During my high school years, I always wanted to be like the “cool kids.” They always seemed to have all the fun. Teens go through a phase where they’re just searching for their self-identity and trying to fit in. It rarely worked when I tried to change who I associated with and how I dressed to improve my cool factor.
The problem wasn’t that my lot in life was all that bad. The reality was I had good academic skills, played sports, and participated in virtually every club you could imagine.
Whether I understood it on not, the problem was my branding.
Up to that point in high school, I had spent years cultivating a personal brand of the “dependable smart guy” who hung out with the academic Illuminati. So, trying to be like the cool kids didn’t work well. No one accepted it. And, when you persisted in rebranding yourself that way too long, your teachers thought you were doing drugs or had deep-seated personal issues.
Fortunately for me, and probably my parents, I discontinued that little branding experiment and got back on track.
Businesses are a lot like high schoolers sometimes. They desperately want to fit into people’s lives. But, ultimately, they find that staying true to their established brand is more challenging than they imagined. But well-executed branding is like magic. The companies that remain focused on their brand tend to be more successful.
Everybody wants a good brand.
Every business wants to be publically known and portray an image or persona that everyone knows and understands. However, branding is more than just creating a logo or finding a slogan. It’s about combining branding efforts, both advertising and marketing so that it all comes together naturally for customers. It represents the entirety of everything about your company.
What is Branding?
Branding is partially about designing a visual identity for a company. But, it’s also about creating its personality and values. The process starts with a well-defined strategy and develops through a series of branding campaigns.
A branding strategy defines who the company identifies with, what values it promotes, and how it approaches customers’ emotional connections. On the other hand, a branding campaign refers to specific branding tactics like branding colors, logos, slogans, line extensions, etc.
The brand strategy is essential because businesses can’t produce effective brand campaigns for growth without it. It’s like trying to create a building without a blueprint. Branding campaigns need to stay true to the credit union’s brand perception. It’s all about creating a company persona that customers trust. The goal is to form relationships eventually, but, typically, there needs to be an emotional connection between the customers and the company’s services.
Contradictions in brand follow-through tend to make customers feel betrayed. And, as a result, a customer might stop trusting the products or services offered.
A strong brand strategy doesn’t just make a company remembered in people’s minds; it provides identity, reliability, authority, notoriety, and power over the competition. Additionally, it puts your business ahead of competitors because branding increases sales through advertising and various marketing channels.
When done correctly, branding provides a business with the superpower to increase visibility and create recognition. A strong branding strategy makes consumers feel like they belong to your company’s community. Likewise, your customers feel like you’re talking directly to them.
This emotional connection contributes to growth because people like to buy products or services they can relate to. Branding’s ultimate superpower is customer loyalty. Brand loyalty is a win-win for marketing and advertising departments since business growth and customer retention improve sales and loan volume.
Why Branding Never Ends
Even beyond high school, my branding continued to evolve. I began to dress more appropriately and started acting a little more mature when needed. However, I stayed true to the academic brand I cultivated in high school, and it allowed me to network and improved my career path. Businesses also need to improve their branding while staying on point. It’s necessary to meet the needs of their customers.
Unfortunately, branding isn’t a “once and done” thing. It’s a continual process and an evolution of what the company is and will become. When it starts, branding needs management because it takes time to recognize a brand as something special. There’s also competition from similar products or services, which makes being unique very challenging.
Branding is hard to get right. Get help when you need it.
When I was greener professionally, my branding occasionally failed. There were times when I screwed up or didn’t have the answers to move farther. That’s where colleagues, mentors, and business coaches helped to guide my efforts. Similarly, sometimes even big businesses need help.
Developing a good brand strategy can save your company a lot of time and money. However, it’s a continual process that needs a good foundation and proper management to evolve. Sometimes, having a third party that can view your business from outside the company produces better results and allows you to see things from outside the “company box.”
At Cooperata, we help clients with everything from brand strategy, brand campaigns, and development to creating the support pieces that help fulfill your brand’s promise. So if your brain is hurting trying to figure out the next branding steps, contact us about building a new brand or even rebranding a tired one. We can help.