It’s Time to Evaluate Your Branding
Branding is the make-or-break difference between unremarkable business transactions and a lasting relationship with customers. This relationship (and how customers perceive it) is dictated by a company’s branding– who the customer thinks a company is, and the image the company puts out into the world.
The Benefits of Branding
A consistent, thoughtful, and intentionally-presented brand is crucial to establishing brand authenticity, attracting customers, and cultivating loyalty. In fact, 89% of B2B marketers agree that brand awareness is the most important goal, followed by sales and lead generation. Moreover, brands that consistently present their identity are three to four times more likely to experience brand visibility than those who don’t. Even simply choosing consistent colors can increase brand recognition by up to 80%.
In addition, today’s ever-changing industry landscape creates a necessity for companies to consistently evaluate their brand identity–including its offerings and positioning– in order to maintain a competitive advantage amidst industry trends. Strategic, timely branding can be the difference between coasting ahead, staying abreast, or drowning in changing tides. Simply put, in today’s market, companies have two choices when it comes to their brand identity: either rebrand, or be rebranded.
Three Steps to Brand Evaluation
Here are three key steps every company should take to proactively evaluate their branding:
Step 1: Clarify who you are as a company– then as a brand.
Brand development begins with identity development. Before creating branding strategies, companies must first clarify who they are. After all, it’s impossible to communicate with authenticity if a company’s identity hasn’t been intentionally established.
A marketing concept called “The Golden Circle” can be particularly helpful for companies looking to clarify their identity. This process encourages companies to identify their why, how, and what.
Why: First, companies must identify their “why” – their purpose and reason for being. This is the most important step in the process, because it serves as the foundation for all key business functions – including branding.
How: Once they have clarified why they do what they do, they must establish how they do it. In other words, they must create a value proposition that helps set them apart from the competition.
What: Lastly, companies need to identify the “what” – what they do or offer. This is often the easiest part, for companies. However, it must be closely aligned with their why and their how, in order to be successful.
It’s simple: company identity translates to brand identity. Without a core identity to build upon, companies lack a solid foundation for building their brand.
Step 2: Identify brand disconnect and create alignment in customer perceptions.
Branding hinges on customer perceptions. Therefore, when evaluating branding, companies should identify brand disconnect and create alignment in consumer perception. Businesses can leverage key market metrics, as well as conversations with employees and consumers, to gather the data needed to ensure that customers perceive a brand as intended.
Market Metrics: When it comes to brand identity, it’s important for businesses to collect data related to brand awareness, sentiment, and equity. Brand awareness measures how many people know about a particular brand, while brand sentiment measures how a brand makes people feel. Brand equity appraises the ultimate value that a brand’s identity brings– both to customers and to the company itself. Capturing and evaluating each of these metrics can help a company understand how well its brand identity fares in the marketplace.
Conversations with Customers and Employees: Data speaks volumes, but so do people themselves. When evaluating a brand’s identity, it is important for companies to consult directly with their employees and customers. Having an open dialogue about how a brand is perceived can be beneficial in generating brand innovation, while retaining a brand’s roots and authenticity.
Customer perception is the cornerstone of successful branding. At the end of the day, companies must identify brand disconnect and work to promote alignment between who a brand is and how its customers perceive it.
Step 3: Connect branding to a deliberate marketing strategy.
Once a brand’s identity has been established, it’s time to translate that vision into a marketing strategy. To do this, companies should create goals and deadlines for their branding initiatives, and they should ensure these goals are aligned with both the organization’s growth strategy and the competitor landscape. Next, they should ensure there is alignment, integration, and consistency in their messaging– after all, consistency is key when it comes to creating and reinforcing a recognizable brand identity. Lastly, companies should intentionally cultivate brand visibility by considering their target audience and strategically positioning themselves to appeal to them.
Taking brand identity and turning it into a strategy not only promotes accountability, but it also solidifies a shared vision that can promote the success of a branding campaign.
The Time to Evaluate Your Branding is Now
While the power of branding is often under-estimated, the benefits of a strong branding campaign cannot go unnoticed. Not only do businesses benefit from developing and conveying a clear, consistent brand identity, but industry demands require companies to proactively evaluatie their branding. While branding efforts differ across industries and companies, one thing remains clear: the time to evaluate your branding is now.
For businesses who are interested in learning more about branding, Madison Taylor Marketing offers helpful resources and services. Check out our Principles of Branding Guide for more information.