For those just starting out in the world of online business, creating a strong brand identity can be a considerable challenge. Your branding defines your business and provides the primary impression that prospective clients have of your service. That makes it critical to craft — and maintain — a branding strategy that keeps your business at the top of customers’ and colleagues’ minds.
Let’s take a look at some of the main reasons online businesses should focus on branding, then explore some of the best resources for beginners seeking to build a strong brand.
Why Strong Branding Matters
It’s no secret that building brand loyalty is key to developing a lasting relationship with customers. Though there are many factors that contribute to this loyalty, strong branding plays a critical role. A distinct brand identity makes your business clearly recognizable, which makes it easier to earn the multiple impressions necessary to building a loyal following.
Have you heard of the halo effect? It describes a type of cognitive bias that makes us predisposed to correlate one aspect of a person or business with another, seemingly unrelated, aspect. In this case, it means that when people think positively of your branding, they’re more likely to think highly of the goods or services you provide.
This makes it so your branding can affect how your customers perceive your final product before they even make a purchase. Does your site provide a positive user experience, right from the beginning? Attention has to be given to every aspect of the way users discover and interact with your brand. The flip side of this phenomenon is that no matter how good your product or service is, if the branding is poor, your entire business risks being perceived as such.
Crafting an Excellent Brand
In order to stand out from the competition in a compelling way, there are certain best practices that a brand should abide by. The following tips can get you started in the right direction.
- Be clear about your brand purpose. Every business has to be in touch with “what” they do and “how” they do it. A strong brand, however, has to also be clear about why they do what they do. When you can communicate this “why,” your branding can convey a sense of purpose beyond your product alone.
- Know your target market. The more you know about your target market, the better you can speak their language. Delivering content that is highly relevant to your desired audience is critical to converting leads into sales.
- Stand out. What makes your brand stand out from the competition? A unique, iconic logo can increase your recognizability, no matter where it’s found. For example, imbuing your branding with a signature color can improve your brand recognition by up to 80%.
- Tell a story. Having a clear narrative can help consumers feel personally connected with your brand. Let your audience know how you came to realize your brand’s purpose. If they resonate with your story, they’ll be more likely to show brand loyalty.
Finding Qualified Branding Partners
Between logo, website, and product design, there can be a lot of moving parts when it comes to presenting an effective and consistent brand image — especially when you’re just starting out. First impressions are important, which makes it a good idea to hit the ground running with a strong branding strategy, even if your business is still in its infancy.
About the author:
Gabriel Shaoolian is an entrepreneur and founder of DesignRush.com, a B2B marketplace connecting brands with agencies. Shaoolian previously built a global digital agency that successfully grew numerous brands online.