A recent economic report showed that the country’s economy is slowly but surely improving, which is good news for every business. But regardless of the state of the country, branding is always important.
Ad Week says that when companies pull back their branding and marketing dollars during bleak times, they see a 20-30 percent drop in revenue over the next two to three years. Well, the times aren’t so bleak any more, but businesses should still continue to focus on branding, marketing and advertising efforts to increase revenues and profitability.
Your organization must clarify who it is and what it does, and show customers why they want to buy you and what you are offering. To attract customers who believe what you believe and want to do business with you, you’ve got to set yourself apart from the competition. And that will survive any economy.
Let’s face it: The world is more cluttered than ever, and branding is important, period. Everything is growing and changing—the population, your company’s competition—so your brand should too. It has to be a priority. Otherwise the brand may simply fade away or become irrelevant. If you own a company and want it to grow, you must invest in and grow your brand to maximize its potential.
Here is the main difference between now and two or three years ago: The need for branding has grown so much that the terms branding and marketing have been tossed around like popcorn in a popper. A participant at one of my recent workshops said, “I didn’t know there was such a difference between branding and marketing.” She may not have known there was a distinction, but she certainly knew the term brand, and knew she was supposed to have one.
That’s actually quite common. Many people still don’t know the difference between marketing and branding. Not too many years ago, when I’d talk about branding, only a few people would get it. Now, whether or not it’s needed is no longer part of the conversation. They know they need it. They know they have to invest in their brand to grow their business and stay viable. They just don’t fully understand what branding is or how to go about it.
In fact, many small and mid-size business owners who are now more familiar with the term brand still think it means their logo, or their product. They know they need to brand, so they start with creating a new logo or a new website. Or they are out there imploding with social media efforts or robust advertising campaigns, thinking they are building their brand.
So let’s clarify the confusion, starting with the term brand. Your brand communicates who you are and what you are promising your audience. Here’s where your logo and website come into play. If your brand promise is murky, a new logo or website won’t help you.
Marketing refers to the actions you undertake to help sell your products or services to prospects. Marketing dollars go a lot further when they aren’t diluted with a myriad of different messages.
Start with your brand. Get clear. Uncover your core distinction and brand promise. Communicating a singular brand message will give you more time and money to spend on other things…like playing golf.
And it will pay off. In the current economy—in any economy—brand-building is a great investment.