The importance of branding should not be underestimated

With the announcement of the winners of this year’s Scottish Borders Business Excellence Awards last month and victory for Borders Vintage Automobile Club in the Marketing Campaign of the Year Award, it seems timely to talk about the importance of branding to your business, writes Giles Etherington.

It is a popular myth that branding is the exclusive right of the big multi-nationals. Far from it. Branding is as, if not more, important to smaller businesses, who don’t have the luxury of bottomless marketing budgets. The less you have to spend on marketing the lower the exposure existing and potential customers will have to your business. So, it is vital that what few opportunities you have to grab their attention are done with a consistent message.

What do we mean by branding? Branding is more than the nice logo and pretty colours that the term is often, incorrectly, associated with. Branding is creating a personality for your business. Yes, it includes a nice logo and pretty colours, but goes way beyond that. Your brand should become part of the DNA of your business. It should be present in everything you do. From the logo on the side of your van, to the way you answer the phone. From what you say on your website, in brochures and tweets, to how you deal with a complaint.

It is only once your business has a personality that customers can decide whether or not they like it. If your business can portray a personality that complements theirs, they might just let you become their friend.

We marketing, design and advertising experts have been telling our clients for decades that creating successful brands is about creating an emotional connection with your consumer. But there are still so many business executives who don’t believe they are swayed by emotional factors when buying products and services, and often doubt that others are either.

Now, thankfully, the scientists are backing us up. The latest catchphrase in the pursuit of getting ‘buy in’ from your target audience is Neuromarketing. Over the last decade, neuroscience research has shown that emotions play a much more important role in decision making than most people have thought.

Our brains process much of their sensory input subconsciously, generating affection toward or against objects. Signals that don’t generate positive or negative emotions are filtered out (seen as unimportant) and never reach our conscious mind.

Like getting your car serviced, doing your accounts or having a filling, creating a brand is best done with the help of the professionals. It is no coincidence that all three finalists for the Marketing Campaign of the Year Award utilise the services of Borders Creative members.

For help with creating a brand for your business, there are plenty of professional creative businesses right here in the Borders. Visit www.borderscreative.com and pick one you like the look of.

z Giles Etherington is the creative director at Fruitful Advertising and Design Ltd of Melrose and a member of Borders Creative.