumstances, the brand is no longer adding value.
Why do we need to develop a brand?
A strong brand helps to sell your message and benefits for you. As long as any new products and services you introduce are up to the standard of your existing offerings, it becomes a great deal easier to launch new branded lines. The brand is your ambassador and advocate, attracting customers and reassuring them. At the same time, it will help to bring in a flow of new customers.
How can I develop a brand on a small budget?
Deciding on your values or what makes you special need not cost anything. However, communicating your brand message and style will inevitably require a budget commitment. The key areas you could budget for are:
- The development of a strapline or mission statement that succinctly conveys your message.
- Design needs, such as a website, a logo, business stationery, and product packaging.
- Advertising and promotional materials that convey and support the brand promise.
- Staff training to make sure your employees understand your brand values and business goals.
Will I need to register my brand name as a trade mark - and what would it cost?
Registration is not essential. But it will help in any future dispute if your trademark is registered with the trademarks registry (part of the intellectual property office). To register, your mark must be “Distinctive in relation to the goods for which registration is sought” and “Not deceptive or contrary to law or morality”. You will need to check that no one else has already registered the same mark or something very similar.
Registration (renewable every ten years) costs £200 for one class of goods with an additional £50 for each extra class applied for. You should also allow for certain other costs for search and advisory work. Prices for all these are listed on the gov. Uk website. You might want to entrust this work to a trademark agent, who may also be a patent agent. Find a suitably qualified one from the chartered institute of trademark attorneys or the chartered institute of patent attorneys.
How much is my brand worth?
The only time a financial value is put on intangible assets is when a business is either bought or sold. A company’s major asset may not be its premises or equipment, but its customer list and the quality of the relationships it has with those customers. Moreover, the brand is at the heart of reputation – attracting new customers and retaining existing ones. Brand valuation is a major issue; successful brands are important company assets. Investing in a brand, to improve its image or positioning, may often yield better results than investing in other ways, like buying new equipment. This is an area too important to be left to chance or guesswork. If you need to put a figure on the value of your brand, find an accountant who is an expert in this field.
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