How Branding Increases Your Profits & Makes You More Money.
Every business has a brand in the same way that every person technically has a personality, which is to say that simply having one doesn’t mean all that much. It has to be compelling. It has to be carefully formulated to serve a specific purpose, or else it will accomplish very little.
And when you consider just how expansive branding can be, encompassing so many elements of sales, it’s very difficult to avoid the conclusion that a lot of the money that gets aimlessly handed to broad advertising campaigns would be better used to hone brand guidelines.
So let’s get into specifics, and consider how thoughtful, purposeful branding can result in a significant increase in your profits.
Customer Retention is Invaluable
Not only are customers more likely to spend significant sums with businesses they’ve purchased from for a long time, but it’s also the case that acquiring a new customer costs roughly six times as much as keeping a current one.
And if you rely upon your fundamental business model to keep customers around, you may find it quite challenging to deal with your competitors in the long run. Making it all about the precise value of the deal leaves you open to being undercut from time to time.
That’s why you should lean on the intangibles, and that’s fertile ground for branding. What are your staff like? How do you want to be viewed by your customers? What kind of style do you have to offer?
If you can build a brand carefully-cultivated to appeal to your customers, they’ll form positive associations with it, and keep returning to it for reasons that have little to do with cost and are considerably more reliable as a result.
Content Strategy is Brand-Driven
Outside of exceptional circumstances, you need a solid content marketing plan to make the most of your online presence, and it’s an area in which many companies fall woefully short. They’ll create blogs, then update them on occasion with meandering pieces that offer nothing of consequence— no great insight, no entertainment, no direction.
Building a specific brand makes the content production process both easier and more effective. Think of it like building a rich backstory for a character in a play. The more you flesh the part out, the easier it will be to consistently act in a fitting manner, and the more people will be drawn to the performance.
Let’s consider a couple of content scenarios, featuring Generic Inc. and Brand Co. respectively, to see how the former has a much harder time:
Generic Inc. never knows what to say; its staff members tasked with writing things might have vague briefs or none at all, so they cobble things together on a whim. Mostly everything is thrown in purely for the sake of it— keeping up appearances of activity and engagement. Its blog will have no common thread, and will fluctuate wildly in tone and intent.
Brand Co., though, knows the score, and every writer in its employ knows to use the Brand Co. style: informal flippancy, abbreviations (obvs), cat photos, and a focus on easy-to-follow tips. There’s little time wasted on figuring out what to write about because it’s mostly obvious, and the readers gravitate towards the authentic voice.
It can take some time to hit upon a really great brand style, but you can start by coming up with answers to questions such as these:
What tone of voice suits you?
You can be detached or familiar, deadly serious or entirely irreverent. The right tone will resonate with the audience and feel comfortable for the writers.
What should your signature aesthetic be?
Do you like scenic vistas? Emotive portraits? Having a specific visual style is great for brand association. There are plenty of stock photo resources to give you inspiration: try curated collections from Stockfresh or Burst’s topical categories.
What do you want people to take from your content?
Do you like to inspire, motivate, or inform? If you know what you’re angling towards with your content, you’ll always be able to come up with ideas.
Whatever you choose, don’t worry too much about alienating people. Stylised content doesn’t work for everyone, but completely bland content doesn’t work for anyone.
A Great Brand Can Sell Anything
Imagine that Nike, the footwear and apparel colossus, announced out of the blue that, starting immediately, they would be selling a range of frozen pizzas. Would you want to try one? If you’re a fan of Nike, there’s a pretty good chance you would.
That interest wouldn’t be based on any evidence that Nike has any great expertise about making a good pizza— it would be a consequence of a broader belief in the quality of the Nike brand, and thus any kind of product associated with it.
Here’s a relevant snippet from a very interesting customer loyalty investigation:
“Across the board, web shoppers expressed willingness to buy different types of products from their online retailers of choice. For example, almost 70 percent of Gap Online customers said they would consider buying furniture from the Gap.”
The more products you have (and the more diverse they are), the more important this factor becomes. Spend a lot of time and money perfecting the presentation of your newest product, but it won’t help you sell anything else, whereas brand improvement affects your success across the board. It’s simply more efficient.
On top of everything we’ve looked at, intentional branding forces you to find the heart of your business: where your strengths are, why people should be interested in you, and what you’re ultimately looking to accomplish.
So if your current branding is somewhat lackluster and you’re not sure where to go, invest in a revamp of your company image— it’ll place you on more stable footing and set you up for a more profitable (and enjoyable!) future.
DIY-ING YOUR BRAND? This free guide will help.
Victoria Greene is an ecommerce marketing expert and freelance writer who like to see businesses operate with purpose. You can read more of her work at her blog Victoria Ecommerce.