A brand is much more than just a logo or a set of colours.
Put simply, a brand tells people who you are and what you do. It is the image, feelings and attitudes that people have in their minds about your organisation. And while your logo or colours may help form part of those associations, your brand ultimately reflects everything you stand for – who you are, what you do and how you do it.
Every interaction you have with people – from your signage and communications materials to the way you answer the phone, post on Facebook or speak at conferences – influences your brand and the way people see you.
The strongest brands encourage us to think and feel about them in a positive way. And it’s not just big corporate heavy-weights that need to think about branding – smaller, community-focused organisations also depend on a strong brand.
Here’s why effective branding is so important:
1. It helps people to engage with you
A carefully crafted brand works to build positive relationships with people and helps them think favourably about your organisation. It encapsulates your organisation’s vision and values and represents the mission, experience and reputation behind it.
Everything your organisation does should be underpinned by the vision and values that shape your identity. What do you want people to think about you? How do you want to be known? A strong brand where people like what you’re about helps generate trust and builds advocates for your organisation. These relationships are particularly valuable for community-focused organisations, where emotional connections with people are important.
It’s worth noting too that branding isn’t only about getting the outside world to engage with you. Perhaps just as significantly, your brand can have a big impact on the way your organisation views itself internally. The brand sets the tone for an organisation’s culture and can help its people operate more professionally, boost morale and work towards a clearly articulated common goal.
2. It helps people notice you
It’s hard to operate effectively if people don’t know you exist.
By building a recognisable brand, it’s much easier to draw on that familiarity and get people on board. People are more likely to to use your services, get involved, be open to fundraising opportunities and act as advocates if they know and trust your brand.
To help build brand awareness, consider how you use elements like logos, messages, colour schemes and your name to tangibly express your brand and what you stand for. A consistent approach is vital. Good branding continually echoes the same look, feel and messaging across all communications, which helps to hold everything together and makes it easier for people to quickly recall the brand.
3. It helps people choose you
There are a lot of organisations competing for attention out there, and people these days are often burdened by too much choice. To cut through the clutter, it’s crucially important to differentiate yourself – and having a strong, trusted brand is one of the key ways of doing this.
So make sure you create a distinct and recognisable identity, where people easily understand what you’re about and why you’re different. You’ll help simplify the decision-making process for people and encourage them to support you.
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Spotted some examples of brands done well? We’d love to hear about them.