Branding is one of the most important aspects of any business, large or small, retail or B2B. An effective brand strategy gives you a significant edge in increasingly competitive markets. But what does branding mean? How does this affect a small business like yours?
Simply put, your brand is your promise to your customer. He tells them what they can expect from your products and services, and this sets your offer apart from your competitors. Your brand is based on who you are, who you want to be, and who you perceive yourself to be.
Are you a pioneering maverick in your industry? Or experienced, reliable? Is your product an expensive, high quality option, or an inexpensive, high cost option? You cannot be both, and you cannot be everything to all people. Who you should be to some extent based on what your target customers want and who you should be.
Brand strategy and equity
Your brand strategy is how, what, where, when, and to whom you plan to communicate and deliver your brand messages. Where do you advertise part of your brand strategy. Your distribution channels are also part of your brand strategy. And the way you communicate visually and verbally is also part of your brand strategy.
Consistent strategic branding results in strong brand equity, which means the added value you bring to your products or your company's services, allowing you to charge more for your brand than something that is identical without branded products. The most obvious example of this is Coca-Cola versus common soda. Since Coca-Cola has built powerful brand equity, it can charge more for its product - and customers will pay that higher price.
The added value inherent in brand equity often arises in the form of perceived quality or emotional attachment. For example, Nike associates its products with celebrity athletes, hoping that customers will transfer their emotional attachment from the athlete to the product. For Nike, it's not just the features of the shoes that the shoes sell.
Defining your brand is a business self-discovery journey. This can be difficult, time consuming, and inconvenient. This requires at least an answer to the following questions:
What is the mission of your company?
What are the benefits and features of your products or services?
What do your customers and prospects already think of your company?
What qualities do you want to associate with your company?
Do your research. Explore the needs, habits and desires of your current and potential customers. And don't rely on what you think they think. Know what they think.
Since defining your brand and developing a brand strategy can be tricky, consider using the expertise of a nonprofit small business advisory group or Small Business Development Center.
Once you've identified your brand, how do you understand it? Here are some simple, time-tested tips:
Get a great logo. Place it all over the place.
Record your brand messaging. What are the key messages you want to communicate about your brand? Every employee needs to know your brand attributes.
Integrate your brand. Branding extends to every aspect of your business - how you answer your phones, what you or your salespeople wear to sales calls, your email signature, everything.
Create a voice for your company that reflects your brand. This voice should be applied to all written messages and included in the visuals of all materials, online and off. Is your brand friendly? Be talkative. That's cool? Be more formal. You get the gist.
Develop a tagline. Write a memorable, meaningful and concise statement that captures the essence of your brand.
Create templates and create brand standards for your marketing materials. Use the same color scheme, logo placement, look and feel. You don't have to be fantasy, just consistent.
Be true to your brand. Customers won't come back to you - or reach out to someone else - if you don't deliver on your brand promise.
Be consistent. I only put this point last time because it includes all of the above and is the most important piece of advice I can give you. If you cannot do this, your attempts to build a brand will fail. Development Company: AI, Blockchain, IoT, Kyiv, Lviv, Odessa, Dnipro, Vinnitsa, Ukraine