Branding defines your business, you, your team and of course customers. It should be a business' 'identity', but only based on the understanding that it encompasses the core of what the business is and values, not how it looks or sounds to others. People are business savvy today and they can see through most attempts by companies to gloss, spin or charm their way to a conversion.
The benefits that a strategically defined brand can offer a business are the same as when people fall in love.
· A customer connects emotively because they share the same values or beliefs as a brand.
· A strong brand encourages people to remain loyal. If a business masters the loyalty factor, it can protect your pricing structure when competitors are pushing promotional discounts to drive their sales.
· Your brand can give you a great foundation from which to extend your services or range of products.
Brand building steps
Here are ten tips to help you implement branding for your business:
1. Define your brand.
Take a good look at the product or service your business offers. Then ask a few friends for their opinion. Sometimes we can get too close to our businesses, that we miss the blindingly obvious. You then need to pinpoint your area in the market, followed by research based on the emotive and rational needs of your customers. Your brands ‘personality’ should promote your business, connect with your customers and make your brand top of mind when it comes to a purchase.
2. Think of your Brand as a person.
A person’s character is made up of beliefs, values and purposes that define who we are. Personality determines how we engage with people day to day. Of course, for most it's a natural occurrence and it's rare that you even consider what your own character is, however when you build a brand it's a vital part to understand.
3. What is driving your business.
What is its purpose and who does your brand aspire to? This helps establish your emotive brand position within the market. The identity and personality for the brand communications will come from this too.
4. Build long-term relationships.
Never promote an unsustainable offer, as this will raise expectations and result in broken promises. Trust and honesty is very important when it comes to your branding - be clear about what your company is offering and be true your values.
5. Be consistent in your approach.
It reinforces the business' personality and again be clear about what the business is offering so customers know precisely what to expect from your product or service.
6. Don't repeat content over and over.
Aim to make your promotional content work together to create a clear identity.
7. Don't try to copy big brands.
Aside from doing a poor ‘copycat’ job, of a multi-million-pound Branding agency, there is a big trend towards independents and there are several chains attempting to mimic independents. As an independent business you can attract customers who are looking for something more unique and authentic.
8. Innovative, bold and daring.
Large companies struggle due to a lot of bureaucracy which prevents them from being flexible and reactive to ever-changing needs of their customers. The layers of decision-makers make it hard for them to make the decisions to move their business forward with their branding.
9. No big discounts.
Don't heavily discount or you devalue your brand. Offer more for your customers money, rather than big discounts. Promotions are a way of reinforcing your brand.
10. Don’t be over zealous with your logo.
Branding must be fluid and engaging, don’t underestimate your customers' intelligence. Create intrigue and allow them to find out more about your brand. Companies that manage to do this create a following of loyal customers who are more than happy to be brand ambassadors.