What is Branding?
Branding is all of the ways you establish an image of your company in your customers’ eyes. In other words, this is how you influence the consumer’s perception of your company and your services.
Every time a customer comes in contact with your brand, they will have either a positive or a negative experience. Those experiences will add to their perception of your brand. Those experiences are recalled later when it’s time to make a purchasing decision. How do you want your brand to be remembered when the time comes for a prospect to buy? You need to start building that positive perception today and do whatever is necessary to maintain it.
It is vital that a strategic marketing plan is thoroughly designed, communicated and above all consistent with your company image before you start to launch your brand presence online.
Why is it an important aspect of marketing?
The aim of branding is to make it easier for your clients to grasp what you have to sell and how you vary from the competition. Yet it's more than a USP (unique selling proposition); it's the sum of all the ways you express what you stand for.
In addition to your logo and corporate colors, you can communicate your brand message through:
· Your store environment and atmosphere
· How your staff members treat customers
· How your staff members dress
· The products you carry
· The price you charge
· Product packaging
· Public relations
· Public speaking
· Direct mail
· Nonprofit partnerships
What your customers and prospects take away from all this shapes your brand.
Building a Brand
If your business does not yet have a consistent brand, or you don’t like what your brand currently stands for, it’s time to rebrand. Here are few suggestions for improving your company’s public image:
- Identify what your customers love most about
your business. What makes yours stand out? What are your strengths?
- Create a brand message that conveys what your business aims to do for its customers – what you’re best at. ie. Apple: “Think different.” Apple’s brand promise is two-sided–their guarantee to create products based on seeing the world a little differently, and their promise to inspire their customers to do the same.. That’s its brand promise. Marriott promises quiet luxury. What are you promising your customers? And are you delivering?
- Make sure your visual elements match your message, and your brand. If you’re promising innovation, don’t use greys and boring images.
- Develop standards for employee dress and
behavior that support your brand promise. Make sure they understand what your
brand is and can support it.
- Apply your visuals across every marketing tool you use, from advertising to signage to store displays to mailings to shopping bags.
Branding is a complex process, mainly because its success or failure is determined by your customers’ reactions to the act of doing business with you.
Here are four things you should keep in mind as you build your company’s brand:
1) Own the “Significant Thing”: Dole tried to be all things to all people spend your time focusing on a single clear message. Mercedes-Benz owns “ Engineering “ in the car industry because it’s focused on that singular message for decades.
2) Consistency is key: consistent presentation will ensure that your customers recognize you. Be consistent in the use of logos, taglines, visual elements, tone, and ad copy. Coca-Cola it is one of the most recognized brands in the world because they haven’t changed in decades. Make sure your brochures, website, Direct mail, and all the other advertising have the same feel and message.
3) Make your message relevant: know your audience, know what they care about and how to speak to them. Make sure what you sell is what they need. Remember the conversation should always be about your audience, not you.
4) Use a strong offer to motivate: you want your audience to remember you and you want its members to buy from you. You need to move them to action. A strong offer should give them a reason to buy. Make the offer clear and appropriate for your brand.