It doesn’t matter what you sell. Or if you have a big marketing budget, a tiny little one, or something in between. Whether you’re selling widgets on eBay, operating a SaaS startup, or working for a major corporation with industry cache, when it comes to branding, every business owner should be on the same page:

Branding is a non-negotiable, period.

Branding gives you ROI (as long as you do it right). It gives you increased visibility (no one can say no to more eyeballs). It gives you that differentiator against your competitors (crucial if your industry is hyper-competitive). Here’s why (and how) you can implement a successful branding exercise and power up your business as a result.

Branding = Legitimacy

Think about how you buy products and services. Would you do business with a company whose logo looks like something mashed together in 5 minutes using Microsoft Paint? Exactly.

Branding gives legitimacy to your business. It gives a psychological hint that you know what you’re doing, that you’re professional. And this goes beyond just your logo. It’s about continuity in your Facebook posts (a single ‘voice’), consistent branding throughout, and a professional approach to everything you do.

The stats back up this approach, with studies suggesting you can achieve a 23% boost in revenue. Here’s a couple of tips to do this:

  • Small changes, not wholesale redesigns. Look at how Starbucks changed its logo. Still recognizable, right? Same color scheme, similar branding. But it’s better, with improved artwork and a slightly more modern edge.
  • Put together a branding framework. Your business should do stuff by design, not haphazardly. You want to ensure all employees know what branding expectations are, from writing copy to publishing posts on Instagram or Facebook.

Boost Brand Awareness (& Recognition)

You want potential customers to know who you are, and why they should do business with you, right? Well, then you’re going to need branding. Because branding is key to attaining awareness and recognition.

These two terms overlap, but there are slight differences. Recognition is the most basic one, where people know who you are just by looking at your logo, or branding. Important, sure, which is why you need to get a professional look, and consistency from top to bottom.

Awareness, however, is a little different. This is more about pushing the envelope in terms of what makes you different, what your values are, that unique selling point everyone is looking for. Awareness connects customers to the soul of your company.

Branding boosts awareness in various ways. For instance, you can brand your company as an educator, an authority in your space. Give for free, gain customers. It can be something as simple as an information blog post, for instance. This full-of-good-stuff post is a no-frills example from a valve manufacturing company; it’s not selling anything, they have a nice infographic (visually appealing but not too expensive to order for a small company), and, most importantly, it shows they’re an authority in the space.

It doesn’t all have to be educational, however. You can also opt for the entertainment route. For instance, think about the many companies that run YouTube channels with awesome content, where very little selling going on (at least not blatantly). LEGO is the absolute template when it comes to this approach, although Disney is no slouch either.

It Keeps Your Employees Happy

The final entry isn’t about customers, but about employees. Did you know that branding has a role in retaining talent? Yes, it’s true. Think about it: humans are tribal. We stick to brands as consumers because we like the feeling of being part of a community, a family.

Employees feel the same way. If your branding is on point, they’re more likely to stick around. They’ll feel more attachment to your cause, they’ll work harder, and they’ll be happier overall. You want your branding to make employees feel proud to work for you.

And this isn’t just about keeping your talent, but also about recruitment. If your company is known to be the place where it’s at, you’ll get the best people in the business applying for a role when a vacancy pops up.

Branding Is More Than a Logo

Remember, branding isn’t just about how pretty your website is, or your logo. They’re a part of the formula, but perhaps more importantly: consider your voice, your customer service reputation, company culture, your ethos.

Approach branding with a plan, with a clear understanding of why it’s important. Don’t ignore it, don’t think of branding as a secondary exercise. Branding should be front and center of everything your company does. Put it by the wayside, and you’ll lose customers.

Tanya Mayer is a blogger from Brisbane, Australia. She is interested in writing on various topics relating to marketing, small business, and tech.

Branding stock photo by quietfall/Shutterstock