It goes without saying that every business wants to be a customer's first choice and building and managing a brand can play a significant part in making that happen. The concept of a brand extends far beyond just your company logo to your business' core values and to every interaction you have with customers and suppliers. In effect, your brand creates and maintains your reputation and so reflects your customers' experience of your organisation.
Customers and employees often build up emotional attachments to certain brands, resulting in strong loyalties and even a sense of ownership. This can help maintain employee motivation and increase your sales - A strong brand can make a business stand out from the crowd, particularly in competitive markets.
If you want to build and manage a brand, you'll need to focus on what your customers want and how you can guarantee to deliver it. You'll need to be consistent in your service and every other point of contact customers have with you - for example, phone calls, letters, faxes etc.
Tim Rose, account manager at Vertical explains: "Branding serves as the link between your product's promise and the consumer's desire. The goal is to express a set of basic principles that can be understood by everyone who comes in contact with your business - customers, shareholders, employees, etc. The brand is your reason for being."
This guide look at what should be considered when you create a brand, how to budget for it and how to manage it.
Although branding strategies differ in tactics from industry to industry, a branding campaign usually develops along these lines:
During the brand strategy phase, it is important to remember the ‘Four Pillars’ of branding strategies. Keeping these benchmarks in mind keeps the process focussed and will ultimately ensure that the new brand gets off to the right start.
Once you've defined your brand values and your customers' needs you can start to build your brand by consistently communicating your brand values. Remember that every possible contact you have with a customer or potential customer needs to reinforce your brand values.
Key areas to consider are:
If all these are consistently in line with your brand values, your brand will be strengthened.
Your logo can be of particular significance to customers. You should create a policy on its usage, ensuring it is used consistently and its quality is always maintained. This acts as a reassurance when customers are considering buying your products or receive them after purchase. Your logo can act as an initial guarantee of quality in these circumstances. Similarly, ensure that you consider the design and quality of your invoices and receipts, which can often be the last stage in an interaction with a customer. This can affect their willingness to give you repeat custom and even to pay on time.
It is worth creating brand guidelines (a document containing your core company values and benchmarks for how you want to operate and be seen to operate). Communicate this to your employees to ensure you are all working towards the same aims, and review it regularly.
A successful and well executed brand can enjoy a long life, provided it's kept up-to-date and in line with customers' needs and expectations. When reviewing your brand, remember that your customers and employees will have often built up an emotional attachment to it, therefore it is critical that any changes you make are sensitive to their existing relationship with your brand.
Branding can be perceived as somewhat problematic but in actual fact as long as you stay focused and stick to the plan it does not have to be this way. The most successful brands are those that are planned from the start correctly and then managed and protected. To build a successful brand you should remember these top 10 tips: