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Branding Is More Than an Accessory: It's the Foundation of Any Business Developing a strong brand is crucial to a business's success. You run the risk of losing your company's identity without a branding strategy.

By Jessica Wong Edited by Amanda Breen

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Your brand identity is the mortar that holds your brand together. Consistent branding is key to creating a brand that is memorable and easily recognizable to customers. Effective branding involves sculpting a brand identity that carries through across all of your marketing platforms and consumer touchpoints. Everything from graphic design to content development, web design to email signatures should subscribe to your brand identity. That way, from first to last impressions, your customers will know exactly who you are as a brand.

Why is branding necessary?

Branding isn't just an accessory: It's foundational to business. Consistent branding generates memorable, lasting impressions.

Take Airbnb, for example. The popular holiday-home hosting and rental service has defined a space for itself in the travel and tourism market with monumental success. Airbnb's branding is consistent and ethos-driven. A winning combination.

Everything from imagery to content promotes active living, adventure and limitless possibility for everyone from beginners to seasoned travelers. Airbnb is recognizable, accessible, consistent, contemporary and oozing personality.

Related: 9 Tips for Creating an Awesome Brand

Everything contained in your brand book from logo design to value prepositions should communicate who you are, what you do and your fundamental brand personality to the customers who encounter your business. A successful and memorable brand image is one of the best ways to differentiate yourself from the competition and ensure that customers come knocking on your door.

Brand-guide creation is the first place to start. One of the best things you can do to create and maintain a consistent brand identity is to create a brand book. Here at Valux we help businesses establish robust brands with a comprehensive brand-building process covering everything from digital marketing to public relations and integrated sales.

Brand opportunities versus challenges

Branding is an opening to so many business opportunities.

A robust brand strategy will help you:

Establish your brand as a credible market leader

Building customer trust is a natural byproduct of great branding. Unified branding establishes a business's credibility in the market. In turn, this tends to increase market receptiveness and brand loyalty in the process. Consistent marketing messaging that delivers on its promises shows customers what they can expect from your businesses.

Look professional and trustworthy to prospective customers

Consistent brand imagery and messaging makes a business look professional. The best way to adhere to a unified branding strategy is to create a set of branding guidelines (a.k.a a brand book). Your brand book will contain key criteria including brand name, story, ethos, logos, icons, fonts, color schemes and imagery.

Increase customer loyalty and customer referrals

If customers resonate with your brand ethos and story, then they are more likely to buy. What's more, they're more likely to buy again and again, and they might even tell their friends and colleagues to check out your business too. Great branding is a recipe for increased sales, customer loyalty and referrals. Strong and consistent messaging is the key to attracting a loyal customer base.

Related: Branding Strategies That Create Customers Who Spend 300% More

Stand out in competitive markets and industries

Branding gives every business the opportunity to stand out from its competitors. As a business, you can use your branding strategy to differentiate yourself from those around you. That could be by creating a striking image that immediately speaks of your business or tailoring your band messaging in a way that speaks directly to your target personas.

However, successful branding does not come without its challenges. Branding isn't something that just happens. Maintaining brand relevance requires a consolidated effort. Your branding must be synergistic and respond quickly to market fluctuations.

Responding quickly to social, economic and political changes and trends improves customer perceptions of an organization. Take Nike, for example. In 2020, Nike took a clear stand against racism and voiced its support for the BLM movement.

The most successful brands don't just build their branding outwardly but inwardly too. Nurturing your brand internally is imperative for a successful, integrated marketing campaign. Your people should be as invested in your brand identity as your customers.

And Nike did just this. Following on from the company's campaign, Nike's Chief Executive John Donahoe demonstrated that his organization's commitment to the cause went beyond just "hot air" and virtue signaling by implementing internal changes to nurture a culture of anti-racism throughout the company. Donahoe pledged to commit $40 million to support black communities and fight systemic racism.

Related: 4 Branding Strategies Every Startup Founder Should Know About

Clear and consistent branding is a must for all businesses. A concerted effort towards improving your branding strategy will help you stand out from the competition and gain industry credibility, consumer trust and loyalty. In today's fast-moving consumer ecosystem, the ability to maintain an ethos-driven, authentic and timely brand image is imperative.

Jessica Wong

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

Founder and CEO of Valux Digital and uPro Digital.

Jessica is the Founder and CEO of nationally recognized marketing and PR firms, Valux Digital and uPro Digital. She is a digital marketing and PR expert with more than 20 years of success driving bottom-line results for clients through innovative marketing programs aligned with emerging strategies.

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