Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos, said it best, “branding is what people say about you when you’re not in the room”.
With internal and external branding efforts, a business is able to craft its own public perception to engage and resonate with their target audiences.
Internal branding is part, “creating universal understanding” and part, “modifying employee behavior”.
To create this universal understanding, employees should know the purpose of the company, service, product and culture.
This means ensuring everyone in the company understands the company values, promises, and standards of excellence they must uphold.
And although everyone will understand how they can contribute, not everyone will uphold the standards of excellence you set. This is where you have to step in and reinforce the values of your brand.
Internally branded businesses are businesses with employees that understand how they contribute to a company’s success and you end up with an internal structure that is focused on the customer and the success of the business. This is essential to the brand development of the company.
At this point, work processes will flow like a well oiled machine.
Externally, what branding does is allow people to understand what your business is about and form an emotional connection.
If you look at all the great brands and companies that are out there and that have been around for years, 100% of them continuously work on their brand and understand the importance of branding.
Why Small Businesses Should Use Branding
Smaller businesses tend to not like the idea of branding because they are so often focused on only the numbers. Aspects such as calls, clicks, and form leads; and understably.
However, small businesses can greatly benefit from branding because it allows your company to be recognizable and separate from others in your industry. Being identifiable makes your business memorable and approachable to the customer.
For smaller and larger businesses, alike, branding is a must.
For local businesses that want more foot traffic or to obtain more leads, a strong brand can do this for you. It’s likely you already have a focus on advertising, but advertising pushes a message out and places it in front of the right people.
Branding, on the other hand, pulls in both new and returning customers because brands develop reputations and display values that resonate with audiences.
On top of that, brands make your advertisements more influential and memorable; this is what we call brand marketing.
So even if a customer passes on an offer, your business can be at the top of their mind when they do want a service you offer.
Branding Happens With or Without You
Here’s a little known secret - your brand will develop over time whether you want it to or not.
If you don't strategically develop the brand identity of your business, then your brand will still develop passively, but it might not become the brand you envisioned.
If you do not make any efforts to control the way your brand visually looks or communicates, people will automatically start judging your business on aspects such as; whether or not your website looks professional and functions correctly, do your customer service team members welcome support tickets with open arms, etc.
Companies are often judged on their employee attitudes, their service, their appearance, and overall professionalism. When you allow branding to be built without you, it becomes easy for people to assume you’re an amateur, you’re just getting started, or you don’t even take your business seriously.
And although none of that may be true, the consumer is very judgmental.
Another example is if they see something that’s just put together quickly in Microsoft Word and sloppy marketing materials. They already assume that you’re not established, or that the service will reflect the same.
But if you appear established, you will begin to build trust.
You’ll be able to give the first impression that you know what you're doing and that you take your business seriously.
Now, prospects are more likely to work with you versus someone that looks like an amateur and not trustworthy. That's why branding matters and that's why the big businesses understand the importance of branding.
They put so much effort into branding because they know strong brands always receive a return on their investment.
The branding aspect is part of the identity of a company, and it is always a thought-provoking exercise to think of companies you know and how you feel about them.