Why Branding Matters
Hint – It’s because confused consumers don’t spend money.
Twenty years ago the need for branding was not nearly as pervasive as it is today. Branding was a need mostly of large businesses with significant budgets for advertising, but this is no longer the case. Nearly all businesses, regardless of size, need to be thinking about branding.
At the core, branding is really just a way of communicating to your customers. And when you communicate well, to the right people, you win business. Pretty simple, right? So, what changed?
Let’s put this into context. Twenty years ago, a small business, let’s say a family run plumbing business with five employees, would gain a majority of their clients from word of mouth referrals. They’d list themselves in a few directories and once a year would do a direct mail flier listing their services and contact info. In this scenario, formulating an official brand strategy does seem like a bit of overkill and a poor use of limited budget.
But today, the marketing scenario for our small plumbing business would look much different. They still get much of their business from referrals, but now, new referrals have many more options for how to vet their purchase of plumbing services, and near instant ways to find other plumbing service providers in their area. Now our plumbing company has a presence on Google, Houzz, Home Adviser, Angie’s List, Yelp, Facebook, YouTube and their own website as well. Each of these platforms has different lengths of text and descriptions, options for headlines and calls to action, photos and videos, filters and keywords (and for the sake of this article, we won’t even start talking about reviews). And this is where branding comes in. On Google, our plumbers say they are the fastest and cheapest! On Houzz their profile says they focus on large projects with perfect customer service. And on their website, their front page has a message for partnering with contractors. Me, I just have a clogged sink. I can’t tell whether this plumber is cheap, thorough or even interested in a job as small as a clogged sink. It’s confusing, so I close my wallet and move on to another method of finding a plumber.
Sticking with our example, our family owned plumbing business doesn’t have to spend a ton of time and money on branding. It can be as simple as thinking about the clients you’d like to have, what your company does best and putting some standards down on paper. Asking yourself questions like, do you want to work weekends? Do you like last minute jobs? If you could only do one type of project for the next few years, what would that be? What problem does your product solve for the consumer? The future is niche-y. With more competition, comes more choices for both businesses and consumers. Taking the time to put down on paper who your customer is, the words you use to communicate with them, the strengths you want to emphasize and a few notes about how you want your company to look around the web, can go a long way towards creating and maintaining a web presence easier. More importantly consistency sends a clear message to your customers that you and the services or products you provide are so very worthy of their hard-earned cash.
It’s okay to ask for help with solidifying your brand standards. Even though the exercise isn’t difficult, it can be tough to have perspective when you’re deep in the trenches of day to day business. We’re here to help. Contact us for more information and next steps.