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We sat down with Danielle Cantin, an award-winning strategic branding and marketing expert who helps us answer the questions: what is branding? What’s the importance of branding in business? Most importantly, what’s the ROI of branding?
First Off, What Is Branding?
This is the most important concept to understand and Cantin defines it in one simple sentence:
“Think of branding as your promise.”
She expands on this by explaining that your branding should be a promise to everybody. Maybe you have multiple audiences, but there are also your team members, your strategic partners, clients, and customers. She says:
“It’s [about] reconnection and alignment with what your real purpose is, and then you can get aligned with how you’re showing up in every aspect of your business. It’s more than your logo, It’s more than your colors, It’s more than your font, It’s who you are! If you’re not buying into what your promise is, how on Earth are your clients or customers ever going to buy into it?”
Without a strong foundation for what you want to bring to your team and your consumers, your brand is likely to get bogged down and will get lost in the myriad other businesses.
How To Create A Strong Brand
One thing that Cantin highlighted was the importance of creating a strong and consistent brand that appears often. This is something that investors are looking for in a business.
“You need to make sure that you’re consistent with everything. And we need repetition. I need to hear you at least 26 times. Back in the day, it used to be seven, but a Harvard study probably about five years ago said 23. People are reading through an insane amount [of content], which is why your promise is important. Create something that’s worth me tuning into. And please make sure it looks the same everywhere. Then I can go, ‘Oh, I remember you.’ The remembering is really important. Keep promoting that promise you made through multiple stories. Branding is your promise and marketing are the stories you tell about your promise.”
Cantin also believes social media is really powerful and encourages all small to mid-size businesses to use it. I get so frustrated when I see people either not using or using it in a way that doesn’t really showcase their company and skills, she says. Again though, it’s important that your social media is also aligned with your branding and promise, otherwise, your message can get muddled. “That’s a huge problem if there’s a disconnect between the social media and your team.” This can cause your branding message to be delayed and invite confusion to your customers and clients, Cantin says. She also mentioned using the same picture on all social media platforms and using similar language so everything seems consistent.
Branding And Your Return On Investment (ROI)
At the end of the day, all businesses want to know that the energy they’re putting in will be worth it. Cantin says that the best way to measure ROI is to think about the energy and time that you’re putting in. She says:
“Our greatest asset is our time. There’s only so much of it and, unlike money, we can’t make more time. If you really want return on investment, look at your time and figure out how to make things more efficient and elegant, and ask where the money is showing up.”
Cantin also circled back to asking yourself if your promise and messaging are all aligned. She mentioned that many business owners have “shiny object syndrome” where we get distracted easily and forget to stay consistent and aligned with our brand. She mentioned a client of hers who owns Airbnbs in Texas and this person was able to build a brand that was consistent and resonated not only with her guests but also her team members. This caused her business to skyrocket and she didn’t have to invest as much time to promoting her business because her guests were contributing, posting, and sharing their experiences.User-generated content about a brand is gold and Cantin says that when clients leave reviews, it’s the greatest gift on the planet. To Cantin, she says:
“It’s all about alignment. That makes the ROI result. It is literally a result of when you stay connected to your purpose, you tell stories that are relevant to that purpose. And you’re aligned across everything you’re doing in a really consistent way. There’s no way to not make money.”
To end, Cantin suggests that business owners keep it simple:
“I want to say keep it simple. Keep it as simple as you possibly can. We just get so bogged down in techno babble sometimes, or I need to do this or that. Just keep coming back to the promise, come back to the promise, keep it simple. And you’re going to show up in great ways.”
Watch the full video interview with Danielle Cantin below:
Danielle Cantin is an award-winning strategic branding and marketing expert who helps businesses achieve a deeper connection and brand alignment needed for profit and success. She worked at a national advertising agency for 13 years where she learned the ins and outs of what branding and marketing really entail. You can learn more about her on her website. https://www.yesandmarketing.com/