What is Branding? Plus 3 More Truths You Can’t Afford to Ignore
Have you ever heard of buzzwords like “Branding” or “Brand Authority” get tossed around? Some talk about them like they are a wonder cure for many marketing problems and others roll their eyes at these Mad Men-esque, empty, cliché marketing terms. Well I’m here to tell you that it’s…neither! Let me explain, a branding strategy can have a positive and substantial on any marketing campaign IF it is defined properly and given the right rules for a branding guideline. Here are 4 truths to add to your branding guide or branding strategy.
1. What is Branding?
Do you have a nickname that has stuck over the years? Hopefully it’s one that you don’t mind having. But good or bad, we almost always have very little say in the nicknames that stick. Others around us choose that for us and decide what sticks. They watch our actions, our personality, what we say and give a nickname based on our public-facing self. Your branding authority works the same way.
If you’re looking for a dictionary answer, here’s the best way to put it from Forbes:
“…in conceptualizing a definition of brand authority, it’s useful to think of it as a company’s perceived expertise within an industry or topic. If the public accepts a company as a legitimate expert within their field, then we can say the company has brand authority…That isn’t to say that your company’s brand authority is out of your hands — in fact, the opposite is true. It’s all in your hands, but it takes time to develop and is something you must consistently demonstrate.”
Brand authority refers to the trust a brand has earned among customers and the degree to which they see your brand as a subject-matter expert. Moral of the story: when it comes to your company, you can control your nickname (brand authority) to a certain point. You just need to be intentional and consistent.
2. Design Can’t Be an Afterthought
Your brand’s logo and overall design is the face of your business. The design should tell your audience “This (design/logo/image) is a part of (your company name)”. It’s about more than just being cool or trendy, it should be a bridge to your authority and credibility.
From logo to website and everywhere in between, make sure it’s beautiful, easy to read and navigate, and consistent across the board. When you establish authority in the industry and then combine it with a consistent design aesthetic, you create trust with customers among your competitors.
3. Talk like an outsider
Not many branding guides mention this. It’s sometimes difficult to get our heads out of the work that we are in every day, look at it from 10,000 feet and think about the potential customer who is uneducated about your product and services. They want the “layman’s term”, they don’t like to be confused. The longer they don’t understand, the more likely you will lose their trust and attention.
Remover insider and industry specific words from your website, business cards, print pieces, and your own vocabulary.
4. Craft and Share Helpful Content
In the words of Neil Patel:
“Awesome content will show fans of your industry that you know your stuff and therefore are the brand to go with for their business needs.”
On a measurable and practical level, search engines like Google eat up new and updated content on websites. So if you are consistently posting blogs, this will drive up your domain authority! Great content, like tutorials, how-to guides, videos…etc. are also great for social sharing. This builds traffic and a two way relationship with your audience where you are giving helpful content. If you are consistent in sharing helpful content, you will build trust and credibility and open the door to ask for something in return on occasion with a much better response than if your social media account was just a giant catalog of products and services.