It seems you can’t go anywhere these days without being barraged by the word “branding”. Even if you’re not a business owner, articles on LinkedIn tout the importance of your personal brand. So what is branding, and why should you care? Simply put, branding is the you you choose to present to the outside world. Whether for yourself, your product, or your company, here are two important reasons everyone should care about branding, just at a bare minimum.
Credibility: Have you ever been price-comparing on Google Shopping, only to end up on the odd e-retailer website with a jumble of fonts, indistinguishable logo, and sterile product images? I tend to click away immediately, because the site’s lack of cohesive branding and unprofessional (or nonexistent) design give me a funny feeling the company isn’t credible. A consistent, well-packaged brand gives the customer a feeling of credibility and trust. Even if you’re not an entrepreneur, a bit of personal branding can go a long way in giving your resume or LinkedIn profile the polish it needs for a future employer to know you mean business.
Identity: Beyond establishing a foundation of credibility, branding at its core communicates the answers to these questions: what is your company, what does it provide, and who is its target audience? All of those things contribute to an identity – one that you want your branding to communicate effectively. In addition to giving your brand a unique voice in the crowd, this identity gives customers a sense that they’re in the right place, that they’ve found what they’re looking for. And if you’re a candidate in today’s competitive job market, a strong identity will help the right hiring manager pick your resume out of the pile.
Credibility and identity are essential, yes, but they are just the bare minimum to get by – a passing grade, if you will. Stay tuned for a future post on the ABC’s of A+ branding that will help you stand out from the crowd.
How have you made branding work for you?