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ARTICLE
Judge Every Book By Its Cover!
What do all the world’s most successful companies have in common?

Kick-ass branding!


From Coca-Cola and Heinz to Sky and Innocent, brands are everywhere and fill every aspect of our modern lives. Big companies like these invest hugely in building their brands and it’s proven that the ones who do it best last longer and make bigger profits. For example, Samsung may have vast revenues, but Apple – which has a much more desirable brand – is far more profitable.

Today, there’s a multitude of factors that are making the use of branding more important than ever, perhaps even vital for survival. With a record number of self-employed people in the UK and more businesses saturating every market, competition is only getting fiercer. Not only that, but it’s easier now for competitors to clone your products, steal your concepts and duplicate your services. To top it off, consumers now have unbelievable power over business. With websites and apps like Google, Facebook and countless review and comparison sites all at their fingertips, they can get all the information they need in an instant. Decisions are being made before even engaging with your business. The phrase ‘never judge a book by its cover’ has never been so untrue!

This is where branding comes in. When done and managed well, branding can bring a wealth of benefits to any business, including DJ businesses – especially those specialising in the wedding and corporate side of things. Branding is a tool that, with a bit of know-how, anyone can use, and often it can mean the difference between struggling to pay the bills or being inundated by customers shouting “shut up and take my money”!

If you think “branding is only for big companies” or “I haven’t got bags of cash to throw at flashy graphics and visuals”, you’re wrong! Branding can be as accessible as you want it to be. Yes, having good design is important, but there’s much more to it than that and a lot of it can be done by you… and you can start right now. The key is first to understand branding and realise what it can do for you.

So, what is a brand?

A brand is most definitely not just a logo. For some a logo is enough, but if you want to leave you competition in the gutter and see your business take off, if you want to become the number one name in your market, then branding definitely needs to be much more than just a logo. A brand can be anything from a business to a product or even a person! We often hear Donald Trump being referred to as a brand, albeit a bad one, and contrasted to Barack Obama, who is much more fondly received.

To put it simply – a brand is a bunch of ideas and feelings your customers and your employees have about your business.

Your brand is your reputation

The stronger and more positive those feelings are, the more people will buy from you and the longer they’ll remain loyal to you. In the same way people build reputations – based on what they wear, how they behave, what they do and who they associate with – our businesses build reputations too. Your reputation is your brand. You care about your reputation right? Everyone has one, I'm sorry (not sorry), but you have a brand whether you like it not!

Your brand is everything that touches the public. It’s comprised of your behaviour towards your customers, your customers’ experience of your service, how you look online (and offline), what your promise is to your customers, how you deliver it, and how you differ from everyone else. For a DJ business, the elements of your branding could include your website, your social media presence, the tone and look of your emails, the voice you use on the telephone, the way you dress, the equipment you use (and how you set it up), how you interact with your clients… maybe even the music you play! Your brand is the sum of these parts and a logo is merely a symbol of this whole.

Reputation is everything. So look after it!

If you abandon your brand to chance you risk your reputation falling into disrepair, putting you and your business at risk. A bad reputation means customers will avoid you. Simple.

Branding is about crafting your reputation to your advantage, it’s about getting your reputation to work hard and convince your target audience to choose your service over someone else’s and ultimately make sales. But branding can’t be a singular activity, it’s a continuous daily process of delivering on your promise and forever living up to the needs and wants of your customers. Paying attention to how you speak, going the extra mile, being surprising yet consistent in everything you do – that’s the path to building a successful brand and a successful business.

How does branding help my business?

1. USP.
What makes you special? Ask yourself this: why should anyone pick you over the next person? Then, how do you communicate that to your audience? Branding not only helps people identify and recognise your organisation but also recognise what point of difference you bring to the market. Your brand should celebrate who you are, your unique qualities, and show them to the world. There’s only one you, so let’s celebrate that!

2. Lovable Personality.
No one likes a robot. Having an interesting, engaging personality is vital – it makes you memorable and makes you human. Branding creates a personality for your customers to engage with and it gives your business a voice. How can you develop any form of advertising and PR campaign without a brand voice to do the talking? With a voice, people will listen.

3. Credibility.
People want to buy services from companies that appear ‘legit’. Whether you’re convincing customers, suppliers, contractors or potential collaborators/employees, having a strong brand creates credibility. It helps people to believe that you’ll deliver on your promises – it makes you easier to trust. Branding helps people take you seriously. By building trust and delivering a good product/service you’ll reap the rewards of loyalty, repeat purchasing and glowing reviews. A DJ with a strikingly-branded business card, maybe a brochure, and certainly a matching website will usually be chosen over one with a standard Vistaprint-style business card, Facebook-only online presence, and a brand that is generally ‘vanilla’!

4. Value.
A brand with prestige can command much more value for its product/service than an identical product from a less-respected brand. A good example of this is cars. People will happily pay much more for a VW over a Skoda (and we all know why that is). In other words: if you cultivate a strong brand, you can charge more!

5. Stand Out.
Strong branding acts as a beacon to your target audience to set you apart from your competitors.

6. Bigger than the individual.
Branding can help you to create the illusion of establishment and longevity, especially if you’re just starting out. It can also help you to build a business that is bigger than just you as a sole DJ. This makes it easier to scale-up, branch-out, and ultimately end up with a business that has real value that you can sell when it comes time for retirement.

7. Expectation.
In some industries being well-branded is expected. In the DJ world there are, at the moment, very few properly-branded businesses in the UK. That means there is a real opportunity to rise above your competitors if you take this seriously.

8. First impressions.
Yes, we judge books by their cover. They count big time. By having a strong clear brand, potential customers will instantly understand what you offer and how it can benefit them. Leave them confused and they’ll simply walk away. Think of craft beers and wine, we make our pick completely based on the labelling; Brew Dog know this and have done phenomenally well using it to their advantage!

9. Member of the Club.
A brand can become a part of someone’s identity, like being part of a team or club. A strong brand can give customers (and employees) a sense of belonging, exclusivity, and even of a deeper purpose. It’s every brand’s dream and ultimate goal. Customers for life. If you’re into football then you’ll already understand this!

Branding’s undeniable power to bring prestige and profits to any business is clear. But it’s a process that involves every little detail of your business – there are no short cuts. It’s more than a design, a logo or a strapline. Your brand is the sum of all its parts and more - from its visual identity and customer experience to your business culture, brand promises and how you act upon them.
The full article can be found in Pro Mobile Issue 85, Pages 40-43.