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First impressions matter, but branding is a long-term project

Malcom Gladwell, noted public intellectual and best-selling author, could teach us all something about selling. In Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, he wrote: “buyers make most decisions by relying on their two-second first impressions based on stored memories, images and feelings.”

In other words, your audience brings its own baggage to the table: you can’t peer inside their minds, you just have to make yourself as appealing as possible. Get a good logo, choose the right colour palette that appeals to your audience, make sure your website is fast and intuitive, and your tagline is engaging.

But here’s the thing: that’s just part of the story. Consumers don’t reward a business that gives them a poor experience with repeat custom. If you can convince people your coffee is the best, they’ll buy it. But if you don’t live up to that claim, they’ll try a competitor next time. That’s why, no matter what you may have heard, branding is a long-term project.

Research shows that consumers are more aware than ever before of what they’re buying, and from whom. Partly, this is down to the internet (information is massively more available to consumers today than it was twenty years ago), and partly it’s down to our advertising-saturated world: people today are better at sorting through the nonsense to find a message worth listening to.

That means your brand needs to set you apart from your competitors. You need a well-thought out strategy for differentiation, that is clearly and consistently communicated. And, of course, your service levels need to be 1st class.

A good marketing team can build you a great brand. They can get inside your business and extract the values at its core, develop a tone of voice and mission statement that resonates with your audience, and help you to define where you want your brand to be positioned.

But actually building that brand takes time. Your company has to live those values, deliver that service and reiterate those messages every day, consistently, for as long as possible. If your business acts like the business it wants to be, your customers will eventually come to see it that way.

If you’re struggling to balance the short-, mid- and long-term branding strategies in your business, we can help. Thrive has worked with some of the UK’s biggest and most recognisable businesses to drive growth in their key markets, delivering both an immediate boost to their bottom lines and a basis for longer-term growth. To learn more, just call Emma on 01675 446101.

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