What is a Brand and Why is it Important?

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What is a Brand?

What is a brand? Beyond being one of the most popular buzzwords in marketing, a brand is a snapshot of the personality of a company, business, or other entity. A brand is who you are as a business.

Brands are more than just a recognizable name; a brand can also include personality, public perceptions, values, and presentation. Take pop star Taylor Swift. She has created a brand image that has changed from a wholesome girl-next-door to an empowered #girlsquad fierce woman. Taylor’s brand includes her product (her music and lyrics), social media interactions, public perception, wardrobe, and presentation. Taylor’s brand is her public personality.

Much like public figures, companies also have brand personalities, such as McDonald’s (family-friendly and wholesome) and GoDaddy.com (edgy and a little sexy). These brand personalities convey the purpose of the company and aim to tell the story behind the company. Cultivating a brand involves carefully controlling the perception of the company, business, or entity and personifying it.

Why is Brand Important?

Developing a cohesive brand for your business puts a face to your company. Branding allows the business to develop a relationship with its customers. In fact, giving a personality to your business makes it easier to interact one-on-one with customers. 

Considering that consumers vote with their wallets, buyers are moving away from businesses that simply provide product-for-money and towards businesses that consumers resonate with personally. Consumer resonance is achieved when businesses support the same values and ideals as the consumer. 

After the economic crisis of 2008-2010, the powerful Millenial buying generation developed a mistrust of big businesses and faceless corporations, initiating the trend towards a more personal relationship with brands and closer to local businesses. With the rise of social media, brands and consumers have become more interconnected. Gone are the more traditional advertisements of TV commercials and direct mail, and instead, a softer approach has emerged, one that places the brand and the consumer as equals that interact.

The importance, therefore, of building a brand is to portray your business in a way that’s relatable to consumers and encourages them to purchase from you, not just your goods or services.

The Importance of Consistent Brand Identity

A brand identity is necessary in order to give customers an understandable vision of your personality and viewpoint. Without an identity, the brand is unrelatable, and it’s difficult for customers to relate to you. Once established, the brand identity should be especially relatable to the target customer or customers for your business. It’s part of “speaking their language” and engaging with customers in a relatable manner that encourages them to click that “pay” button.

Without a cohesive, consistent brand identity, it’s also hard for customers to relate to you because they aren’t sure who you’ll be from one day to the next. While your brand identity should be adaptable for different forms of social media – short and to the point on Twitter, full of pictorials in Instagram, longer text posts on Facebook – there should still be those identifiable aspects of your brand that make you consistent.

Branding - Managing Expectations

The brand of your business is a snapshot of what you have to offer. Consistency with branding demonstrates that your product or service will consistently adhere to your brand message. Brand identity should remain consistent in your social media posts, on your website, and with the way that your employees interact with your customers. This builds trust in your brand. Customers can rely on you to deliver what you say you will, and expect to get a certain kind of experience.

McDonald’s is the perfect example. It’s not the most delicious hamburger ever made, and it’s not the healthiest food, either. However, when you walk into a McDonald’s in California, Utah, Florida, or Vermont, you know what the items will taste like and the value you’ll get for your money. McDonald’s has spent decades building a family-friendly brand that delivers a consistent product in a familiar setting. The company’s brand uses an established pattern of advertising, coupled with consistent products and a consistent level of service. McDonald’s manages customer expectations with cohesive branding. While it’s one of the largest companies on the planet, it doesn’t try to make itself something it’s not.

The same can be said for a small business’s brand, too. A small business brand starts with the purpose of the business and builds a public persona around that purpose to create a brand identity. Consistency – saying the same thing and delivering the same product day in and day out – is the first step of building a trustworthy brand.

Consistency between your communication with customers, the way that your employees interact with them, and a consistent, purposeful brand message all serve to create a personality for your brand, and one that customers can rely on.

When customers know they can depend on consistent, relatable service, they’ll return. Building return customers depends on your ability, as the chief brand ambassador, to develop consistency. This means that you have a reliable brand and one that customers feel confident about coming back to.

Consistent and Authentic Brands Inspire Trust

Along with consistency, authenticity is the next step in managing the expectations of your brand. Consider again, Taylor Swift – her brand voice is reflective of her public persona. She writes songs about boyfriends and disagreements with friends. These are both relatable to her audience and a reflection of her public life. 

Authentic brands are transparent in their dealings with the public. The brand will respond to online reviews – both good and bad – as well as establish an openness that encourages customers to come forward with a complaint, knowing that they can trust the brand to provide fair resolution, whether it’s a replacement product, a discount and invitation to come back after a poor experience, or simply just that the brand acknowledges a suggestion or concern. Being open with your customers contributes to the trustworthiness of your brand, and establishes your business as one that can be counted on.

Beyond Branding - Company Culture of Your Brand

Consistency, authenticity, and trustworthiness are then all communicated through company culture. Using social media to feature star employees or to post short “behind the scenes” video clips gives your consumers insight into the day-to-day operation of your company. This communicates openness and encourages relationships and viewer engagement.

The perception consumers have of your brand isn’t the only value of a solid, coherent brand. Your potential customers may also be potential employees, so branding that encapsulates your purpose also attracts employees that share your company values and philosophy. When you have buy-in from employees, it elevates the customer experience, putting the focus on the needs of the consumer and helping build valuable relationships between customer and business.

Final Thoughts

Building your brand is important to establish your business as trustworthy. A brand also helps you maintain consistency and deliver customer interactions that encourage loyal, repeat business. Arguably the most important point to consider, your brand conveys your purpose and your values which is essential in today’s business culture.

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Chapter 1: Getting started

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Chapter 2: Coronavirus Cyberattack Statistics

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Chapter 3: General Cybersecurity Statistics

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Chapter 4: Phishing & Email Attack Statistics

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Chapter 5: Industry Cybersecurity Statistics

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Chapter 6: Privacy Statistics

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Chapter 7: Privacy Statistics

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Chapter 8: Privacy Statistics

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