Branding is one of the most important aspects of any business, large or small. An effective brand strategy gives you a major edge in increasingly competitive markets. Simply put, your brand is your promise to your customer. It tells them what they can expect from your services, and it differentiates your offering from your competitors’.
The foundation of your brand is your logo, or brand identity.
Your website and promotional materials (all of which should integrate your logo) create the ‘voice’ for your company that reflects your company values and culture. This voice should extend throughout the visual imagery of all materials and be incorporated into every aspect of your business – from your business cards to how you answer your phones, from what your staff wears to your e-mail signature, everything.
In a nutshell your brand needs to:
People tend to do business with companies they are familiar with. If your branding is consistent and easy to recognise, it can help people feel more at ease purchasing your products or services.
Action point: Think about your website, promotional material and everything that carries your logo. Are they consistent in look, style and quality? If not, where do you need to make changes?
In today’s global market, it is critical to stand apart from the crowd. You are no longer competing on a local stage, your organisation now competes in the global economy. How do you stand out from the thousands of similar organisations around the world?
Action point: Write down 3 things about your brand which differentiates you from your competitors. Then write 3 more.
4 People love to tell others about the brands they like. People wear brands, eat brands, listen to brands, and they’re constantly telling others about the brands they love.
Action point: It’s easier to love a brand when the brand loves you back so when a happy customer refers a new customer to you, thank them! A mention on your Facebook page, a brief handwritten note or a discount on their next purchase, whatever is appropriate: any of these will strengthen brand loyalty.
A brand that is consistent and clear puts the customer at ease, because they know exactly what to expect each and every time they experience the brand.
Action point: Ask existing customers what they like about doing business with you. Use social media or an online survey.
It is important to remember that your brand represents you… you are the brand, your staff is the brand, your marketing materials are the brand. What do they say about you, and what do they say about what you’re going to deliver (promise) to the customer?
Action point: Think of your favourite brand. What does it promise to you? How can you consistently keep the promise your brand makes?
The best branding is built on a strong idea… an idea that you and your staff can hold on to, can commit to and can deliver upon. Your brand needs to permeate your entire organisation. When your organisation is clear on the brand and can deliver on the promise of the brand, you will see tremendous results while building brand loyalty among your customer base.