Marketing Nut UK 11 Nov 14 enhanced by Peter/CXO Wiz4biz
Importance of Branding is just as significant for small businesses, as it is for big names. Indeed, many corporate brands try to look more like small firms in order to appeal to consumers that prefer to support small independent brands. An Advertising agency guru explains how to develop your own brand identity. “Many small business owners I talk to already understand that branding is essential to their business, but a surprisingly high number of them don’t really know why. They recognize the link between successful businesses & strong branding and aspire to build a brand that emulates similar success for themselves. They understand that branding is not just a logo or how their business is perceived externally. But too few realize that successful brands have this “branding” at the heart of the business. So much so that in many ways you could almost substitute the word Brand for business.
Branding is a way of defining your business to yourself, your team & your external audiences. It could be called your business’ “identity”, but only on the understanding that it embodies the core of what your business is & its values, not just what it looks & sounds like. Customers of all sorts of businesses are so savvy today, that they can see through most attempts by companies to gloss, spin or charm their way to sales.
The Benefits that a strategically defined brand can bring are the same as when people fall in love with each other. When customers connect emotionally, it’s because they share the same values & beliefs of a brand. It leads to higher sales & better brand differentiation. It also leads to loyalty, advocacy and can even protect your price – in times when competitors rely on promotional discounts to drive sales. It can also give you the ideal platform from which to extend your offering or range. Here are tips on how to successfully implement branding for your business.
1. Define your Brand. Review the product or service your business offers, define its market niche and research the emotional & rational needs + concerns of your customers. Your brand character should promote your business, connect with your customer base & differentiate you in the market-place.
2. Think of your Brand as a person. Every one of us is an individual whose character is made up of beliefs, values & purposes that define who we are and who we connect with. Our personality determines how we behave in different situations, how we dress and what we say. Of course – for people – it’s intuitive and it’s rare that you even consider what your own character is, but when you’re building a brand it’s vital to have that understanding.
3. Consider what is Driving your business. What does it believe in, what is its purpose & who are its brand heroes. These things can help establish your brand positioning and inform the identity & character for brand communications.
4. Aim to build long-term Relationships with your Customers. Don’t dress up your offering and raise expectations that result in broken promises, create trust with honest branding. Be clear &concise who your company is and be true to the values that drive it every day.
5. Speak to your customers with a Consistent tone of voice. It will help reinforce the business’s character and clarify its offering, so customers are aware exactly what to expect from the product or service.
6. Don’t try to Mimic the look of chains or big brands. (unless it’s to your advantage) Try and carve out your own distinctive identity. There is a big consumer trend towards independent establishments, and several chains are – in fact – trying to mimic an “independent feel”, to capture some of that market. Truly independent Startups can leverage their status to attract customers who are looking for something more original & authentic – that aligns with how feel about themselves.
7. Be Innovative, Bold & Daring. Stand for something you believe in. Big brands are encumbered by large layers of bureaucracy, preventing them from being flexible and reacting to the ever-changing needs of their customers. Those layers of decision-makers can make it hard for them to be daring with their branding – as you could be with a highly flexible Strartup.
8. Always consider “consistent” Branding when communicating with customers. Don’t lose your pride or dilute your brand positioning with indiscriminate discounting. Try offering more Value, rather than slashing prices. Promotions are an opportunity to reinforce your brand mission.
Comment: What do think would enhance a Brand?