Some small business owners consider branding an extra expense, a bonus exercise if there’s anything left at the end of the tax year. You know where we’re going with this: thinking that way is a mistake. Branding is seriously important, even if you’re a small local business. And here’s why.

But Wait, What’s a Brand Exactly?

Some people think a brand is just the logo, the aesthetic. And while they clearly form a strong part of a brand, there’s more to it.

Branding is about personality, it represents and identifies a company, its products and services. Branding includes everything from the company name, tag lines, the ‘voice’, signs, symbols, and yes, the design elements.

Your brand is not just what you are trying to project, but what your customers absorb. Your brand is the sum total of all impressions people have based on interactions with your company. These can be as simple as seeing your ad on the side of a bus, to a relationship they’ve had with your product for years.

By the Numbers

You’re a business person, you do things by the numbers. So we’re going to start off with some statistics that will get you calling a designer pronto:

  • Who are you? It takes people about 5 to 7 interactions with your brand before they remember it. If you don’t even have a brand, you’ll be forgotten.
  • Connection. The majority of people build connections with their favorite brands (64% of women, 68% of men). It’s not about the product or the service, but about the brand.
  • 94%. That’s how many people recognize the Coca-Cola logo. Do you think that’s all about the cola? Answer: it’s not.
  • Blue. ⅓ of the planet’s top 100 brands feature blue in their color schemes. This is not a coincidence. The top companies put serious cash into researching this stuff, because branding is important to them.

The Importance of Consistency

Your company should be recognizable and consistent. If you think of the brand Nike, for example, you immediately think of that uber famous Swoosh (it’s so big it’s a proper noun now), the tagline Just Do It, you get the gist of it. Other than a few tweaks, they haven’t changed the formula in decades.

Nike put in a lot of thought and effort in brand continuity, because it works. If you add consistency to your branding, recognition shoots up by 80%. And presenting your brand with a recognizable image across all platforms leads to an average increase in revenue of 23%.

The core message is this: you want consistency in your branding. From top to bottom, no excuses.

When you refresh your brand with print, for example, ensure the color scheme and thematic elements are consistent throughout, whether it’s your business card, signage, or letterheads. You don’t want one thing to ooze professionalism and the other ‘fun and quirky’. Neither is right or wrong, but you need to pick one and go with it.

The same goes for your voice. Posting on social media, for example, should follow the personality that fits your brand. It shouldn’t match the style of your social media manager; they conform to your brand, not the other way around.

Read More: 5 Tips to Help You Establish Your Brand

Brand Loyalty

Humans are tribal. They want to build deep connections, even when it comes to the stuff they buy. Loyalty isn’t just about the number of interactions or purchases, it’s about relatability and commonality.

Building a brand that shares values with your customers, has a strong visual image, and speaks in a way that’s relatable will help build you a tribe. These guys will stick with you through thick and thin, will come back for more, and will tell their friends and family about you.

Loyalty is about branding, not your product. You can have the best thing since sliced bread, but if your branding sucks, your sales won’t match product quality. It’s that simple.

Branding = More Sales

Let’s finish off with a blunt admission. When it comes down right to it, it’s all about the Benjamins (or Queen Elizabeths, if you’re in the UK or Australia?). And when it comes down to the barebones, branding is important because it brings in sales.

The numbers don’t lie. They all point to branding driving up profits, increasing customer loyalty, and seriously helping customer acquisition. Doing branding right will add to your bottom line, period.