Branding in 2018 and beyond: no, you can't ignore its importance
Okay, admittedly the year is more than half over, but it doesn’t really matter because branding will be as important in 2019 as it is now. Your business has to have to brand. Period. There is no argument here so don’t click away from this post in a huff. Even if you’re a one-person shop, you still need a brand, because if you don’t have one, you’ll get lost in the shuffle that is cyberspace. Wait a minute, you say, you don’t have an online business. It doesn’t matter, and here’s why.
Who Are You, Anyway?
Consumers are no longer interested in what you sell only. They want to know who you are. To take the tone of this post to a tragic level momentarily, if there is one thing people learned from the Stoneman Douglas High Shooting that occurred in Parkland, Florida on Feb. 14, 2018, it’s that Generation Z takes nothing lying down. Lose the vision of these teenagers doing nothing more than staring at their handheld device screens all day long. These kids are engaged, movers and shakers, concerned about their future, and guess what? They’re your demographic, as are their Millennial parents.
These consumers don’t care about the best price anymore. They are concerned about how their purchases affect them and the world around them. Whether they are animal rights activists, environmentalists, human rights supporters, or simply won’t purchase from any company that supports the current presidential administration, they look into a product or service from the ground up. You must tell your potential customers who you are and what you stand for in order to reel them in. Many won’t care that they can get your product for less than your competitors if you test on animals.
The Branding Effect
Branding is also recognition. For example, imagine you and your family are on a road trip to grandma and grandpa’s house for summer vacation. The kids are getting cranky in the backseat and the bickering begins. They’re hungry, and come to think of it, so are you. You see an oasis up ahead on the right side of a road: golden arches. You don’t need to think about what this restaurant is; you know it’s McDonald’s by the arches. This type of recognition is invaluable advertising. Imagine potential customers knowing your brand when they something as simple as arches.
What it Means to You
You already know what this means to you, but it bears repeating: more customers. When you establish a brand that is consistent across all mediums, including your print advertising, social media platforms, and small business website design, you create a recognizable presence to which everyone can relate. People associate athletic wear with a swoosh. They associate a refreshing beverage with a red can. They associate fast food that will pacify the kids with golden arches. Imagine people associating your brand with a logo and/or color scheme they see.
Even if you are a mom-and-pop shop, you need a brand that is easily identifiable. If you take a look at the list of Fortune 500 companies compiled by Fortune magazine, you will identify them with their branding quickly. This is the power of branding, and yes, you need it!
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