Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Why you should invest in your brand – in 500 words!

In this post I will aim to shed some light on the subject of branding; what it is, how it works and how you can use it to help the perception of your product or service and improve business’s performance.

The word ‘branding’ is chucked around liberally by all sorts of people and they’ll all have a different definition in mind. So, let’s start by getting a definition sorted.

“A brand is a set of associations that a person makes with a company based on their product, service and experiences or perceptions.”

These associations and perceptions may be actively promoted by the company via marketing, advertising and social media. Or they may be out of the company’s control due to poor reviews and negative press stories. The brand, therefore, is perceived by non-customers via what they see and read in the media and what they take from your advertising, and by customers through the performance of the products and dealings with the company.

Branding, therefore, aims to generate, influence and harness the positive perceptions and experiences to help the business strengthen its position in the market it is operating in. After all, every company wants to create a brand that presents the company as trusted, exciting and reliable – as improved results should follow.

Planned and thoughtful use of design, advertising and marketing can help to provide the desired outcome for a business. But also, don’t forget about your own corporate culture, staff training and your company core values that staff work by. They all play a part too. Integrate your brand strategies throughout your company at every point of customer contact, because your staff, as well as your customers, should be clear what the company stands for and the journey it is on.

There a number of well established brand techniques to put this theory into practice and they include:
  • ·Deliver your brand message clearly – use good propositions and snappy straplines
  • · Confirm your credibility – backup your marketing with statistics, performance and    good news stories
  • · Connect to your target audience emotionally – let them see how your product can  help them and that you understand their needs – you are one of them
  • ·Differentiate your brand from others – tell your company story, why your product  stands apart from anyone else’s and is right for your audience
  • · Existing or new brand? – you may need to redefine an existing brand or launch a new  one to sell a new product or service. If the latter, check domain names and twitter  handles are available
  • · Use an appropriate brand name and logo – a good brand name itself can help you  stand out in a crowded marketplace and set a positive tone and personality. Your logo  needs to be distinctive and identifiable in many different situations, whether online, on  social media or on stationery.
All these points should help motivate a prospect to buy or try, and cement your relationship with your existing customers. A strong brand is invaluable in the battle for customers. It's worth investing in.

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