Beyond just a memorable logo, good branding increases the value of a company, provides employees with direction and motivation, and makes acquiring new customers easier. So what exactly is a brand?
The short answer is: everything.
A brand represents the sum of people’s perception of a company’s customer service, reputation, advertising and logo. And when all of these parts of the business are working well together, the overall brand tends to be healthy.
Take it from Ramona Jones, a small business owner who learned first-hand just how important branding was to her success. Jones founded Discover, Learn & Grow because she wanted to provide affordable education and child care in Bristol Borough, Pennsylvania. But to make it happen, she had to get the word out about her business.
As one of six businesses in Bristol Borough selected to receive a marketing revitalization through Small Business Revolution — Main Street, Discover, Learn & Grow was able to strengthen its brand with help from the Deluxe team of marketing experts. Ramping up its brand helped Discover, Learn & Grow get attention, build trust and attract customers.
1. Branding improves recognition
One of major components of a brand is a logo because, as the “face” of a business, it’s what people instantly recognize. A professional logo design is simple enough to be memorable, but powerful enough to give the desired impression of your company.
Though Discover, Learn & Grow had a logo, it didn’t reflect the educational nature of the learning center. Parents and guardians needed to know that the business was a preschool program run by an expert with more than 25 years of experience in the field of education.
For that reason, Jones looked to the Deluxe team to design a logo that would better represent her business. They delivered a positive, modern design that conveyed growth and development. To clearly articulate the unique programming and services offered by the business, the team added the words “early learning center” to the logo. The finished logo is simple enough to be memorable, but powerful enough to make the right impression with customers.
2. Branding creates trust
Just as people are more likely to purchase from a business that appears polished and legitimate, families need to feel comfortable before committing to a child care program. The Deluxe team used the business’s new logo on business cards, staff T-shirts and the outside of the building to give the business the professional image it deserved. Passersby and others who encounter the logo can now easily identify the business as a trusted center for education in the community.
In addition, the team helped Discover, Learn & Grow enrich their website with robust content that answered the questions and concerns parents have. To establish credibility, the site features in-depth bios of the early learning center’s staff, a list of their certifications and answers to common customer questions. The website features the same look, feel and colors of the logo, reinforcing the sense that this business is a reputable, consistent expert in its field.
3. Branding supports advertising
Advertising is another important component of a brand. Both the medium chosen and demographic targeted for advertisements help build a brand. Discover, Learn & Grow added its logo to apparel, packaging and printed materials to spread the word about the business and stand out from the competition.
Since Discover, Learn & Grow hosted birthday parties, the Deluxe team recommended Jones add the new logo to goody bags for the children. This would offer yet another brand impression to parents of children attending the parties, and it would turn the logo into a walking billboard — free advertising to get the business noticed.
4. Branding builds financial value
Companies who publicly trade on a stock exchange are valued at many times the actual hard assets of the company. Much of this value is due to the branding of the company. A strong brand often guarantees future business.
Whether a company is in the position to borrow funds for expansion or rolling out to an IPO, being perceived as more valuable will make the process advantageous for the owner. The greater a company’s devotion to building its brand value, the better the financial return from its efforts. A unified, consistent brand means Discover, Learn & Grow is well-positioned for any future expansion it wants to make.
5. Branding inspires employees
Many employees need more than just work — they need something to work toward. When employees understand the mission of a business and its reason for being, they are more likely to feel that same pride and work in the same direction to achieve the goals the business owner has set. Having a strong brand is like turning the company logo into a flag the rest of the company can rally around.
Like most educators, Jones and her staff are passionate about what they do. The early learning center’s consistent and unified brand, which all stems from the updated logo, reinforces that passion and can continue to inspire Jones’ team even when challenges arise.
6. Branding generates new customers
Branding can also help a business get word-of-mouth referrals. After all, would a client be able to tell a friend about Discover, Learn & Grow if they couldn’t remember the brand of the learning center? The most profitable companies, small and large, have a single thing in common. They have established themselves as a leader in their particular industry by building a strong brand, starting with a strong logo.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published in January 2015 and has been updated and rewritten for accuracy and relevance.