The way your business is branded can make or break it in today’s globalised, competitive world. Effective branding is more important now than ever because competitors are no longer just down the road, they are all around the world.
A business’ brand is its consistent, public message conveying what it does and how it does it, and how you go about building and maintaining your brand is an important part of any marketing strategy.
The first step in building your business brand is defining ‘who’ your brand is: its values and personality traits, which will be shaped by a number of factors.
There are a few questions you should ask yourself when developing a brand identity:
- Who is your main target audience? Remember a brand cannot be all things to all people.
- Who are your competitors, what are they doing in the industry?
- What makes you stand out?
- What are your goals?
- What words do you want people to associate with the business?
These are just a few in a long list which will shape your brand’s messages and where you will share them. You also need to know your brand inside and out in order to make sure it stands out from your competitors.
What is it about your business that will make people buy from you, as opposed to someone else? What can you promise your customers or clients that no other business can?
Once you have the answers to these questions, create the character of your company that fully represents all of these traits. Ask yourself what the key qualities of your brand’s personality are and what you would like it to be known for.
Be that brand
Once your brand’s ‘character’ is established, everything you do should encompass who the brand is. Everything including digital marketing campaigns, your business name, business cards and how you treat customers need to reflect the values and personality of your brand. That personality needs to be integrated throughout your company at every point of public contact.
For example, it’s no use saying you have the ‘fastest response times in Australia’ and then not following through on the promise. If this is a part of who your brand is, it should happen no matter what.
To make sure you always deliver, identify each of the customer touch points. When does a customer come into contact with your brand? Go through your marketing, selling and servicing processes to determine all of the touch points and then ensure your brand messages are clear and reinforced through each point of contact.
Marketers don’t create brand positioning; they create strategic methods to encourage the customer to accept a particular relationship with the brand.
To position your offering effectively, you need to identify the key attributes or benefits that represent the value of your product or service to build trust in your brand. As you begin to understand the relationship your customers have with your brand, you will be able to meet their needs, wants and desires more efficiently.
In order to be positioned correctly, brands must meet a number of criteria:
- Relevance to the target audience’s lifestyle – is it clearly stated how the product or service can help them?
- Clear marketing messages – don’t trip yourself up by trying to be too smart and risk being misunderstood by consumers.
- Be genuine –ask yourself how your brand is more genuine than its competitors and then highlight this in marketing activities.
A strong brand is invaluable in today’s uncertain economy where all businesses are vying for client and customer loyalty. It’s important to spend time researching and building your brand. After all, it is a public promise to your consumer. It’s a vital piece in your communication you do not want to be without.