When we think of brand, we tend to relate to large organisations or global products (think Coca-Cola, Ford, Coles, and so on).
We also think of brand as a logo, or slogan. The truth is that brand is way more than this, and just as important to a small business as it is to global businesses.
What is branding?
Branding is how your customers remember you. It is the development of values, goals, and service provided into a tangible force that prompts customers to buy your goods or employ your services time and again. Your brand is why customers recommend you to others.
Build a brand and you build revenues
Your brand is your business. Work hard on building your brand and you’ll be working on loyalty both inside and outside your business:
• A brand builds recognition
People will recognise your logo, of course, but they will also recognise what you stand for in the world. They will understand your values and note how they match with theirs.
• A brand builds trust
Are your employees credible and trustworthy? Do they look prepared for business and professional when they go to meet customers? Do your premises and vehicles portray the same professional approach? Trusted businesses create their own success.
• A brand builds on advertising
Advertising is the shop window to your business. New customers will immediately identify with its message. Ensure your message is clear and appropriate at all times.
• A brand energises employees
Your missions, values, and goals are integral to your branding. Build these and your employees will follow, proud of the company they work for and all pulling in the same direction. That’s good for business, good for customers, and good for you.
• A brand builds value
Goodwill is an intangible asset that will ramp up your company’s value, and goodwill is directly associated with your brand.
Without its branding, Coca-Cola would be no more than a dark fizzy drink.
Its brand is now so strong that its products command premium prices: a fact that is directly reflected in the value of the company.
Five tips to make your brand stand out from the crowd
Your brand connects you with your customers, making your product or service first choice. Here are five tips that will help you build a strong brand and stand out from the crowd:
1. Be clear about your vision
Consider your goals, your values, and products and services. If you understand who you are, it will be easier to communicate to your customers.
2. Be you, not someone else
Impersonators are great entertainment on stage or screen, but in business copying is not clever. Be original. Be genuine. Exist within your values, and be honest and transparent. Your business is unique, and so, too, is your brand.
3. Be consistent
Remain consistent, and don’t leave your customers second guessing what is coming next. A strong brand is loved because people know what to expect from it. In your marketing campaigns, remain consistent but communicate in different ways so that your message doesn’t become stale.
4. Be engaging with your customers
People today are more connected and knowledgeable than ever before. Engage with them through social media and SMS marketing. Give tips, tricks, and tools that make their life easier; post regular content to your blog; and become a trusted go-to resource. Credibility, loyalty, and revenue follow engagement.
5. Remember you are the brand
Build your brand from within, ensuring that your employees are engaged with the values and messages your company stands by. Hire people who align with your brand and believe in your products and services.