Branding is one of the most important aspects of any business—be it a large or a small enterprise, online or offline model, or just a startup. An effective brand strategy gives you a major advantage in a world which is getting increasingly competitive. But what exactly is “branding”? Why is branding important for your business?
In simple terms, a customer identifies, distinguishes and experiences your business through your brand. Hence, your brand should reflect what your business stands for. Your brand should reflect your motto and what makes your business unique.
Strong branding starts with your logo—that is the foundation of any great brand strategy. Your website and other advertising collateral should communicate your brand—all of which should fit in with your logo. Your business branding should stand out in everything—from something as simple but important as your business card to something as big as being a basis for your entire marketing and advertising ideas.
What does your brand need? Before charting a branding strategy, it is important that you know what you want your business to represent. You need to have a branding plan that is in sync with your business vision and mission.
Focus on What Your Customer Wants
If you want to build your brand, you will need to concentrate on what your customers want from you as a business—and how you can deliver it. Maintaining a strong brand means delivering your promise. This calls for consistency in your service and all other aspects of customer service. Once you have defined your values clearly through your logo and content, you can start to build your brand by consistently communicating your brand values through different marketing medium.
Some key areas to consider before creating your branding identity are as follows:
- Your business logo
- Your business name
- Your products or services
- Your motto
- Your business cards
- How and where you advertise
- Product positioning, pricing, and packaging
- Your business model—whether offline or online
- Your business website
All these should be consistent with your brand identity and values.
Speak Through Your Brand Logo
Of particular importance to your business is your logo. Your logo is one of the first things that customers will see in the adverts. With the consistent delivery of your promise, customers will start to recognize your logo even before your business name. it will be synonymous with your business brand and name. Pay close attention to your logo design and its alignment with your core business beliefs and values. There are several management consulting firms that help with logo creation and brand marketing strategy. Such firms could help you come up with a plan for branding.
Manage Your Brand
Creating a brand identity is one thing—managing it is a whole other ball game. Include your employees in your brand marketing strategy—how they act and behave will play a crucial part in managing your brand. It reflects what your own staff thinks of your business. This will have a powerful impact on your customers while they are dealing with them, for their actions will provide effective evidence of your brand equity. Make sure your employees and everyone associated with your business know the importance of your brand identity, and how even one misstep can damage your branding.
Get Feedback From Customers
Getting regular feedback from customers—satisfied and dissatisfied alike—is one way to know whether your business is consistently delivering on the promise made by your brand. This way, you can gain valuable information about how your brand is perceived by the masses.
Review Your Brand
Remember that trends change, market changes and so do your customers. Even well-known brands have to continually strive hard to stay up to date and relevant to their most loyal customers. It is good to get a market research done in order to assess whether your brand is relevant to your customers or if it requires rebranding. Remember that your customers will often have an emotional bond with your business brand if it is well established, so any changes you make should be done after taking into serious consideration their existing relationship with your brand.
Your brand represents the whole customer experience—from how your customers perceive your business, experience your business, and identify and distinguish your business from others. It is not just about marketing or advertising signage that can be changed overnight.
Here are some tips on what your brand needs. To build a successful brand you should:
- Focus on your business values and motto.
- Focus on your customer’s needs and guarantee to deliver it.
- Take ownership of your brand.
- Believe in your brand—if you don’t stand by what you believe in, no one else will.
- Keep your brand strategy simple and eloquent.
- Be consistent in every aspect of your business—especially customer service.
- Be thorough and have a system in place to support your brand values.
- Communicate your brand through various marketing collateral.
- Involve your employees and make sure they understand and stand by your brand.
- Exceed expectations.
- Review your brand periodically and see whether there is room for improvement.
- Manage your brand effectively.