Branding is your identity. Branding is a preconceived notion of who you are and what you do (and how well you do it) before someone actually invests in your business. Branding is, well, a lot of different things.
Building Your Brand
Branding really starts with marketing, but you need the brand in place before you do anything else--you need some kind of imagery to attach to all that hard marketing work and time. When someone sees a brand--whether it's golden arches, a three-pointed star or a four colored window--they immediately see everything that is attached to that business: your accomplishments, your failures, what you offer, and so on.
Branding & Marketing
Once you have a brand in place, it is the point of marketing to build that brand in a positive way. As time progresses, an effective marketing campaign will have captured an audience and projected the view of your business optimally to them, as well as, easily identifiable through your brand. Individuals will be able to look upon your branding and immediately know what you offer, why they need it and that your the business to get such products and/or services from. This is how a successful brand should work and does if executed properly.
Branding is an Idea
Brands start with a design. This design often implicitly suggests what you do, who you are, and thus, should capture the very essence of your business. Once you have the appropriate graphics (or visuals) in place, it's time to start building your brand. Individuals will perceive your brand by the work that you've done; they will look at reviews, try your products/services, and ask themselves how you compare to your competition. When your competition captures your audiences' interests better than you have, you potentially lose business. A good example of this is Apple and Microsoft, with Apple stepping in and dominating a market at a time when the company seemed quite fragile. That's the power of excellent branding and marketing, and how they can be used to build an idea that helps your business find success. Apple instilled confidence in consumers and played off of their emotions by stating we're new, fresh, cool, advanced, simplistic, clean, unique, creative and if you have an Apple product, you can be all these amazing things too. They did this all while ironically using the forbidden fruit--just a fun thought.
So, how effective is branding? Do you need it? Is your brand where it should be? I think it's safe to say, "yes, you need it." Contact us now to begin answering the other questions.