Branding and marketing have gone hand in glove for years. Some companies have spent countless hours and millions of dollars perfecting their brand. And yet, there are some marketing experts today, who have dared to question whether branding even matters any more.
Marketing has certainly changed dramatically in response to the way consumers make buying decisions. In many respects, consumers are in control of the marketing process. They dictate what they want to know, as well as how and when they want to receive information. Plus, they’re vocal about what they find—telling their friends both online and offline what they think. That’s prompted some marketing gurus to proclaim that a company’s brand is whatever the marketplace says it is.
There’s a huge amount of truth in that. You can build your company brand around quality, for instance. But if people in the marketplace don’t agree that your quality is superior, it doesn’t matter what you say. If someone tells five of her friends that your quality isn’t up to standard, all of the branding in the world won’t change their minds.
Does that mean you have no control over your brand? Does it mean that branding doesn’t matter anymore? Does it mean that you should capitulate, throw your hands in the air, and simply hope for the best?
No. No! And, OMG NO!
How you build your brand, however, may need a little tweaking. The content you put on your website (and a huge part of that is the content in your blog) can significantly shape the way customers perceive your company. If you are continuously providing prospective customers with quality information that enables them to make good buying decisions (decisions that are good for them), you will build a reputation as a trusted industry expert.
How does that help you? It’s pretty simple. People like doing business with people they trust. Building genuine trust improves your chances of doing business with someone. People also like doing business with someone who knows what he’s talking about. When you provide people with accurate, helpful information, you establish yourself as someone who knows his stuff.
Branding is also about targeting and positioning your company, your products, and your services. Some businesses struggle to accept that not everyone is their customer. It’s important to address the needs and desires of your customers. If you’re a high-end remodeler, for instance, you’re not going to win the business of budget minded do-it-yourselfers. There’s nothing wrong with do-it-yourselfers—they’re just not your audience. So don’t waste their time (or yours). And if your content makes it clear what you’re all about, these do-it-yourselfers may just recommend you to friends who are looking for exactly what you offer.
Branding isn’t dead. It still matters. But it’s about a lot more than “image” or a catchy slogan. These days your brand is what people say it is. But you can significantly influence what people are saying—if your content is right for your audience.