People in today’s society is pretty standard. They wake up, and while getting ready for the day, they are likely checking the news and not just on CNN or Fox…In addition to these traditional sources of information, consumers today are connected to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and any other variety of social media networks and online communities.

The good news…Well, this connection to online media makes it easy for entrepreneurs to get their information before an audience. But, the bad news is that that same audience is inundated with marketing and material 24/7. So, how can a social entrepreneur get his message heard? It’s easier than it might seem and can be summed up in a single word – branding. An effective brand goes beyond just the company’s logo or its name. A brand establishes the mere essence of the social enterprise and can make or break the business of affecting change.

Many small start-ups neglect to spend the needed time thinking about their brand in the broader sense of its impact on the business. Truly developing the brand is especially important as a social entrepreneur, and here are 10 important reasons why.

1. Branding Evokes Recognition

Consumers want to do business with a company that they know. If a brand is effectively established, it is easy to recognize and can encourage customers to purchase or invest.

2. Branding Establishes a Competitive Edge

In today’s world of information overload, it is easy for businesses to be overlooked, especially when they are focused on social connections. The best way to stand out is to have an effective brand that speaks for itself.

3. The Brand Is the Very Essence of the Business

Businesses today have around 3 to 5 seconds to evoke an emotional connection with new customers. If the brand doesn’t have a story to tell that can be interpreted in that amount of time, consumers will move on without hesitation. An effective brand that creates a full experience is the number one best way to tell customers the right story, which is especially important when it comes to evoking social change.

4. The Brand Is a Component of Effective Leadership

Effective leadership is an essential component in any business venture, and a well-established brand strategy can actually contribute to that effort. A clear brand provides clarity for not only consumers but also for the staff and makes it easier for everyone to work together to meet the organization’s goals and be successful.

5. Branding Promotes Sharing

It is no surprise that people love to share brands and products they love. Brands are on and in almost everything today – from food to clothing, and even music. Effective branding is an important way to get people to share and to create referrals or even viral traffic.

6. Branding Establishes Consistent Expectations

When an individual is exposed to a brand, he automatically establishes an expectation of that brand. If the brand is consistent, his expectations will be met. However, if branding is inconsistent or unclear, individuals won’t know what to expect or, worse yet, will be disappointed.

7. The Brand Represents the Individual and the Business

A brand isn’t just a random demonstration of ideas. It is intended to be an effective representation of the business as well as the individual behind the business. It is crucial to create a solid brand to effectively represent oneself and the business.

8. Branding Creates Focus

It is easy to jump from one idea to the next with very little rhyme or reason, especially in today’s fast-paced, hyper-motivated society. However, doing so makes it difficult to achieve or accomplish anything. A clear brand can help an individual and an entire organization remain focused on the mission and vision of the establishment. Effective branding is strategic and guides the business toward its goals.

9. The Brand Evokes an Emotional Connection

Investing in a movement is an emotional decision. A good brand encourages consumers to connect on an emotional level and engage authentically.

10. Branding Equates Value

Strong branding helps a business develop value that extends far beyond its physical assets. Companies today like Coca-Cola, Chick-Fil-A, and Apple aren’t just valued on their actual physical property. They are known and valued by their brand. Branding creates a value that is far greater than the physical.

Branding is one of the most important initial components of a social enterprise and must be built on an idea that individuals can engage with, hold on to, and carry out. A solid brand gives the individual and organization as a whole the willpower to succeed. While establishing this type of branding is an ambitious endeavor, it’s an even more dangerous one to neglect. Individuals wanting to evoke change and be known as a social entrepreneur must invest in effective branding and establish a name for themselves that goes beyond a simple logo.