Branding is the vibe, culture, or feel that your business puts out into the world. It’s the emotional response that your customers are going to have not only to what you sell, but how you sell it.
Why is it so important? Because branding is, perhaps even more so than your product or service itself, the reason why people become repeat customers and recommend you to their friends.
Let’s take a look at a few steps that can help your business earn a permanent place in the hearts and minds of your customers.
Why bother with branding?
It helps you stand out from your competition. Sure, both you and your competitor make videos about the same subject, of about the same informational value. However your company is the one that answers customer questions within 24 hours. Which would you choose to do business with?
It promotes your company’s culture. Some people may want to deal with a super-serious all-business company. Others may want to work with a video company that makes them feel at ease, or is even goofy and fun. Your branding (including your logo and slogan) help potential customers immediately identify the kind of experience they’re going to have when they deal with you.
It puts your entire team on the same page. Having a strong brand gives your people a guidebook on how they should act when dealing with customers, and how far they should go in making those customers happy.
It gives your product familiarity. There’s a reason why McDonald’s has more or less the same taste worldwide – their brand involves comfort. No matter where you are, how intimidated you are by the new culture you’re experiencing, you can feel at ease entering a Micky-D’s – you know what you’re going to get.
Referrals. Referrals are by far the most trusted form of advertising there is. 84% of people surveyed around the world deem referrals the most trustworthy.
Plus a lot of people have social media. When they sing the praises of the experience they had when buying from you that praise ripples outward to their friends. It’s massive worldwide marketing… and it’s free.
It’s a Value Add. A “Value Add” is something thrown in on top of the actual purchase. It’s when your local car dealer gives you a toaster when you buy a car. It’s your local accountant giving you an extra service at half price when you buy a financial services package. In the case of branding, it’s you giving your customers the Value Add of having an awesome customer service experience when they deal with you.
It creates an emotional response. Coca-Cola had an ad campaign that didn’t have a hard sell for Coke. Instead it was a bunch of people from around the world joining together and singing about how they’d like to make friends and possibly even bring about world peace – “I’d like to by the world a Coke and keep it company.”
The campaign was so immensely successful that they had a 20-year anniversary in the 90s featuring the original singers with their children. The sheet music continues to sell even today.
Another example is the adorable Kid Vader commercial from Volkswagen. The ad isn’t about telling you how quickly the car goes from 0 to 60. Instead it’s connecting with you via the feeling of joy that comes from having a family. And it’s darned cute to boot.
Your brand has the opportunity to make buying your videos from you more than just a monetary exchange – it can make your customers feel heroic or smart or counter-culture-ish or like they’re going to have fun learning from you.
Make sure you have something worth branding.
Don’t bother putting lipstick on a pig, don’t waste your marketing time and money trying to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, don’t spend all your energy trying to polish a…
You get the idea.
You and your employees are going to have a much easier time building up a positive brand if you have a product or service that they are proud to sell. So if you’re not quite sure of your widgets, get busy eliminating the greatest hurdle your company could possibly face (selling something that’s inferior) and the rest of your branding will flow from that solid foundation.
Orient your business.
The heart of your branding comes from knowing what it is your company does. If you take away nothing else from this post take away this:
You are in the business of customer service. You just happen to sell videos about X.
Build in consistency.
Keep all of your various marketing assets – your logo, your slogan, your fonts, the language of your posts and advertising, and so on – on the same track. It’s going to be hard for potential customers to pick up on just what your brand is if your logo is selling your business as being silly and fun but all of your ad copy reads like it came from a super-serious financial institution.
Dependability plays a major role in getting customers to build a long-term relationship with your company. Without a consistent voice in your branding people are going to be confused as to what they’re going to get when they deal with you.
Know your role.
As the CEO of your company, one of your top priorities is to make your employees happy (a whole topic unto itself). Your goal is to have the highest retention rate possible in employees.
You do this partly through benefits (not everyone is going to be able to afford to pay high wages or salaries) and by eliminating obstacles that get in the way of the employees making your customers happy – frustrated employees make for frustrated clients.
You’re looking at two likely candidates to fill a role in your company. One has a dream resume – but is kind of snarky. The second person doesn’t have quite the c.v. of the first but is personable and seems like someone you and your team would like to be around.
Unless you have some immense problem that needs to be solved immediately (say an I.T. snafu), consider the second candidate over the first. One thing to remember – when you’re hiring, you’re not just hiring the person, you’re hiring every interaction they will ever have with you, with your other employees, and possibly with your customers.
As your company grows there’s going to be a time when you can no longer do all the hiring yourself. You’re going to want your brand instilled in the people you hired, so that when they start hiring on your behalf they’ll continue bringing in people who add to that vibe that you’re putting out there.
Start Today and Always Keep Building
A major point to remember as you build your brand is that you are working for the long-term.
Your hard work will pay off with customers who will keep coming back to you for their particular video needs.
Also try to remember that if a particular branding approach doesn’t work out you at least now know what not to do, and that is valuable knowledge. Allow yourself room to make mistakes. Branding is an ongoing experiment and you will always need to test, adjust, and retest to find the best version of your brand.
So get busy branding. The sooner you get started making your company the one people want to do business with, the quicker you will see the benefits.