What is branding and why is it important?
Professional Services Companies need to be branding themselves. The benefits of branding are often long term, but include customer qualities like loyalty, memorability familiarity and at some point, your marketing expenses will significantly decrease because an audience is already familiar with you. All that stuff sounds good, HOWEVER, the catch is that the company is not in direct control of the brand. In a nutshell, branding is the perceived emotional image of a company as a whole and, in it’s simplest form, has nothing to do with things like logo’s and stationary.
Branding is a fairly complicated subject because typically the company’s management and marketing team are trying to figure out how to brand the company, or how to find a way in which the company will be unique and find a place in the customers mind; but it’s really not about what the management and marketing want, branding relies on the perception of the audience. So the next question is, ‘How do you find out what your audience is thinking?’
The answer is pretty simple: by doing marketing research–in its simplest form, this could be a survey sent to past customers asking them their perception of the company. The main goal here is to understand your audience and what they think about your company. The next step is how to capitalize (or fix) that perception. That’s branding!
Why is branding necessary?
Every good company should creating a brand and not just creating a company or a service. A nicely branded company has placement in your mind–when you think of innovation, perhaps you think of Apple. When you think of running shoes, you may think of Nike. These are just examples of what good branding is and how they create an attachment with their audience.
When you create a professional services business without branding it, your audience will lose sight of it and most times think of it as just another law firm or financial planner or nothing special. Worst of all, you may not have an audience at all!
Brand recognition and consistency
The ultimate goal of a professional services firm is to win the hearts and minds of your clientele. Once you’ve done that, you have achieved what is called ‘brand recognition.’ This means your audience knows the company well enough to know what they may or may not say, and what they may or may not look like.
Consistency is absolutely key if a professional services firm wants an audience to recognize them.
Once your audience has clamped on to that recognition, if it’s positive, you want to do everything you can to continue with it. If it’s negative you want to do everything you can to change it. Recognition for brands can end up pushing sales harder than any marketing or advertising plan.