Many people have a hard time conceptualizing both the effect branding has on their business and the return on investment (ROI) of it. Even some designers have trouble explaining the importance of branding too. Also, different people have different opinions on how branding can affect business and a company’s bottom line.
Today, in this post, I will give you many ideas on how important branding can be. I will also relate it back to ROI as well. At time point, I’ll even give you some KPI ideas to look into too. I’ve got you.
Branding is the foundation
Let me just say right now that branding is a lot more than just pretty colors and cool typography. Branding is meant to develop the identity of a company to something tangible, recognizable, and, ideally, relatable to your customers. Yes, visual elements such as logos and colours are part of branding, but it goes a lot deeper than that.
Specifically, branding goes deep into the core of the company to figure out who the company is, what it stands for, why should anyone care about it. Then, it provides a guide on how to express all through graphics, visuals, message, tone, emotions and so on.
A strong brand is not the only thing that will help a company make a sale, of course. There is so much more that goes into making a purchase such as product quality, customer need, trust and so on… However, great and strong branding will lay a foundation for everything else such as user and customer experience, packaging, messaging, trust, consistency and so on…
So, what happens once the foundation has been set?
You must know who you are
The next reason that branding is essential is its power to create trust. Let’s face it, strong brands are for companies who have their shit together. Would you buy something, anything, from a company that has a confusing message? A company that can’t seem to pick a feature to upsell? A company that appears to be unprofessional? Yeah, I didn’t think so.
It’s for companies who know who they are, what they stand for, and what they have to offer to their customers. A strong band helps the customer see that the company believes in their own offering albeit it a product, service or a subscription. All of the put together also means that such a brand appears to be a professional company that can be trusted.
Billie is a beautiful example of a company that has it’s shit together, appears professional, trustworthy and has a great product. Why? Because Billie is the kind of company that has a consistent visual style, message, emotional tone, and values. They are consistent on their website, on their social media and in their product. They go beyond to make sure the razors are of excellent quality, and so is the packaging it’s delivered in. You’d think something silly or minuscule as a delivery box doesn’t matter, but it does; it contributes to a customer’s experience a customer has with the company and therefore is an extension of the brand.
All of this put together builds trust, and quickly too. All of Billie’s efforts make their customers so happy, they brag about it willingly to their friends in person and strangers through social media; that’s beautiful brand loyalty. Most importantly, these companies are focused. All thanks to through rough branding.
These companies make a clear emotional connection with you right away. As you engage with them more by purchasing their product, following them on social media or calling customer service, you experience more and more of their brand and create an even greater of an emotional connection with them. (In a nutshell, that’s how you build brand loyalty, by the way.) Whereas companies such as like Bethpage FCU, WordPress, Emergen-C, or Google’s Play Music lack such strong emotional connection.
The thing is, according to Gensler Brand Engagement study, 94% of respondents said they would be highly likely to recommend a brand they were emotionally engaged with.
Between Billie and Bethpage FCU, you can clearly see the superiority of a well thought out branding by your first impression of each company. You can clearly see which company provokes an emotional response and which ones don’t.
What’s the ROI here?
Companies with strong and thorough branding appear more professional, trustworthy and reliable. That means more conversions, signups, and sales.
ROI of branding can be measured the same way design or marketing could be. But, for branding, you’d have to look at the numbers as a whole. There are some KPIs to look over that are more directly related to branding such as traffic, NPS and word of mouth reach, SEO boost, social engagement, external links, earned media returning customers, content shares to start with.
A great brand is always consistent in everything. That’s important, crucial even because 90% of consumers expect their experience to be consistent across all channels and devices used to interact with brands. Don’t forget that marketing, promotions, sales, customer service, social media, etc. are all an extension of your brand. That’s why 60% of American millennials expect consistent experiences when dealing with brands online, in-store, or by phone. Consistency is key!
When the message and content you put out becomes inconsistent it will cost you money. The most significant negative impact of inconsistent brand usage is the creation of confusion in the market. This means you’re distracting people from making a sale and are shooting yourself in the foot as far as earning revenue.
Brand loyalty is like a superpower
We all know its true that return customers are cheaper than new customers. Brand loyalty happens when your customers want to buy from you again and again, no matter what. They wait for your new product, and cannot shut up about it. The anticipation is real. The best example of this, of course, is Apple. People just cannot get enough of that company! That’s all thanks to their strong brand. People wait in line for days to be able to buy the next announced Apple product in person. Imagine if they did that for your product release? 😏
I’ve got one more thing for you to consider. What about hiring employees or contractors? People want to work for great companies too; they flock to great companies. It’s not easy to get a job at a company like Uber, Facebook or, also, Apple. One reason for this is the sheer amount of people who want to work for them at any given time. They can be as picky as they want to be.
Hiring can be not only tiring but also expensive. The CMO Council says that 90% of US marketing and human resources leaders say brand persona is key to hiring new staff (and keeping customers). That’s the power of branding my friend. Don’t you ever think again it’s just pretty colors, okay?
Do a quick audit of your company’s brand. Take a good look at how consistent it is across all of your channels in its messaging, tone, content, visuals and emotion. Then sit down and think about what kind of brand you’d want for your company to have. I just proved to you that branding has fantastic ROI so go ahead and hire a designer to give you a brand that your company should have.