According to recent research, it takes less than two-tenths of a second for an online user to shape their first opinion of a brand once they’ve browsed through a company’s website. It also takes just another 2.6 seconds for that viewer’s eyes to focus in a way that fortifies that first impression.
We all know that first impressions are important. We like to believe that we don’t judge a book by its cover or a person by their appearance, but the truth is that we often do.
For small businesses, what potential customers judge them on is often determined by their first impression of the business’ external features. Some of these features include the business’ storefront, website and social media pages. This doesn’t mean that they need to be the best dressed or look like something they’re not, but what it does mean is that business owners need to ensure that their image reflects who they are. This way consumers can size them up quickly, leaving them with a positive first impression. A positive first impression means that consumers will remember those brands and what they had to offer. These consumers will then essentially be drawn back to these brands time and time again.
The first impression of any brand is so important. In order for any business to be successful, their brand needs to reflect the business in a positive and accurate light. A business owner can spend considerable amounts of money on advertising and marketing to bring in first time customers, but if these customers don’t venture further than the first page of the website or physical store front, because of the way they are branded, then the business is inadequate and the owner is wasting both time and money.
Branding is critically important, but actually delivering on the brand promise is just as crucial. If you are a ‘flash in the pan’ business looking to make a quick money and then live out the rest of your days at the beach, you might be able to make it work for your business over the short-term. If you plan to be in the game for a while, however, you need to deliver on your brand promise or your branding will be nothing but a flop. Outstanding branding efforts won’t make up for poor products and services!
It is essential to communicate your brand promise to potential customers successfully, otherwise, you will just be another small business with a great service or product that wanes away due to lack of customers. If people don’t know about your business (or don’t want to know about you, because they don’t really understand the benefits of what you’re offering), your responsibility is to change that. As a business owner, it is your job to take the necessary steps to ensure that your business is recognisable and known in the market you serve and that your ‘brand’ is understood.
Branding encourages people to remember businesses. It is essentially a ‘mark’ that is carried through any relevant advertising and marketing campaigns of a business. A brand name will carry weight based on the reality of who the business is, what the business does and how the business does it. You don’t need to be a big business for this to work in your local market, but you do need to do the work of building your brand, and this takes time.
If you over promise and under deliver, this too will affect your business and impact it in a negative way. Great branding helps solidify a bad reputation in the marketplace too. A good reputation is hard to beat. A bad reputation is hard to overcome. Branding will anchor your brand in the marketplace and build your business up to potential permanent success.
Branding isn’t only skin deep, it’s who you are, everything you do and how you do everything. By approaching a professional agency, like Softserve Digital Development that specialises in brand development, you are guaranteed a brand that communicates all of this, plus you can rest assured that your brand’s first impression will count.