Almost every business has a trading name, from the smallest market trader to the largest multi-national corporation. Only a minority of those businesses however, have what could be classed as a brand.
Branding is the process of creating distinctive and durable perceptions in the minds of consumers. A brand is a persistent, unique business identity intertwined with associations of personality, quality, origin, liking and more.
Although most people associate brands with big companies, the smallest of enterprises can use branding techniques with great rewards.
Recognition and Loyalty
The main benefit of branding is that customers are much more likely to remember your business. A strong brand name and logo/image helps to keep your company image in the mind of your potential customers.
If your business sells products that are often bought on impulse, a customer recognising your brand could mean the difference between no-sale and a sale. Even if the customer was not aware that you sell a particular product, if they trust your brand, they are likely to trust you with unfamiliar products. If a customer is happy with your products or services, a brand helps to build customer loyalty across your business.
Image of Size
A strong brand will project an image of a large and established business to your potential customers. People usually associate branding with larger businesses that have the money to spend on advertising and promotion. If you can create effective branding, then it can make your business appear to be much bigger than it really is.
An image of size and establishment can be especially important when a customer wants reassurance that you will still be around in a few years time.
Image of Quality
A strong brand projects an image of quality in your business, many people see the brand as a part of a product or service that helps to show its quality and value.
It is commonly said that if you show a person two identical products, only one of which is branded; they will almost always believe the branded item is higher quality.
If you can create effective branding, then over time the image of quality in your business will usually go up. Of course, branding cannot replace good quality, and bad publicity will damage a brand (and your businesses image), especially if it continues over a long period of time.
Image of Experience and Reliability
A strong brand creates an image of an established business that has been around for long enough to become well known. A branded business is more likely to be seen as experienced in their products or services, and will generally be seen as more reliable and trustworthy than an unbranded business.
Most people will believe that a business would be hesitant to put their brand name on something that was of poor quality.
If your business has a strong brand, it allows you to link together several different products or ranges. You can put your brand name on every product or service you sell, meaning that customers for one product will be more likely to buy another product from you.
Read more on the subject:
Kellogg on Branding: The Marketing Faculty of The Kellogg School of Management
Breakthrough Branding: How Smart Entrepreneurs and Intrapreneurs Transform a Small Idea into a Big Brand
Brand Against the Machine: How to Build Your Brand, Cut Through the Marketing Noise, and Stand Out from the Competition