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12 Reasons Why Branding is Critical For Small Business Success

495-digital-branding

Branding is not just for large corporations with big budgets for marketing. Small businesses need branding for success in a world where concepts, services and products are often copied and used by competitors. A brand stands alone as the ultimate definition of a company, what it does and how customers feel about it.

Not convinced?

Here are 12 reasons why branding matters to small businesses.

1. Instant Recognition

A strong, consistent brand image often starts with a well-designed logo, making it easier for customers to remember, recognize and recommend you.

2. Competitive Advantage

Whether it is dependability, knowledge or friendliness, branding should emphasize a clear difference from the competition. Branding also helps a small business stand out by highlighting what it offers, which lets people know what to expect from it.

3. Brand Loyalty

Good branding will create customer loyalty and loyal customers will continue to support you through thick and thin. They will also spread a positive message to people they know.

4. Voice

The best brands have human characteristics, such as being quirky, fun or engaging. The target audience will connect more easily with a brand that appears to care about their needs and who they are as people.

5. Unity

A business’ brand connects products, logo, fonts, colors, voice, and everything else related to a business. If you’re able to unite and connect all of these components tightly, you’ll create a strong business.

6. Business Growth

Brands make it easier for a business to introduce a new product or service. Strong brands pave the way for your business growth. Once people trust a brand, you can easily add another product or service, or even get into a different area.

7. Consistency

Building a brand means being consistent about values. Everything the business does should exemplify its core concepts, including social media presence and even how it greets its customers when they call.

8. Asset Stability

Products might fail, companies are bought and sold, technologies change on a daily basis, but strong brands carry on through all these changes. Brands are the most sustainable asset of any organization.

9. Credibility

A quality logo will speak volumes about the business behind it. Building trust means looking the part.

10. Increased Value

People are always willing to pay more for a brand they recognize over a generic product with no proven track record. Having a brand elevates a product or service from ordinary to unique and valuable.

11. Size Perception

Even if a business is run out of a garage, a brand can make it seem bigger. This is important because if people knew the business was that small, they might not want to pay well for its offerings. Perception matters.

12. Revenue Through Word of Mouth

People will personally recommend a brand that they connect with emotionally. This builds trust and loyalty that often results in new customers. Free advertising is always the best kind.

Conclusion

Technology, the internet and social media create a great deal of noise in the current business climate. This is why it is crucial for a small business to build a focused brand and create a voice that cuts through the static. The process is challenging, exciting and brings priceless rewards. Contact 495 Digital today to discuss your project.

 

Removing The Marketing Blindfold Of Netflix’s Bird Box

On the third day of Christmas, my Netflix gave to me… something that it has never done before: it released “viewing figures” for a Netflix Original. On December 28th, Netflix announced on Twitter that 45,037,125 of their account holders watched Bird Box in its first 7 days of release. This is a staggering number when you consider that as of Q3 2018 Netflix had 137.1 million worldwide subscribers, meaning that 1/3 of all subscribers watched Bird Box in its first week.

Clearly a comparison to movie ticket sales is unfair as someone streaming a movie does not equate to someone willing to fork out $9.50 (approximate worldwide average ticket price), but it’s still interesting to note that this would represent a first week box office total of $427.8 million, which would put it $30 million higher than the all-time domestic opening week, held by Star Wars: The Force Awakens. This is an extraordinary success, especially when considering that anywhere up to an estimated 35% of users share their streaming passwords, and that more than one person could be sitting down watching the film, and it all adds up to some mind-blowing numbers.

While some may claim these account figures are dubiously high, the ratings company Nielsen has just backed up these claims, stating that Bird Box had an unduplicated audience of 26 million viewers in its first week (Nielsen measures USA viewing figures only, and with 58 million domestic subscribers, these figures easily match up with the 1/3 of all account holders claim). On its opening day, Nielsen calculated that Bird Box had 3.5 million viewers, which is actually considerably lower than last year’s Will Smith-driven, Bright which managed 5.4 million viewers, but then tapered off only hitting 20 million by the end of its first week.
                                    Credit: Nielsen

In fact, Bird Box was consistently watched by close to 4 million viewers every day for the first 10 days, whereas Bright rapidly declined in viewing figures, down to a little over a million on day 10. This comparison gives us an insight into how Bird Box might have pulled this off, so let’s examine what it takes to create such a success.

Star Power

What did Bird Box have that Bright did not? They both had considerable star power with Sandra Bullock driving the Bird Box machine, and Will Smith leading the way with Bright.

Credit: Netflix

While star power doesn’t hurt a film, it is by no means essential – take another Netflix hit sensation, Stranger Things, to demonstrate that – very little star power, but huge viewership (according to Nielsen, Stranger Things season 2 is the only Netflix Original with a higher unduplicated audience than Bird Box). Star power certainly didn’t hurt either film in drawing viewers to watch on day 1, but does not explain fully why Bird Box succeeded.

Make A Good Movie

Bright, directed by David Ayer (Suicide Squad, Fury) was not well received by critics, managing just 25% positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, although viewers seemed to not be so harsh, evidenced by its 6.3/10 average score on IMDb.com.

While Susanne Bier’s Bird Box was certainly more warmly received by critics (63% on Rotten Tomatoes), it only slightly out-paced Bright in terms of the general public (6.7/10 on IMDb). Decent ratings from critics and word of mouth certainly helped Bird Box, but again does not really crack the surface of this smash hit.

Imagery – That Blindfold And Beyond

The seed that seemed to spawn the viral hit that is Bird Box begins with its imagery, and within that, the blindfold. The single promotional images of Bird Box were striking and intriguing – whether it was Sandra Bullock in a river with a child, or in a forest, or a boat – the colors were drained (aka “we’re watching a dystopian movie!”), and everyone was blindfolded (aka “ok, now we’re intrigued!”).

Credit: Netflix

Yes, they plugged these images everywhere – the opening page of Netflix whenever it was launched, billboards, magazines, Times Square – you name it, they advertised there. So Bird Box was not without a huge marketing budget, but then neither was Bright, and that didn’t come close to achieving the success of Bird Box. And so we come back to that image, and the internet takes over…

The Power Of The Meme

Those beautifully striking blindfolded images happened to also be a meme goldmine. Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram blew up with Bird Box memes, and the viral sensation had begun.

Seeing memes about a movie or show that you haven’t seen, that also contains intriguing imagery, drove more and more people to stream the movie, and led to more and more memes. Rumors also started flying that Netflix themselves planted many of the memes, something they deny, but whether they did or didn’t, the ability of such a medium to go viral cannot be understated. The sensation even moved over to the world of the “Internet challenge” – the Bird Box Challenge had internet users videoing themselves doing daily tasks, but blindfolded – what could go wrong? After seeing this, including people driving cars blindfolded, Netflix felt compelled to post a warning for fans of the movie not to perform dangerous tasks while doing the challenge, probably more to attempt to cover their backs than to put any halt on the spread of the viral sensation that was taking place before them.

While it is tricky to identify the precise reason why Bird Box, an averagely reviewed movie, was such a success for Netflix, it is quite clear that the internet streaming giant’s willingness to embrace all forms of social media, combined with an understanding of the visual strengths of the movie they had under their belt and how to put it in front of every subscriber, and of course a huge advertising budget, all played a part in the movie being seen by a record-breaking number of viewers.