By J. Gary McDaniel, TCV Partner-
The image of a logo or a name that comes to your mind when you are thinking of buying something is the result of effective branding. Your brand is how your customers remember you. So make it memorable!
Your brand can be a logo or image (the golden arches, a swoosh, an apple), a name (KleenexTM, XeroxTM, GoogleTM), a tagline (What’s in your wallet?, The ultimate driving machine, You’re in good hands), a mascot (Tony the Tiger, Mickey Mouse, Pillsbury Doughboy), or anything relating to your company.
Establishing a brand is important for many reasons, including:
1. Visibility. Your brand makes your company recognizable – and that is huge! People most often buy from companies that they know or that they have heard of somewhere. It’s the same reason that incumbents fare so well in elections. Politicians are always in the news, so people have heard of them and have a familiarity with them. Therefore, they vote for them. Small companies can make themselves seem much larger if the promote their brand properly, making them visible and establishing that all-important name recognition.
2. Differentiation. Your brand can distinguish you from other brands and give you a competitive advantage. There are many credit cards out there, but “What’s in your wallet?” delivers the message that the Capital One credit card is superior to others and that if you don’t have theirs in your wallet you are somehow missing the boat. This kind of branding attracts new customers and brings business in the door.
3. Trust. Established brands indicate success and stability. Customers need to believe that they can trust you to do a good job for them, and that you will provide a good product. People really believe that when their package “absolutely, positively has to be there overnight” that they can trust FedEx to get it there. And, when you go into a McDonalds anywhere on the planet and order french fries, you know exactly what you are going to get and what it is going to taste like. And finally, who wouldn’t want “to be in good hands” when buying insurance? Allstate delivers a message that you can trust them to be there when you need them. Very powerful messaging.
4. Personality. Your brand can, and should, express the personality of your company. Your brand is who you are. Disney is a great example. It is the “happiest place on earth”. Disney employees are “cast members” and promote that brand whenever engaging with their customers. M-I-C-K-E-Y…
5. Employee satisfaction. Your brand is important to your employees as well. People want to work for a company that is respected and that delivers a good product or service of which they can be proud. A positive brand, therefore, helps you to attract and retain new talent.
6. Perception. The perception that your brand delivers is extremely important in attracting and keeping new customers. You can use branding to portray the value that your product or service provides to them. For example, BMW’s “ultimate driving machine” tagline delivers several messages in one fell swoop…quality engineering, superior performance, pleasurable driving experience. This perception of value allows BMW to charge a premium for their products and to establish long-term brand loyalty.
Bottom line – branding is extremely important to the success of a company, and unfortunately, it is often overlooked. There is a reason that big companies spend millions of dollars every year on branding. So, make sure that you work hard to create and establish your brand. And, like I said at the beginning, make it memorable!
If you need help creating your brand, TCV Growth Partners has several experts on our team that would be happy to help!