This is part B of the A to Z of Business & Website Tips
Branding is one of the most important aspects of any business.
Businesses large or small, retail or B2B (Business to Business) need to have an effective brand. An effective brand strategy gives your business an increasing way to be more competitive.
What is Branding?
Branding is simply your identity that customers relate to. Your brand tells your customers what they can expect from your services and products. It shows the differences you offer that your competitors may not offer or is not clear to customers. Your brand is determined by the way people perceive you and your business is, what you are trying to be & who you are.
The things that define your business, which makes up your brand include;
Are you reliable, are you expensive, are your experienced or innovative, do you offer exceptional customer service, value for money products & or services, do you have different offers that are your opposition lacks.
What your target customers think of you to some extent is your brand. However the foundation of your brand is your business logo, tag line and your mission.
In our case it is the Find Net Solutions logo,
– our tag line – ‘effective web solutions‘ &
– our mission statement ‘Find Net Solutions is your partner from concept to completion with ongoing friendly support’
Your website, business cards, promotional materials, company vehicle signage, your uniform also communicate your brand.
Brand Strategy & Equity
Your brand strategy is the way you communicate your brand message, the how, what, where, when and to whom you plan on communicating and delivering your brand messages to.
Your brand strategy involves where you advertise and your distribution networks and channels. What you communicate verbally and visually is also part of your brand strategy.
A strong brand is helped by being consistent with brand strategy. This means the added value brought to your company’s products or services that allows you to charge more for your brand compared to unbranded products command. An obvious example would be Coke vs. a generic soda. Coca-Cola has built a powerful brand, it can charge more for its product and customers do pay that higher price.
Perceived quality or emotional attachment that a product can get can help with it’s brand. This could be done with well known personalities or star using the product, like Nike & tennis players or Athletes endorsing dietary supplements.
Defining Your Brand
Defining your brand can be difficult and time-consuming. It requires you to answer these few questions;
- What is your company’s mission?
- What are the features and benefits of your services and products?
- What do your customers and prospects already think of your company?
- What qualities do you want people to associate with your company?
Do your research and find out what your existing customers and prospective customers needs, habits and desires are. You need to know what they think, so don’t rely on what you think, they think, you need to know what they think.
Defining your brand and developing a brand strategy can be complex, so consider using a Branding Specialist, maybe there is someone in your local, State Chamber of Commerce or other business group. If you get stuck we can find a professional branding company that I know offer a great service.
After your brand is defined you need to get it out there, here are a few things to consider;
- Get a great logo – you can get a professional logo at a good price with someone like the Logo Nerds. Then you need to put your logo every where.
- Write down your brand messaging – What are the key messages you want to communicate about your brand? You need to make sure that your employees are aware of your brand key points.
- Integrate your brand – to every part of your business, your uniforms & what your sales staff wear when in the field, the way everyone answer your phones, your e-mail signature, everything from stationary to promotional material.
- Develop a tagline – Write a concise and meaningful statement that captures the essence of your brand.
- Design templates and create brand standards for your marketing materials – Use the same color scheme for online & print with options if your logo needs to be on a light or dark background, the logo placement on material, the online & off line look and feel throughout all material. . You need to be consistent.
- Be true to your brand – If you don’t deliver on your brand promise, customers won’t return to you or refer you to someone else.
- Be consistent – in every way with you brand and have it every where, being consistent will make your brand stronger.
- A strong brand relys on you & your employees – living up to your brand message, are you easy to do business with?
- You need to always give exceptional customer service – and always make sure your services and products are value for money in your customer eyes.