Brand is one of the most important aspects of a business, large or small, retail or B2B. An effective brand strategy gives you a major edge in increasingly competitive markets. But what exactly does "branding" mean? And Why brand?
Shortens sales cycle
Facilitates repeat business
Maximize your spending
Pave way to profits
Simply put, your brand is your promise to your customer. Your brand tells them what they can expect from your products and services, and distinguishes you from the competition.
Your website, packaging and promotional materials should all integrate the logo, fonts and colors that represent your company.
Consistent, strategic branding leads to a strong brand equity, which means the added value brought to your company's products and services. It is this strength that allows you to charge more for your brand than your competition even if identical. Look at Coca-Cola vs. a generic soda. Because Coca-Cola has built powerful brand equity, it can charge more for its product and customers will pay that higher price.
Brand equity frequently comes in the form of perceived quality or emotional attachment. An example is Nike. Nike associates products with star athletes, customers hope to transfer their emotional attachment from the athlete to the product. For Nike, it's not just the shoe's features that sell the shoe.
Defining your brand is a journey of business discovery. It can be difficult, time consuming and uncomfortable.
What is your company's mission?
What do your customers and prospects think of your company?
What qualities do you want associated with your company?
What are the benefits and features of your products or services?
Once you've defined your brand, how do you get the word out?
Get a great logo. Place it everywhere.
Integrate your brand. Branding extends to every aspect of your business--how you answer your phones, what you or your salespeople wear on sales calls, your e-mail signature, everything.
Write down your brand messaging. What are the key messages you want to communicate about your brand? Every employee should be aware of your brand attributes.
Develop a tagline. Write a memorable, meaningful and concise statement that captures the essence of your brand.
Design templates and create brand standards for your marketing materials. Use the same color scheme, logo placement, look and feel throughout.
Be consistent. I placed this point last only because it involves all of the above and is the most important tip I can give you.
If you can't do this...unhappy customers cost you money. Dissatisfied customers tell 7-15 others and complain for years. Negative words spread faster and have a greater impact.
If you can do this, your attempts at establishing your brand will pay off. Satisfied customers tell 3-5 others about a pleasant experience. It can cost 10 times more to generate revenue from a new customer than from an existing one. A 5% retention rate increases profits 60%. Loyal customers come back and refer others!