When founders and decision-makers compare the possible business investments for the year, a rebrand or at minimum brand positioning is often one of them. Some may be tempted to put branding in the non-revenue-generating bucket and de-prioritize the work. That can be a costly mistake.
As we talk to leaders and teams, one of the biggest challenges we hear is that they don’t know how to show their audiences what they do. That means that they do not have the brand foundations in place to articulate their value in the right way, at the right time, to the right people.
If you don’t know how to talk about what you do, your audience won’t understand it either and won’t see the value. That means that you are losing out on opportunities to increase your revenue because confused people do not invest.
So, while many decision-makers think of things like marketing assets, websites, promotional events, or other “sales-focused marketing” activities, they are missing out on the biggest opportunity to refine + expand their brand so all of those ideas work.
My goal here is to help you see just how important your brand is to generating sales and maintaining your brand reputation so that your business is sustainable.
Branding Allows You To Establish Credibility
There are new and growing businesses emerging every day as thought leaders. If your brand hasn’t done the work to establish itself as one that is unique and valuable in a way others aren’t, you’re already behind the curve.
The important thing to remember when it comes to standing out amongst your competitors is that you need to build trust and respect with your ideal audience.
Know, Like, Trust
When ideal customers and clients can relate to and resonate with your brand, they are far more likely to purchase from you. Building trust is critical when it comes to
Don’t you want your audience to get just as excited about the change you’re creating and impact you’re making as you are? There’s a way to do that.
But, they have to know your brand and it’s mission exists, resonate with it, and believe in it wholeheartedly. Sounds like a lot of work sometimes, but it’s worth it.
Let’s talk about building the coveted Know, Like, Trust factor into your brand.
Professional Brands Are More Credible
First impressions are important. When it comes to the first impression your audience has that forms the perception of your brand, you want to make a good – and lasting – impression.
That means that your message, visuals, and vibe all need to be aligned, cohesive, appealing to your audience, and relevant to your brand.
We once reviewed a private jet charter service website that looked like a high school design project. The logos were even pixelated. Can you imagine considering hiring a company like this for multiple 5-6 figures per booking? I’d be pretty skeptical.
Your image needs to match your brand’s standard of quality. If you refuse to invest in your own brand to present a professional image, people will be hesitant to invest in your solutions.
Clarity + Conviction In Branding Builds Authority
When we talk about clarity in branding we’re referring to the ability to articulate who you are, what you do, and who you do it for. You have to be able to speak with conviction when it comes to your experience around solving problems for your ideal audience.
In order to sell your products or services, you first have to be completely bought into what you’re doing. Any confusion on your part or hesitancy to own your expertise will come across in your message.
For this reason, I often help clients build out signature frameworks and messaging hierarchies around their unique solutions and viewpoints.
When leaders are able to speak with clarity and conviction, marketing and sales become easier. The brands that rise to the top of referral and recommendations lists are those with the most authority in the subject matter.
Well-developed Branding Eliminates Audience Confusion
No matter who your audience is (buyers, partners, stakeholders, referrers, or otherwise), if you confuse them, you won’t win business from them.
I’ve been the one seeking to hire or invest, frustrated and overwhelmed after sifting through dozens of providers or contractors who don’t make it obvious how they can help me or how I can take the next step.
I can’t tell you how many times someone has asked me to refer work to them when I don’t feel that I can. Why? Usually, I have no idea how to refer work to them because it is not clear exactly what they do and who they do it for in a way that is compelling. For most of these people, I’m not even sure who exactly they serve.
I’ll say it again – a confused audience does not buy. Here’s what you need to know…
Clear Purpose + Promise Helps People Understand What’s In It For Them
For socially-minded businesses especially, you have to be able to bring your mission and profits together to share a bigger Purpose that people will care about.
Your philosophy and promise will guide all that you do, so it’s important to make sure you understand what your unique take on your industry is and how you will use your thoughts about your position to make an unbreakable promise to those you serve.
What is your brand philosophy? What do you believe? What do you hold true about your vision, purpose, or ideal clients or audience members?
How can you use that philosophy to make an unbreakable promise to your dream clients that will help them trust and grow loyal to you?
Knowing the answers to these questions will help you clarify the unique value your brand provides.
Presenting Offers Well Helps Ideal Customers Self-identify
Not only do you have to be able to articulate your solutions and value for your overall brand, but you need to have a way to present each of your solutions and/or services to your audience with clarity as well.
Although you may be able to voice the value of your overall brand, your offer articulation may be less clear across products or services.
As your brand grows, offers change, and new offers are created, there can be growing confusion around which offers are right for audience segments at different stages.
If you’re getting a lot of questions about the difference between your products or services or noticing a trend of decision overwhelm among your prospective buyers, it’s likely that you haven’t done enough to differentiate and articulate individual solutions.
That’s when it’s time to focus on developing messaging and visual hierarchies for your offers.
Consistent Visual Identity Elements Create Cognitive Connections
Your messaging is not the only element that requires hierarchies within your overall brand. Your products or services should also maintain consistent visual branding and have clear branding for each product or service.
Aligned and consistent visuals across your brand presence will result in brand recognition and recall – meaning when someone sees a product or service of yours and is familiar with your brand, they’ll recognize it as yours.
This consistency and alignment will further support the credibility, authority, and trust in your brand from ideal consumers.
Branding Builds A Bridge Between Your Business + Your Audience
Surface-level marketing is no longer enough for the modern consumer. This is the age of the “woke” consumer – and people are holding businesses responsible now more than ever for direct impact and change.
This is a great thing if you have a social impact business because you have the ability to connect with prospective buyers in a way that other businesses can’t.
However, your message can’t be developed from a place of feigned concern. You need clarity around your business’s values and how your solutions actually impact those you serve.
Brands Aligned With Company + Ideal Audience Values Are Relatable
One of the things we do with clients during the brand strategy process is to develop a client matrix, outlining the goals and values of both the consumer of the business and the business itself. In this matrix, we connect the dots between company and consumer so that it is easier to create positioning, messaging, and marketing initiatives.
Building a company-focused values statement or branding is one-sided. It will leave the prospective buyer wondering what’s in it for them.
However, building a consumer-focused brand will leave a business with an image that is more generalized and less unique.
Building a brand that is centered around how the two connect is a win-win situation that leaves a lasting and positive impression on prospective buyers who need to see themselves in the solution but also want to connect with the brand on a human level.
Values-aligned branding encourages people to support the mission.
Powerful Positioning Helps People See The Unique Value Offered
Making sure your brand grows with you will support your vision and ensure that you continue to align with the right clients and customers. Your positioning is the critical piece of the strategy that will be the deciding factor for ideal buyers.
Benefits to a brand positioning strategy:
- BUILD credibility and integrity
- EARN respect and trust
- RAISE AWARENESS of your brand & grow your audience
- COMMAND HIGHER RATES by having a more credible brand
- DIFFERENTIATE stand out from other solutions to your prospect’s problem
Having weak positioning will result in your brand blending in, making it more challenging for your prospective buyer to make the right decision. If a competitor has a better way of explaining the unique value they offer, your prospective buyer will go with their solution.
Clear Messaging Builds Connection Between Your Company + Customers
People won’t know if your values align with theirs unless you tell them. Everything you put out in connection to your brand should align with its values, purpose, and promise. Your key messaging and marketing efforts should reflect your brand’s core identity and help cultivate the belief people have in you.
It’s helpful to include keywords and phrases that will be used consistently throughout your brand, both for cornerstone content and marketing messaging. Some other elements in your messaging that are important to define clearly are your:
- Brand values and personality traits
- The voice and tone that will represent your brand
- Unique Brand Value statement
- Brand purpose, philosophy, and the promise you are making to your audience
- Your brand stories
The right branding team will help you create these messaging guidelines and continue connecting to your ideal clients and customers.
Branding That Is Aligned With Your Values + Vision Builds A Positive Reputation
Consumers care about much more than the product or service they’re searching for. When brands can communicate the value of their rich brand in a simple way, they win.
Here are some revealing statistics related to how consumers think when it comes to social issues and business:
- 72% of consumers want to purchase from brands that represent their values
- Consumers want to buy from socially conscious brands, but only 40% can name a brand that is socially conscious
- 1/3 of consumers will stop buying from a brand if they lose trust and 1/3 of consumers stopped buying from a big brand in 2019 because they lost trust in it.
Once your reputation takes a hit, it’s extremely difficult to recover. However, the more your team spends time intentionally building your brand and reputation, the less likely it will be that your brand is negatively impacted. Further, a strong brand reputation centered around your values will earn you a wider audience of brand advocates.
Relatability And Trust Are Created When Brands Uphold Values
We all remember the Nike/Kaepernick experience that has continued to shape the way brands stand up for their values. TL;DR version: Nike backed up Kaepernick’s personal decision to take a stand and continues to build alliances with others who advocate for social justice.
When leaders and teams decide that social impact is more important than “professionalism” and fear, they ultimately earn loyalty from those who align with their values and lose audience segments who don’t.
That is the #1 goal of branding, by the way – attract aligned audiences, and repel ill-fitting ones.
Buying decisions are led by emotion, then backed by logic. So, consumers purchase and stick with brands that appeal to their emotions in an authentic way.
When Brands Maintain Their Standards, Reputation Is Strengthened
In summation, the brands that are values-driven and maintain their high standards of integrity outperform and outlast others.
If you’ve been weighing what to invest in next for your business, don’t leave brand initiatives off the table. Investing in brand strategy and ongoing brand management can ultimately lead to more revenue, more impact, and in the end, a legacy for your business.
Not sure where to start when it comes to reimagining how your brand is showing up and building a reputation for itself? Get the Visionary Scale Method retreat kit and take your team through a transformative exercise.