Many business owners, especially those just starting, do not have a good understanding of just what a brand is and how to create one in their business and even if they know what a brand is, they may not know how to utilize a brand to their best advantage.
What is a Brand?
.it is a name
. A logo
. A combination of colors
. A symbol
. A smell
. A slogan
Yes! They are visual standards, easily identified by our sensory perceptions. They are built by businesses to communicate the value proposition. However, branding is also a:
Branding is the process of creating a strong, positive perception of a company, its products or services in the customer’s mind by combining such elements as logo, design, mission -statement, and a consistent theme throughout all marketing communication.
Effective branding helps companies to differentiate themselves from their competitors and build a loyal customer base.
THE IMPORTANT OF BRANDING IN YOUR BUSINESS OR ORGANIZATION
First and foremost, a unique brand can have a huge impact on your business by giving you a competitive advantage over your competitors and helping you acquire and retain customers at a much lower cost.
To use a brand effectively, you must create a brand that reflects you and your company in the best possible way.
You must also be consistent in its use throughout all forms of your marketing like visual marketing, direct marketing, creating a message, hiring the people to support your brand, and the display and use of your brand.
These you do not own, your consumers do. A brand is that emotional connection that you evoke in the mind of your customers. It is a degree of trust, a set of characteristics, the attributes that are consistent and evident to anyone who comes in contact or does business with you.
Simply, your brand is what the people say it is; a summary of their perception of all your business activities.
Brand positioning is critical when a buying decision is to be made, it is every business owner’s dream that their name pops out in the customer’s memory without effort.
The strength of a brand is as a result of the perception and activities their customers, supporters, and competitors have come to associate the organization with.
Branding is only within your grasp if you undergo the strategic process of identifying what you stand for, how you like to be perceived and the continual process of influencing perceptions using identified channels to communicate those value propositions.
The future of branding is creating real connections between consumers and product.
Branding is a living continuous process that can refresh the product cycle. Today, building a brand is not just about creating the nicest of new logos, symbols, and adverts; it now requires more.
This is the era of the social customer; savvy, social and tech-oriented marketing. Your entrepreneurship skills will require a little more creativity, openness to adaptive change, prompt response, consumer insight and an eye for profit.
So how do you get your branding done?
That what you be asking yourself, well I have put together five smart step of branding.
FIVE SMART STEPS TO BUILDING A WINNING BRAND STRATEGY
1 Establish your Brand Fundamentals
The fundamentals of your brand are not the nice and snazzy looking logos and designs you got someone to create for you far from it. It is the very core of your being that is not necessarily visible to others on cursory look.
Everything visible about a brand is offshoots of strong brand fundamentals. Leading brand and brand management agency; Inter-brand developed the “brand Iceberg” concept to illustrate how the invisible components support the visible brand elements.
These Key components include your brand vision, mission and values.
Your vision should show what you aspire to be, your mission should inspire your target market.
A vision statement outlines your inner aspirations, your utmost aim.
Where you want to be, this should outline what you want your company to be in the future, like an ideal version of where you want to be. Some striking example includes;
. Microsoft: “A personal computer in every home running Microsoft software.”
. Avon “To be the company that best understands and satisfies the product, service and self-fulfillment needs of women globally.
If your business vision talks about where you want to be, a mission statement outlines how you to achieve this especially in relation to your stakeholders.
This statement should be a concise statement of business strategy and developed from the customer’s perspective. It should fit into how you will fulfill the vision for the business. The mission should answer three questions what do we do? How do we do it? For whom do we do it? Below are some examples.
.Google: To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.
. GTBank: To deliver the utmost in customer service.
More and more people are making buying decisions based on an alignment of values not advertising.
What values does your organization stand for? Your business needs a set of values that will be reflected in the character of your business.
The values should be manifest in your organization’s culture, attitude and behavior.
Apart from tallying with your colors, your employees should be living embodiments of those values.
2. Develop Your Visual Identity Standards.
Your visual identity standard is a physical representation of your brand fundamentals. It reflects all the sinews of your business and is visible on all your touch points.
Visual identity standards are not factors you can just develop; it needs to be a progression of your brand ideals.
There are three basic components that under-gird your visual standards which are your
Logos and branding are so important. In a big part of the world, people cannot read French or English but are great at remembering signs. – Karl Lagerfeld
Logos are the most powerful brand assets through which customers identify, differentiate and associate themselves with brands.
Through billions invested in advertising and promotional efforts, the Nike “Swoosh” logo which was bought for $35 in 1971 ranks among the top 30 most valuable brands in the world, with an estimated value of more than $13 billion according to inter-brand.
The logo is one asset that may be transferred if a company like Nike desires to diversify into another industry.
Colors are the emergence of visual communications, which involve the use of colors, pictures, and images to promote brands and business, the colors of your brand is now more important than ever.
Have you ever considered the importance of color in branding?
Color plays a huge role in memory recall. It stimulates all the senses, instantly conveying a message like no other communication method.
3 Communicate Across Consumer Touch Points
People may buy the products you are selling, but they become loyal customers because of what your company represents.
Therefore your vision, mission, values, unique positioning is not just meant for you and your employees; you need to let everyone feel the impact of your story.
If you wondering what touch point is, it is a business term for any opportunity or platform where a potential or existing customer or stakeholder comes in contact with your business.
They are unique opportunities to leave a lasting impression on your target audience.
Below are some examples of emerging digital touch points
. Social networking sites
. Mobile app
. Branded content.
.Customer service forums
If you are not deliberately communicating and influencing your target audience your customers will define you.
If you don’t give your customers great stories to tell, pray they don’t have bad ones to run with, which will not be good for your business.
4. DEVELOP YOUR MARKETING TACTICAL PLAN
Depending on the available resources, you will then need to develop a tactical marketing plan for your business which may include some amount of off-line tactics.
The usual way to continually keep your brand fresh is to create fresh, relevant and consistent content to engage your target audience.
This will help your customers remember your business when they need to buy from you, it will help them find you quickly and for you to have that plan that should be updated regularly.
5 Remember to give back.
Something as simple as saying thank you to your loyal customers can go a long way in strengthening your brand image.
Show gratitude by running special loyalty programs or promotions, offering occasional free gifts or extending discounts.
It’s a surefire way to build long-term relationships with your customers and humanize your brand in the long run.
Products die because it depends a lot on the company, but brands may not, customers are in charge of that.
With consistent investment in brand relevance, one can increase the lifespan of the brand.
If you ask around and people cannot associate your product with anything, it’s time to move beyond selling ordinary products into building a brand.
With this few points I have, I hope you place your brand out there because we are in the storytelling age which is digital.
Leave a comment below please so let me know how I can help you more because your growth is important to me.