When it comes to success as a business, defining your brand is a major key (thanks, DJ Khaled). Your brand is a differentiator to help you stand out from the crowd – it’s what makes you…you! Having clear, concise branding can avoid confusion and comparison, increase customer loyalty and establish trust and credibility within your target audience.
Let’s say you own and operate a coffee shop. Since 74% of Americans reportedly drink coffee, there’s bound to be more than one coffee shop in your area. As a coffee drinker, this is great news – as a coffee shop owner, not so much. What can you do to attract customers?
Whether it’s a memorable logo, clever social media posts or a stylish interior, all of these elements work together to create your brand. For example, Chick-fil-A employees are known for saying “my pleasure” when thanked – and yes, this is a part of their brand! While it seems small, this is a differentiator that causes Chick-fil-A to stand out in the fast food industry and has become a part of their identity. Once you figure out what makes your business unique, find a way to use it as your best asset.
Once you determine your differentiator, it’s time to get organized. Compile all versions of your logo, hex codes for colors and a list of fonts, preferred language for social media and marketing materials, and other things you find important to your brand. This will help create consistent messaging and a recognizable look when viewed by customers. Compare Starbucks and Dunkin’ – both are known for their coffee but have different logos, brand colors and preferred language utilized across all channels to create a cohesive brand image. You’ll never see a Starbucks ad and confuse it with Dunkin’. Consider the same principles when defining your brand.
Building customer loyalty can take years. In fact, it’s estimated it takes at least five purchases for a consumer to be considered a loyal customer. However, having an established brand can make this conversion a little easier.
A definitive brand can personify your business, allowing customers to connect on a personal level. This can build relationships and create connections encouraging repeat business. Additionally, a well-established brand can create a sense of trust among current and potential customers. Someone is more likely to choose to dine at a restaurant with a social media presence, website and positive reviews than one without.
At the heart of every business is its brand. Creating a clear identity is a step in the right direction to building a successful business, attracting new customers and retaining current ones, and carving a place for yourself amongst the crowd. It doesn’t have to be expensive to build or refine your brand, but it is important it speaks to your business as a whole – what it is and what you want it to be.