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Build a brand for your business to win more potential customers online

Back to all resources

Build a brand for your business to win more potential customers online

Key take-aways

Today, it's harder than ever for businesses to stand out online. Potential customers have a wide range of buying options and business owners often have only a few seconds to catch someone's attention. With a differentiated look, feel and purpose, your business can become more memorable and stand a greater chance of being found. So how do you go about creating a strong brand for your business?

1. The difference between marketing and branding

2. Creating a strong brand for your business

3. How to leverage your brand for impact

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If a business can't instantly communicate what it stands for, what it does and what experiences it offers, potential customers will quickly move on.

1. The difference between marketing and branding

A brand is a name, design, or service mark that explains to potential customers how a business is unique. Think of it as your business's personality.

Marketing is the process of defining your potential customer and reaching out to them with communication with assets such as emails, flyers, or digital ads, to eventually generate a sale. Marketing is often confused with branding. Before a business owner can write an email or design an ad, they should decide what to say and how to say it. That's branding—the marketing pre-work where a business defines features like its logo, tone of voice, font, colours to represent it.

Branding is a necessity offline, but it's just as important to invest in online branding too. The human attention span is short and, as a result, many potential customers may navigate away from a page if they don't find what they are looking for within a few seconds. If a business can't instantly communicate what it stands for, what it does, and what experience it offers—in other words, its brand—prospects might just move on.

Customers form relationships with brands, grow loyal to them, search for them , and become more likely to make future purchases. From a business perspective, brands accrue value over time and powerfully branded companies tend to be more successful than their competitors—which is exactly why branding is so important.

What is company branding?

A brand is a name, design, or service mark that explains to potential customers how your business is unique. Think of it as your business's personality and identity.

2. Creating a strong brand for your business

A logo, tagline and colour scheme alone do not constitute a brand—a brand needs a unique perspective too. Businesses should decide what it stands for before it can know what to look or sound like. Retailers, for example, might begin by asking themselves what makes their brand unique. Does the business offer higher-quality goods, better service, or lower prices than its competitors? What change does the company want to see in the world or marketplace?

A useful way for business owners to discover their brand is to write 50-100 adjectives on notecards and spread them around the floor. Then sort them into two piles: those words that define the brand and those that don't. From the pile of notecards that define the brand, are there any common themes? If so, those adjectives describe your brand.

Once a business knows what it stands for, it can decide on its branding assets like logos and colour schemes. For example, if you decide your brand is friendly and helpful, you can use that to choose a welcoming colour scheme.

When creating a brand, simplicity is key. Because consumers have so many options and devote so little time to each message they encounter, a brand may be more effective if it can be communicated in as little as a few words, colours or images.

3. How to leverage your brand for impact

Once you've defined your brand identity, you can adopt these few strategies to make the most of it:

Stay consistent

If simplicity is key, then consistency is king. The point of a brand is for potential customers to recognise your business as distinct from others. The more a business deviates from its brand, say by using a different typeface in its brick and mortar signage and its e-commerce site, the more that brand is diluted. Potential customers may feel confused. They'll wonder if the two are related and they'll hesitate to make purchases because they won't know whether the great experience they've had with one applies to the other.

Expose consumers to your brand

Expose consumers to your brand as much as possible. The same principles that apply to radio, television, and billboard advertising also apply online—it takes many encounters or “impressions" for consumers to take notice of a business. Businesses with strong branding stand a better chance of being noticed and the more they expose consumers to digital interactions such as social media posts and digital ads, the more opportunity the company has to become known by consumers.

Try to offer genuine value

Build your brand around offering value to consumers. Brands that genuinely attempt to help customers can build better relationships with them. Some companies do this through a blog where they offer news, tips, and insights. This gives consumers a positive impression of the brand. Some may share their positive experience with their friends, make purchases, and help grow the business by becoming a brand cheerleader.

Summary

With so much competition online, it's more important than ever to have a strong brand. By defining what you stand for and how you present yourself, you build a positive perception that has the potential to translate directly into customer traffic and sales. You don't have to be a branding expert to get started, but if you want to be found, get going right away.

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