Smaller businesses often make the mistake of not spending enough time on their branding efforts. Branding doesn’t have to be limited to large multi-national companies with huge advertising budgets. Branding can be a way to help build a connection with your customers/clients and cultivate a better relationship with your employees (and if you are lucky, an emotional connection). Think of some of your favorite brands and how they stir an emotion that brings back a fond memory.

Reasons why branding is important for your business.

Branding Improves Recognition
What do you think of when you see a golden letter “M”? A green and white circle with a mermaid, or a apple with a bite taken out of it?

Branding Helps Create a Sense of Trust
A professional image helps to create a sense of quality that may help you command premium pricing.

Your branding doesn’t have to be revolutionary but you should invest in a professionally-designed, recognizable logo that presents the desired impression. You want both insiders and outsiders to have an emotional connection.

Branding Re-enforces Your Marketing Strategy
Marketing is an important component of building a brand. The methods used to promote your brand are key to helping grow your business and expand into new markets and target different customers. It’s often best to target certain types of clients/customers that would be the most profitable to make the best use of your advertising efforts. (For instance, it may not be a good use of resources to promote a bakery at a gym.)

Branding Generates New Revenue
Branding is one of the best ways to get word-of-mouth business or referral business. One of the many reasons why it’s important that your branding, logo, messaging, and reputation work together to create a favorable impression on potential client/customer minds. Think about it, you can’t tell your friend about the amazing chocolate chip cookies you just bought if you can’t remember the brand.

Branding Can Motivate Employees
Anyone can hire employees, but only a strong brand with a positive connection can hire engaged employees that are inspired to carry your vision and mission forward. When your brand feels pride, your employees do as well. Having a strong brand is essential for employee morale and productivity.

Now that you know why it’s important to develop a solid branding strategy, here are a few ways you can do it:

Always Have Your Customer in Mind

Your brand must align itself with your clients’/customers’ needs and wants. When starting any branding campaign, always have your targeted customer in mind and do your best to connect with them. The last thing you want to do is offend them.

Create Messaging that Illustrates Your Value
Create a direct and simple message of WHY your brand should matter to your potential client/customer. Most consumers don’t have the desire or time or desire to figure this out. Your brand must create the narrative that addresses “why you should use us”.

Use Emotion
If you give consumers a reason to care and feel something about your brand, they more often than not have a reason to buy. Many people make purchasing decisions based off of emotions not logic (and some industries actually, rely on this–think fashion, alcohol, auto). Work to create an emotion in your prospects every time they see your brand. How often have you purchased something because of want rather than need?

No matter how large or small your business is, remember, the majority of successful businesses are the ones that have established themselves as a leader in their respective industry by creating a strong brand. And, when these businesses focus on building valuable customer experiences, they easily transform customers into brand evangelists. Silicon Valley venture capitalist Guy Kawasaki, who popularized the term evangelist in marketing starting with the Macintosh and eventually the concepts of evangelism marketing and technology discusses in his blog entry The Art of Evangelism.