In the U.S., thousands of eager entrepreneurs start new businesses every year. According to the 2019 United States Small Business Report, there are currently over 30.7 million small businesses in the U.S. but only 50% of small businesses will survive 5 years or more.
Entrepreneurs start out full of hope with a ton of passion for their new business venture or product idea. Quickly they become engrossed in running their business and feel the pressure to generate revenue. Many will place most of their focus on product development and rush through their operational plans in a race to get to market. In this rush and excitement of getting to market, they often skip the crucial step of developing a brand strategy. They fail to see the importance of branding as the foundation of long term success. Many don’t even understand what branding really is or the difference it makes.
So first, let’s talk basics. What is a brand?
To put it simply, branding is everything! A brand is not just a logo… it’s the complete expression of your company or product in consumers’ minds. It is everything people perceive of your product, from the functional (what your product does for me) to the emotional (how your brand makes me feel).
It’s the entirety of fundamental truths about your brand, including your brand identity, architecture, personality, voice and messaging. It tells people what you stand for, what you believe in, what you offer, what makes you different and why people should consider you.
Why is it important?
Effective branding can help you stand out from the competition, recruit and motivate employees and, most importantly, attract your ideal consumers. Let’s have a closer look at how strategic branding can position you for long term growth.
In the current and increasingly competitive business landscape, branding is not a luxury, it’s a must. Branding is the key to making a memorable impression, establishing an emotional connection with your consumers, and building loyalty.
Once you have established your strategy and defined your branding, it is important to consistently keep it at the forefront of consideration as your brand grows and especially as consumer wants and needs change. Branding is an ongoing process. To ensure long term growth, brands need to commit to staying relevant over time by staying ahead of consumer needs, adapting to changes in the market, and redefining how your brand markets itself while staying true to your core brand essence and what your brand stands for.
– Emma Medina, Director of Brand Strategy at Smith Design