Why Branding Is Important in 2021

The Importance of Branding

Starbucks is more than just coffee, and Nike is more than just sports apparel to millions of people. 

This is because both of these companies did a great job branding themselves to be more than just a business selling products, they house a community whose members share similar values and interests. Brands like Starbucks and Nike weave themselves into the lives of their customers to build genuine relationships and provide products that bring value to their lives. Nike’s brand often makes people feel like they can achieve greatness by simply “Doing It” while Starbucks provides customers with a location and experience that is warm and welcoming – the great tasting coffee is a plus!

Your business can create a similar community by building a brand that brings value to their consumers outside of your product or service offering. Read along as we break down the importance of branding and why your business should be making the investment into it now before it’s too late.

What Exactly Is Branding?

A brand is an entity that brings a community of people together who share similar experiences, values, interests, etc. The act of branding is designing a business to attract this community. In the past, branding has been all about the logos, fonts, and colors you use for your business to help you stand out. While these are all still true and valuable, branding doesn’t end there. The introduction of social media and the internet have given consumers access to more companies, which lead to consumers picking and choosing which companies they want to engage with. A customer is willing to pay more for a product from a company they support.

Branding is about identifying your unique value proposition, learning who your ideal customers are, then designing a presence that speaks to both.

4 Reasons Why Branding Is Important in 2021

Branding is an iterative process that’s carried out over time. It is extremely important for businesses small and large to pay special attention to branding every year, but it is especially important in 2021 as more businesses are moving online and the competition for eyes starts to become more expensive. Here are five key reasons why:

It Differentiates You From Your Competitors

You are likely not the only business that offers your products and services, but you can be the only business that offers those same products and services YOUR way. Competitors are a great resource – if you study them you can learn what’s working and what’s not working with your potential customers, but more importantly when you’re considering building a brand, your competitors help you identify opportunities. What are potential customers not getting from your competitors? How can you fill that void in a way that’s genuine to you as the entrepreneur. Answer these questions and you’re on your way to a strong brand with a thriving business. Your brand is your unique identity and it should be used as your ‘secret sauce’ that attracts customers to your business over your competitors.

It Encourages Your Audience to Create Emotional Ties With Your Brand

People don’t bond or create relationships with products. They create and maintain relationships with brands. The best brands have clear values that a community of people can relate to on a personal level – causing a much deeper relationship. To create emotional ties with your audience, you must start sharing your full brand story so your customers can begin to connect meaningfully with your brand and see themselves with your products. This is where social media has been the most effective for digital brands. Brands use social media to not only show who they are, but what they believe in and it allows them to build a community of people who are willing to make a purchase in support. Marketing and selling become much easier when your target audience has an emotional connection with your brand. They want to feel like they are a part of something bigger than themselves and your branding, when done right, can achieve this.

It Increases Your Business Value

Marketing campaigns have a cut-off date, and so do some of your products and services. One thing that will stand forever in alignment with your company is your brand. Developing a strong brand identity leverages your business value because it builds a loyal community of people who are could be upsold to buy any product that aligns with that brand. That’s why you see successful brands today offering products and services that are outside of their initial offering, but still brings value to the consumer they know they attract through their brand.

It Presents a Clear Picture of Your Vision and Values

Employees want to be a part of a company that has a solid identity and position in the marketplace. Branding helps businesses find their “why” so they can have a clear vision and values. Organizations with high standards for branding and reputation inspire employees to give it their all to work in alignment with the company’s vision and values. And keeping your employees and key stakeholders is essential for your business to grow and thrive. As you develop your brand, consider hiring a digital marketing agency to help you tell your brand story in a way that connects to your audience to bring you the results that you want. 

3 Branding Trends to Make Your Company Stand Out This Year

Check out some of the top trends we’ve identified in branding for 2021. 

Embracing Social Responsibility

Millennial and Generation Z audiences want to purchase from brands that care about their communities and are conscious of their social responsibility. Identify programs that you can support in your community that help to create a positive image towards your company with your target audience in 2021. Make sure to optimize your messaging and content, and allow your audience to get involved in the conversation by using social media to encourage engagement and interactions. Warby Parker, an eyeglasses company, donates one pair of glasses to those in need for every pair of glasses purchased. They also share the impact of their production process from start to finish, while providing their customers with stylish and affordable eyewear.

Making Your Brand an Immersive Experience

Your branding is more than your website, logo, and packaging. This year, customers expect to receive more than a well-designed product. They want to be taken on a journey where they are the main character. Provide your customers with a great experience that only you can give them. Even if the experience is minimal, the smallest gesture can help you stand out from a competitor. An important detail that we see too many e-commerce brands missing out on is the presentation of your packaging. Unboxing videos are a hot commodity on YouTube these days, so creative packaging that is on par with your branding can provide you with free exposure as customers share their unboxing experiences on social media platforms such as TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram. For instance, by Humankind is an eco-friendly skincare brand that also has eco-friendly and aesthetically pleasing packaging to bring some flare to their products and increase interest from their customers. Many of their customers review their products in videos on YouTube and social to show that they are apart of the Humankind community and highlight their unique packaging.

Putting Faces to Brands

As humans we like to see how other people interact with products or services we consider purchasing. No matter what you offer, whether it’s SaaS technology or sportswear, consumers like to see the people that embody your brand — especially on social media. Faces humanize a brand well, that’s why we see popular influencers and celebrities representing brands to communicate the type of brand and lifestyle a product emulates. 

Trends in 2021 are leading more towards humanization to ensure that their consumers are not only purchasing a product or a service but are buying into a lifestyle. For example, the brand Herschel Supply has an Instagram page full of pictures, videos, and stories of people interacting with their apparel in a meaningful way. They even have their own hashtag #welltraveled that encourages user-generated content for the brand to use to generate awareness of the brand and the lifestyle it promotes.