Fundamental, in the Cambridge Dictionary says;
“being the most basic or most important thing on which other things depend“
A successful business depends on strong branding at their core, guiding them through every business decision.
It wasn’t a priority
When you’re first starting a business branding is probably not the first thing on your mind. You’re probably thinking about business plans and financing. But taking the time and setting aside a budget for your branding will definitely save you money down the line, as well as lots of headaches. I regularly encounter established businesses that didn’t see the importance of branding from the beginning. This results in a very confusing business image. One that doesn’t resonate.
Consistency. Full stop.
What makes us trust a business or brand? Let’s use an example where trust really is important, such a bank. When I say AIB, what springs to mind? Probably the colour purple, then their logo, maybe the ‘Backing Brave’ Ads. You probably think, yeah they can be trusted because they are so well known. They’re an instantly recognisable brand. You’ve seen and heard of them everywhere over the years. Yes, they have lots of money for advertising, marketing, etc. But negating all of that, what they are doing right ALL the time, is using consistent branding across all of their touchpoints—in advertisements, on their website, on the front of their banks. Every exposure they have with people they are presenting the same image. And it can be subtle, like on social media posts, but it’s always there, like a full stop at the end of a sentence. This is what makes them stick!
Shooting in the dark
Now, let’s go back to that business that has disregarded the importance of branding. They too are all the time having encounters with customers. But how will they stick in the minds of these customers? Most small businesses go as far as learning how to promote their business on social media. What’s the point in doing these things if you don’t have a brand identity and messaging to use with these ads? Something that makes you memorable. It’s just money down the drain. Your efforts just get lost amongst the noise. Most Ads, even with the likes of AIB don’t necessarily convert, but they are ALWAYS a useful exercise in brand exposure.
Having a Formula
Every encounter a customer has with your business is an opportunity to strengthen customer loyalty and trust. To be remembered. Having well thought out and strategic branding from the beginning will provide you with a formula to use that can be repeated over and over. Giving you a consistent business image and voice that people come to know and trust. Having a strong brand identity from the beginning provides you with the foundation to build your reputation.
So, first deal with the fundamentals, before thinking about doing your website, or renting a premises or doing any advertising.
*You can also read my post, ‘Developing a Formula’, where I breakdown AIB’s brand identity