Branding is one of the trickiest exercises in marketing. There is no clear roadmap to building a brand that is memorable and respectable. A brand is so much more than a logo or a catchy slogan.
Most small business owners and fledgling entrepreneurs don’t really think about the nitty-gritty of branding, at least not until they come across some obstacles in brand development.
To make sure you’re doing a good job of building a brand that the consumers can trust, you need to do some research first. Here are 6 little known facts that could affect your branding.
Visibility Doesn’t Equal a Strong Brand
Many small businesses jump too soon to blogging and social media. They confuse having a strong brand with visibility. Before you start spreading the word about your brand, give yourself some time to build it. Make sure you have the answers to the following questions:
- Who are we?
- What do we want to achieve long-term?
- What sets us apart from the competition?
If you don’t consider these key elements of branding, you may damage your efforts by presenting inconsistencies.
People Are Becoming Blind to Logos
UCLA researchers discovered that we have a hard time remembering logos we see everyday, despite the fact that people in general have a fairly good memory for visual information.
And, considering that most Americans are exposed to more than 4,000 ads a day, it’s safe to say that a great number of logos passes our field of vision on a regular basis. People “filter out” visuals that are not important to them.
There’s no doubt that your logo plays a huge role in your branding, and you should make it visually appealing as much as you can, but you shouldn’t rely on it too much. Many small businesses make the mistake of stamping their logo everywhere they see empty space.
Branding Starts With Employees
If you want to build a strong brand, you have to win over your employees first. Everyone knows that the workforce is an integral part of a brand. But what many business owners don’t know is that they need to market to employees as well for their branding to be a success.
In fact, one of the reasons why branding is so important is because it has the power to inspire employee pride and satisfaction. Your workers will feel more satisfied with their jobs if your business proudly stands for something.
But you can’t expect your employees to appreciate and reflect your brand if they don’t really get it. Internal branding and marketing can increase staff motivation, according to Hooley, Piercy, and Nicoulaud.
You are more likely to get buy-in from your team and turn your employees into passionate brand ambassadors if you brand and market internally. Your employees are the ones who are most affected by advertising.
Your staff needs to be well versed in how they should represent the brand when communicating with customers. If you are trying to build a brand that’s bubbly and playful on social media, you need a customer service that can engage consumers in the same voice. To achieve this, make sure the values of your brand permeate the company culture.
It’s Okay to Borrow From Others Sometimes
A brand can benefit from another brand’s reputation through association. This is called the brand halo effect. Brands often piggyback on the success of bigger, more-famous brands.
Big brands are well aware of the halo effect, so they capitalize on it by collaborating with each other. Some notable examples are Uber/Spotify and Redbull/GoPro.
Supermarkets have mastered the art of selling their own brand items by using better-known brands. For instance, if you want to buy ketchup in a store, you’ll probably recognize Heinz Tomato Ketchup immediately and head towards it.
Since they can predict your behavior, the supermarket will place their own, cheaper ketchup next to the better-known one. When they get to the aisle, many customers who are looking to save money will choose the supermarket’s own brand.
While you can leverage such consumer favoritism in branding, you should know that it is a two-way street. There’s also the horn effect.
This is when consumers have a bad experience with a brand and they correlate that unfavorable experience with everything they associate with it—the opposite of the halo effect.
Consumers Like Playing Follow the Leader
It’s no secret that we often make our decisions based on what others have done before us. However, the interesting part is that we do not assess people and events separately.
Frank Baumgartner of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill discovered this when trying to see why execution rates are far higher in some US counties than in others.
One would instinctively think this is because the number of homicides in such places is higher, but that’s not the case at all. Baumgartner’s team found that an execution was more likely to happen if another execution had taken place before it. This phenomenon is called an information cascade.
The good news is it doesn’t happen only with such grim occurrences. This effect stands in other facets of life as well. If you win over the key influencers in your niche, chances are the rest will follow. You can leverage this behavior trait to establish yourself as the market leader.
Brand Image Goes Beyond Branding
Many small business owners don’t seem to realize that brand identity is the same thing as brand image. But, the way you want others to perceive your brand isn’t necessarily the same way consumers perceive it.
When it comes to brands, first impressions matter a lot. And the consumers don’t even have to buy your products or services for your brand to leave an impression on them.
They make their judgments based on how clean your store is, the way your employees are dressed, how fast (or slow) your website is, and a variety of other factors that may seem irrelevant.
They may seem superficial, but even the tiniest details are points of contact you have with consumers. Business owners are often so focused on their products that they completely forget about their brand image.