Branding is an essential part of any business, as it’s basically the infrastructure of who and what you are. Your brand is your way of establishing your corporate identity and distinguishing yourself from the others. So, yeah, it’s pretty important. But, oftentimes, companies don’t fully understand branding, so they don’t spend the time and effort that ought to go into it, resulting in a brand that is not distinct, not cohesive, and not successful.
Here, we take a look at some of the common myths and mistakes about branding, and why they’re just plain wrong.
“We just redid our website, so we’ve rebranded.” Your website is not your brand. Your logo is not your brand. All these elements are part of your brand, but your brand is so much more than these two visual components. Your brand is your packaging design, the words you use, your history, your employees, the color of the walls in your office, and everything in between. (However, developing a new website is a great time to evaluate your current brand and see if it is time for a total rebrand).
“Brands can only be companies that sell products or services.” Nope. A brand is something that combines an image with a set of values in order to incorporate stories, feelings, and perceptions. Queen Elizabeth II is a brand. Kim Kardashian is a brand. Michael Phelps is a brand. When you think of each of these people, it’s hard not to form some type of impression or opinion (I dare you).
“Branding isn’t necessary for my small business.” Everyone needs a brand. Whether you’re Nike, Apple, or a local bakery for dog biscuits, you need a brand. It doesn’t matter if you’re a multi-million dollar company, or you have three employees, what matters is that you provide good value to your consumers and are true to your morals and ideals. After all, Google, Amazon, and Apple all started in a garage.
“We need to appeal to everyone.” Let me stop you right there. You don’t need to appeal to everyone. You only need to appeal to the people who matter. While it might seem counterintuitive not to promote your business to every human with a brain and a wallet, you need to have a clear, specific message that only the right people will hear at the right time. Look at it this way—which is better ROI: speaking to 1000 people and 20 people buying your product, or speaking to 20 people and 10 buying your product? Your brand should have a defined target audience that you know you can effectively and successfully communicate with.
“Branding is a job for the marketing department only.” Eh, not quite. Your company’s brand should be embodied in everyone from the interns to the CEO. Think about Tesla and Elon Musk—in this case, their CEO is their brand. Every person should reflect the same values and principles as the next to create a cohesive, obvious brand.
Branding makes your business more than just a business. It’s about people, stories, inspirations, and emotions. People should recognize, identify with, and invest in all aspects of your brand, and be the reason why they’re choosing you over competitors.