Top tips for building a brand
A key component to any business strategy is branding. How do you communicate your company values, what do you communicate and to whom? These are all critical questions that should be considered in the process of strategic planning. Building a brand is a lengthy, intangible process that relies on marketplace insight, competitor analysis and an understanding of your customer base. What does your customer look like, what do they want and how much are they willing to pay for it?
In order to build a brand with longevity, there are a number of strategic steps that should be implemented:
Link your brand with your business model A brand is more than simply your company logo, corporate colours, literature design and website; it is the relationship you establish with your customer. Your brand is defined by how the customer perceives your company and product offering and how this makes them feel. Branding strategy should be linked to your overall business model. It is important to consider what your unique selling points are and how your product differentiates itself from others in the market. This should then be communicated in every customer interaction. The ultimate aim in branding is to establish your product as the leader in its category.
The key elements to a brand should be communicated consistently, internally and externally. Promotional messages should be constructed so that they enhance the brand and communicate the values that are outlined in your business strategy. It is also important that employees understand and appreciate the brand values of the product and how they impact on delivery. To ensure that everyone in the company understands the message being communicated to the target market, it should be reinforced in daily interactions within the workplace. For example, the brand message should be referred to in business meetings; it could appear on company paperwork, on architectural signs or on posters mounted on office walls; it should be talked about during lunch breaks and over people’s desks. The more it is discussed, the more it will remain in employees’ thoughts.
There are two main ways a customer will connect with a product or service; rationally or emotionally. Some major brands benefit from being priced higher because there is an emotional connection with the customer. Often, the price is not always the important factor; otherwise the customer would source a cheaper alternative. Often, the buying decision is made due to the way a customer feels about a particular brand.
Understand your competition
Business strategies should always include a section on the competition; who are they, what do they do and how do they do it? Keeping an eye on your competitors’ activity will ensure you have all the information needed to make the best management decisions regarding your brand. It is also important to find out what customers are saying about your competition. However, when considering your competition, ensure you are not influenced by what they are doing. Your brand is defined by a specific set of values, different from your competition. If you copy what other companies are doing, you are at risk of undermining your brand identity.
This guest post was contributed by Lloyd on behalf of IS Group.