You probably already know your brand is more than just your logo. It’s how you look and sound, what you say, and how you behave—and it’s the story people hear, or are told, when they interact with any point of your business or organisation. So, yes, brand is powerful. But how specifically can your brand make or break your business?
Quality is a great place to start because everybody values it, even when they are price driven. To do business with you means your customer is hoping or expecting you’ll live up to a quality expectation, regardless of how much you cost. Your reliability and trustworthiness shine through in the quality of your branding—its professional design, messaging, imagery, and product and service delivery suggest a lot about the quality of your business.
2. Subliminal messages
You may not realise how much your brand says about you. Just like quality, your brand communicates subtle cues on your character, your way of working, and whether you are quirky, fun, classy or expensive. For example, think about how much a restaurant’s brand reputation relies on subtle cues—like the dining room’s ambiance, menu design or willingness to cater to dietary requirements. Like it or not, customers subliminally build cues into an overall positive or negative perception of your brand. And if your brand is giving off the wrong message, it will damage your business by attracting the wrong people or repelling the right ones.
3. Clarity of offering
Does your brand say what you do? How many more customers could quickly understand your offering and start working with you if you made it easier to understand your product or service offering, from even just a name and tagline? And when you have sub-brands, good ‘brand architecture’ helps people understand how it all fits together, clears up confusion and makes it easier for customers to find what they want in your offering.
4. Your people
Brand is not just for your customers. Your own people respond, both consciously and subconsciously, in many ways to your brand and draw a lot of meaning, value and purpose from what your brand is about. They can represent and deliver your brand experience. You can develop an ‘employer brand’, which is usually an extension of the main brand. Shape it to suit your inhouse story, guide your culture and boost engagement, ownership and recruitment in tight labour markets.
How many times have you enjoyed a TV commercial—only to forget what brand was advertising? Bringing a brand experience isn’t enough. You need to be found and remembered by name. Whether or not you’re advertising digitally, it’s not actually all about the click. URLs still get keyed in manually, especially from non-digital advertising or other brand touchpoints, and the right name must be easy to remember and type.
What makes you stand out from your competition? Every business needs to stand out, even if that manifests differently for each. Looking unique, showing the potential to offer something the others don’t and being the specific solution to a customer’s needs: It all helps to sell the business. And while this sounds more like marketing, brand is key to giving marketing a distinctive story to tell.
7. Competitive advantage
Are you using any of the above to give your brand a competitive advantage? If your competition is doing better at any or all of the above, then you’re giving them the advantage and will lose business to them. Conversely, investing in brand will give you the edge.
Never forget: Even if you don’t see anything wrong with your brand, your staff and customers might have a different perspective. Getting an unfiltered opinion from them could help you make powerful changes to your brand and, in turn, your business.