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Branding: Step Beyond Marketing

Branding: Step Beyond Marketing

Now that you have an established business with all the marketing stints going in the right direction, there is one thing that you should be bothered about now – Branding. Before I talk about how and why you should be doing it let me ask you few questions. According to you what involves Branding? Do you feel it involves the following:-

Sexy Logo, matching color schemes as per your business and classy website?

Social Presence? Being on all social media accounts doing all sorts of promotional activities.

Or being present on the first page of search engines.

Did you answer YES to any or all or of it (Do mention in comments)? In case you did then you have a big misconception about Branding. However if you feel the same way then you are not alone. Majority of marketers believe that branding involves all the above three steps. I am not saying that these steps are not part of branding but what I am trying to convey is these are just superficial part of this procedure. These steps are beginning of branding.

To understand all the how to’s of branding we need to first understand the difference between marketing and branding. So for example you are a marketing organization and a blogger approaches you to write stuff for you stating that he/she has written for multiple brands and is keen to write for you. What this blogger is doing here is called as Marketing. Now on the other hand you are the same marketing agency and you approach the same blogger. What this blogger has done is called as creating a brand image of self or in short Branding. So when your end users start using your product and services that’s when you can pat your back for doing the homework right.

So who makes you a BRAND? The answer is YOUR CUSTOMERS. They are the one who make you a brand. Their word of mouth publicity is something that takes you from rags to riches and also blows apart your business. Handle them with care and concern and you will always be in their good books. Understanding the behavior and interest of your target audience is first step in becoming a successful brand. Brand strategy for two companies are different. Apple will use a different strategy than Samsung. Period!! Just keep in mind one thing: Branding has to be done the right way.What is this right way? Check out these 5 points to know about it.

The right way of Branding

Remember the dialogue from the movie Jobs (2013) starring Ashton Kutcher, where John Sculley the sales head hired from Pepsi says: “You can make a great product. But you have to convince people that what you’re selling is greater. We’re not selling computers. We’re selling what they can do with a computer. A tool for the mind. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is limitless.” This is what branding is all about. Apple created a buzz with their product and that compelled people to use it. So let’s discuss what makes you a BRAND.

Before you stand in front of that white board and prepare the marketing strategies make sure to:

Specify the purpose of your brand

Even before Apple became a multi billion dollar company it was a startup which was led by a person who was success driven – Steve Jobs. Jobs purpose of starting Apple was very clear from just one statement : “Our whole company is founded on the principle that there is something very different that happens with one person, one computer … What we’re trying to do is remove the barrier of having to learn to use a computer.” This clearly means that Steve never wanted a barrier in learning.

You need to establish your purpose of starting what you are thinking to start. Think of how your product will add value to the life of your end users? Think that why did you start this business? Once you do this brain storming session with your co-founders and team mates you will get the purpose of starting the business and it is now time to look into point no#2

Decide the face of your brand

When I talk about face of your brand I do not mean signing up with a celebrity and make him/her the brand ambassador. Ask your team and your self – WHAT IS OUR BRAND? Asking this question will help all of you realize the idea, the value and the message that you wish to convey to the world with your product. At this stage you need to ask one very important question to your team – Will we stay true to our values and ideas till the time our brand lasts. This is extremely important because once your name becomes famous among your audience you need to live up to their expectations over and over again. After having the discussion about the face of your brand let’s move to point no#3

Make a checklist of your values

In step #2 you came across the face of your brand which also gave you a set of values. This defines your brand and these values are the torch bearer of your business.

Did you check out the Diversity page of Apple? It contains message from the CEO Tim Cook and clearly defines the meaning, purpose and values of Apple. When defining your own set of values talk about your employees and how diversified culture you have in your work place. This serves as a good guiding principle for your work. Great so we have defined the values of our company and now is the time to check out point no#4

Culture

Culture at work is one of the most important driving factor for any businesses and startups. The culture that your employees imbibe is what decides whether or not your business will flourish. I can’t agree much with the statement by Sir Richard Branson:-

If you look after your staff, they’ll look after your customers. It’s that simple

We all are well aware of Google’s culture. This is a dream company for every one. The reason is that they give their employees time and stuffs to explore new things. This helps their employees to be more creative and innovative. They implemented an 80/20 policy a few years ago. According to this policy the employees will work for 80% of their shift time and remaining 20% they can use for creative side projects. Although Google has pulled the plug on the policy but still the engineers are motivated to take side projects. As mentioned this keeps the creative light ignited among the employees. Such is the power of culture and now we will talk about the most important point no#5.

Talk to your audience

You do not have to go out and individually speak to your audience. This is the point when marketing takes over. You need to figure out ways on how you want people to find you. So now is the time for ad campaigns, social media promotions and all the digital marketing strategies. All the steps defines above clubbed with research of the market are bound to deliver exceptional results.

So if you want to reach out to your audience make sure you understand their behavior. Furthermore you need to understand the following:

  1. Company’s mission
  2. What will be the benefit to your customer from your business
  3. Platforms which you will target the most.

Conclusion

Keeping it simple : Branding and Marketing are two different sides of the same coin. To accomplish a successful branding strategy you need to follow the steps that have been mentioned above. Before I call it a wrap always remember that Branding is not a month or a weeks exercise. It is an on going procedure and needs to be done continously to stay in the business. Anything more you want to add? Feel free to comment.

Note: The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views held by Inc42, its creators or employees. Inc42 is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by guest bloggers.

Author

Rachit Sharma

Community

Social Media strategist, content crafter, specialist on marketing and business solutions for start-ups and small business. Online Influencer in the World by Journal Branding E-Magazine

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