The relationship between your brand and your customers is no lesser than that of a couple, where feelings of trust and mutual understanding blossom with time.
Along with the usual sentiments, the brand carries an additional pile of attachments and expectations of their fan base.
Thus when you falter in your branding strategy, it has the potential to create goodwill losses more than your financial erosion.
Today, we are going to learn quick ways to create an efficient branding strategy.
Although I concede that the points I shall mention might differ from business to business, they manage to incorporate majority of the requirements in almost every brand building scenario.
Through this blog, we shall discover about
- BRAND – WHAT IS IT?
- WHY BRANDING?
- BRANDING STRATEGIES
BRAND – WHAT IS IT?
The word ‘brand’ comes from the German word brand which means burning. The roots of branding can be traced back to the 17th century where the cattle were branded by their owners as a mark of ownership.
The concept of brand can be easily misconstrued by the masses.
A brand is not the company’s logo, identity, corporate image etc. It’s a vow made to your customers regarding fulfillment of specific goals and objectives.
A brand is what people feel about you. It’s basically about the quality of products and services one can expect from them in the long run.
Usually, brands have a trademark which gives them protection. A strong brand represents a clean company name with high credibility with respect to its products and services.
A brand is invisible by birth. The logo, the website design, the brand ambassadors etc. are parties who influence the audience by giving them a feel of your brand. However the aura of brand itself stays behind the veil of imagination.
Your brand must have a distinct personality. You must know the nuts and bolts of branding strategies in order to bring your firm to life.
“Change is the only constant in life.”, said Heraclitus. The “Survival of the Fittest” has been extended to the corporate world. And to remain fit in the rat race, you have to be adaptable.
Your brand must be relevant in the modern context. It must have the ability to satisfy the ever growing needs of consumers and provide apt solutions to their problems.
Your brand should continuously attract eyeballs. This can be done by adding value to your products and services, increasing efficiency of distribution channels, staying in constant touch with your customers.
The foundation of a brand lies in the sincerity and transparency which the management functions. Every small thing, right from providing quality solutions to being open to customer feedback, matters.
- STAY DIFFERENT
The world is filled with clutter of messages from millions of enterprises thanks to advancements in the advertising and promotion industry. Branding will help your cause by making you stand out from the herd, which makes you easily noticeable to the consumer class and drives your sales up in full swing.
- CASTS A SPELL
Branding is an act of magic. It thrives on the cornerstones of quality services and mutual trust. Thus with the passage of years, as the brand grows from strength to strength, an emotional connection is created between the brand and the masses. It definitely has a hypnotic effect on its users.
- WORD OF MOUTH MARKETING
The best and worst part about your consumers is that they spread the word. If they try your products and they instantly like it, they will promote your brand on your behalf. But they will try it at the first place only if your products stand out from the rest of the pack. This is where branding comes into play.
- EXPANDS CUSTOMER BASE
This is linked to the previous point. You invest your resources into your brand and consumers flock to your doorstep. They will spread your fame by talking about your products/ services in online discussion forums, social media, family, relatives, friends etc. This helps your firm in expanding your customer territories.
- ENSURES FINANCIAL STABILITY
A normal product life cycle starts with the launch, and then growth sets in till it reaches a peak. Eventually the sales start dipping. Any smart business tycoon would know that the task of regaining your lost glory in the market is a tedious one.
Branding can save you in such bad years. It constructs such strong bonds between you and your users, that they shall be ready to pay you more just to get your services.
Such is the love of the public. Give the best to the consumers and the best will come back to you.
- STUDY YOUR FIRM
We ought to begin with the basics. Proper and complete knowledge of our firm is a must when it comes to molding it into a brand. Observe:
- Features of your products / services
How they differ from the industry offerings?
What are the pros and cons?
Which features can be modified?
Which features can be seen as differentiation?
What is the industry’s pricing policy?
- Your firm’s online identity
Is the logo attractive?
Is the website design pleasant and in sync with the Webmaster’s guidelines?
Is the website page responsive to customer queries?
Is there action being taken on online customer feedback?
- Firm’s financial health
Is the firm making profits/ losses consistently?
Which are the firm’s most profitable/ loss incurring avenues?
Are there enough resources to invest in brand building?
These are some basic questions on the basis of which you can gather vital information about your firm. This will give you a glimpse of whether your firm is on the right track to become a brand name.
- DEFINE YOUR GOALS
Once you have studied the important aspects of your firm, get down to business. Put forth the ambitions, the mission and vision and the big ideas which shall define your brand. Remember, this is the most important part of your branding strategy since these factors will determine the future course of your branding venture.
- Form a BDC (Brand Development Committee) and discuss the ideas which shall envisage the brand’s future.
- Set out your mission and vision and build medium term and long terms plans based on them.
- Don’t be a one man army. Instead, allocate roles and responsibilities to different individuals. Make sure that the individuals are well trained and skilled in handling brand issues.
- REVAMP YOUR ‘BRIDENTITY’
You have set out the roadmap for your brand building. Now its time to revisit the things which will be the face of your brand. Revamp your brand’s identity. If you found any discrepancies in your logo, web design etc, redesign it. Hire a professional digital marketing firm to give your brand a new identity.
- THINK LONG TERM
Don’t be tempted by short term opportunities. Patience is the best policy in branding. Wait till your brand stands up on its own feet. You need not take any unwanted risks which can hamper your brand dreams.
- SPREAD THE WORD
Form teams of say 10 to 20 members with the ultimate aim that every speaker must attend at least 10 conferences and seminars in a year. These individuals must have a good idea of the brand, of the content they will speak on and the charm which can captivate the listeners in the corporate halls.
- DON’T BUILD WALLS – COMMUNICATE
Sometimes, firms cut off from the consumer world to keep their working styles confidential.Open up. This is the era of communication. If you don’t express now, you regret later.Listen to your consumers.Give a patient hearing to your skeptics.Think from their perspective.Clarify their doubts.
If guilty, accept it with humility and correct it asap.
Take their feedback.
Work on it.
Your consumers are your best assets.
- BE UNCONVENTIONAL
The essence of a brand lies in its unconventionality. While your rivals will stick to the same old branding tactics, stand out as different.
Again, take the help of your customers.
See whether there is a niche market within the consumer class which is starved of its requirements.
How can your products/ services be offered in a more efficient and economical way to the public?
These are some questions which you need to ask.
It’s easy to gather all the branding related information and write an article like this on branding strategies. But what matters is the situation at hand.
There lies a huge gap between theory and reality. The onus lies on us as to how you will apply these steps to bridge this gap and make your aspirations come true.
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