Businesses have always looked for a competitive edge. Your customers are bombarded with thousands of messages every day. So what makes you stand out from your competitors?
One thing is for sure, your competition is looking at new and creative ways to get an advantage over you, such as:
- Changing their pricing structure to be more competitive.
- Providing extra services beyond what you currently do.
- Creating value for potential customers by sharing industry knowledge.
What are you doing to counteract these strategies from your competition? Are you thinking of lowering your prices when you know that isn't a practical solution? Will adding new services strain your already limited resources?
One way to make sure you stay ahead of the competition is to give your brand a fair evaluation. But, what does it mean to check your branding?
You might be thinking that your company's logo doesn't need re-done because you like it the way it is, but that's not what I'm talking about. The logo is a piece of your brand.
In this article, we explain the importance of organizational branding.
You might think of us as "just a uniform company." But we think of ourselves as brand builders. We want to help a business outfit it's employees, sure. But we also want to help a business build its brand. And an organizational brand is bigger than a logo. It's the way an organization presents itself in the market. It's how a business communicates with its audience.
Let's dive in.
Branding is important because customers are savvy
Earlier in this article, I mentioned how your competitors might be creating value for their target audience in new ways. Providing educational content is becoming the primary way to gain customers. This is true because modern consumers are savvier than ever.
Gone are the days when you could build a website and add every piece of information about your company to the six pages of the site. No one reads that much text anymore—especially if it doesn't provide value. Today's consumers use the Internet to solve their problems. What problem are you solving?
If there are particular problems that ONLY you can solve, write about it. Answering questions that your audience asks gives you a leg up on your competitors. Shooting a video is an even better solution to answering questions. Getting in front of a camera and answering a customer's question helps:
- Provide value by educating those that are already looking for the answer.
- Give character to your brand, making you respected in your space.
Understanding today's consumer will allow you to strengthen your brand messaging in ways you never thought were possible. Your organizational branding wins when your message cuts through the noise and gives real value to your audience.
Branding will separate you from your competition
Do you feel safe?
I ask because you might not have much competition in the market you serve….right now. How would you feel in 3 years when other companies spring up in your market to compete with you. Do you feel less safe?
I'll frame the question another way:
Are you confident that your current customers aren't looking for greener grass?
If you don't have much competition now, you will. It's a guarantee. Someone is going to wonder why you aren't providing your customers with X. They're going to come along and serve the needy.
But, if your organizational branding is mature, your customers won't care if the grass is gold on the other side. They'll trust your brand because of the way you treated them when the "other guys" gave them the cold shoulder. They'll respect your brand for providing consistent value when your competitors make critical cuts to maintain their margins.
Keeping your organizational branding a priority will permeate throughout your business, making it hard for the competition to keep up with you.
Branding is a science
While we've talked about the importance of branding from an external (customer and competition) perspective, branding inside of your organization is also necessary. Aligning members of your organization with the brand and what it represents is vital to your company's success.
Your team members should always be aware of what your company represents. Every employee, no matter their role, should have an up-to-date and deep understanding of the brand and its values.
When you communicate your brand throughout your organization, amazing things start to happen. It will become easier for your team to achieve success because they all know what success for the company looks like. Your brand will be empowered because employees will handle situations with consistency and purpose.
It's here where you can start to see the importance of establishing your branding internally with your team. And when your service team interacts with customers, your customers can feel that brand as well.
Branding enhancement with defined criteria
To strengthen your brand, consider the way it's thought of with your audience. Is your brand recognizable within your community? When people speak to others about your brand, how do they do it? Let's take a look at some of the criteria that you can use to enhance your brand. We'll also look at a few ways you can enhance your brand in these ways.
One of your top goals with your brand should be to achieve a high level of brand awareness. Any elements that promote awareness are inherently memorable. Brand elements that gain your audience's attention are more likely to help with recall or recognition. This helps you stay memorable to those most important to you. Here we'll touch on factors like your logo, or other visual aspects of your organization.
One way to be memorable with your audience is to carefully consider the colors you use in your brand. Using some shade of purple might help your audience remember you as thoughtful or as a visionary. A brand conveyed visually in orange might make you seem good-natured and optimistic. But it could also lead your audience to perceive you as loud or frivolous.
The psychology of colors can have either a positive or a negative effect on your brand. Either way, colors help your brand stay memorable to your audience. Check out this infographic on The Psychology of Color in Business or this one on responses to color by people in the western hemisphere for more on colors.
Transferability measures the extent to which the brand element adds to the equity of the brand. This can be measured by how new products fit into new markets for the brand.
Transferability is another way of acknowledging how recognizable your brand is, or can be, in new markets.
Consider the name of your brand. Is your brand's name limited in the way it speaks to a small segment of products or services that you can offer? Imagine what Amazon would be like if they hadn't settled on the name Amazon. Amazon wouldn't have the global reach that they do if they had instead become buyanybookimaginableonline.com.
Another aspect to consider is the extent to which brand equity crosses geographic boundaries. Nike is a great example of a brand that transfers easily across borders. The name Nike itself can be spoken or written in many languages. The simplistic swoosh logo can be understood no matter what language you speak. Taking some time to make your brand transferable will help you grow into new markets with little setbacks.
This is the tip of the iceberg regarding recognizing the importance of organizational branding. There are extensive resources that can provide insight as you develop your brand. Model Apparel can become a resource when you need to outfit your team in a branded uniform. We can help you promote your brand through the clothing your team wears to get their jobs done.