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Branding is overrated! Build reputation instead

Every business wants branding

If a business is not growing, it is shrinking, the old adage could’ve said. Every owner and investor wants their business to grow. If it doesn’t, what’s the point? Every business is looking for ways to attract new customers while retaining and upselling existing customers.

As you search for strategies to grow your business, branding comes up again and again. Branding seems to be the buzzword of the day in every business from air conditioning repair to zucchini farming. Every company worth its salt, it seems, is heavily invested in branding strategies as part of its marketing budget.

What is branding?

Strictly defined, branding is the association in the potential customer’s mind of a product or service with the name, images, and slogans of your company. Branding tells you that the fleet vehicle in front of you on the road is built “like a rock”, and it’s the reason someone might ask you for a Kleenex or some Scotch tape. Branding is why product placement in movies, TV shows, and even videogames can be a successful strategy—the product or service is associated with the name and the logo, and potential customers remember it long after they’ve seen it.

Branding is the perception in your target market that such-and-such company provides such-and-such solution. The apex of branding success is to become synonymous with their product or service the way Kleenex and 3M (the parent company of Scotch tape) have, which very few companies are able to do.

What branding cannot do

While branding is essential to every business, a business needs more than simple association to thrive. After all, everyone knows that the DMV is where you get your driver’s license, but that doesn’t mean they want to go there if they can help it! A potential customer might associate your company with what it provides, but that doesn’t keep them from seeking alternatives, whether based on cost, quality, or company values.

Branding is effective at helping people remember what your company can do, but it does not necessarily create a desire in them to become your customer. In order to do that, they need to see your company as not just a product or service provider, but something more. Depending on your brand, you may want to be seen as reliable, inexpensive, a good value, fun, quirky, a good time, trendy, innovative, or trustworthy.

Reputation to the rescue!

What branding cannot do, reputation can! In the age of social media, a written inquiry to a company might go ignored, but a tweet about a negative experience tends to get the customer instant resolution because every company wants to protect its reputation. Reputation is worth more than gold because it will draw your customer back again and again while enticing new customers too.

A reputation is created by the ordinary daily actions of the company, but it can also be enhanced by certain services. When you use organic reputation building plus a social media manager, a blog post writing service, and a targeted marketing campaign to create the reputation you desire, your prospective customers will not only know that you offer certain products and services, but they will also want to come your way because they know that your company will provide the experience they are looking for to become loyal to your company.

Ideally, you want the target market to see your company as the go-to. Whether you are the stalwart leader, the funky alternative, or the upstart maverick, your company becomes the only solution the customer wants to fulfill the needs they have related to your product and service offerings. Customers will not only know what you do, but what kind of experience to expect from you, and they will actually look forward to interacting with your company!

Where can reputation take your business?

While branding is still needed to let the potential customer know that you exist, it can’t do everything. Reputation will take your brand to the next level by creating an image of your company that appeals directly to your target market. When you build not just a brand but a reputation, the sky is the limit for your company’s growth and longevity.

Written by Jessi W

Jessi W is an American freelance writer with more than 6 years of full time writing experience across various.

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