We often talk about branding being an important business activity, but a brand is one of those words which is used leisurely by almost everyone but no one truly understands what it really means. When we talk about branding, it is never about your company name nor it is about how pretty the logo is and certainly not about the URL you own for your company.
It is important for every company to understand that a “Brand” is a collective emotional response for your product or service – it is the perception that people have about your company in their minds.
The brand is nothing but an intangible asset that concerns your whole company, what it is all about, what it stands for, and what does the company believe in. It is that inexplicable thing that people associate with your company which entails anything and everything from your vision and mission statements, values, to the customer service and employee experience.
Now that you understand the significance of branding, let me tell you that it is a tricky business because you cannot leave branding aside to just be an afterthought after you have built your company. The brands like Nike, Samsung, or Tesla are well-recognised and valued because they once were humble startups, and their investment in building that brand is what has made them what they are today.
However, one is always fund-strapped during the startup phase, and having a budget put aside for branding will be termed as a luxury by some. But again, when you focus on branding like an afterthought, it is not going to fare well for your company. So to focus on this important business activity, here are tips that will help you to build the brand and reap customer loyalty, get repeat business and build some great relationships with all kinds of stakeholders.
Define Your Brand, Create Identity
What does your product do? Why should someone buy your product or service? How does it solve the problem in people’s lives?
If you cannot answer these questions, then it is hard for you to create a brand for your company. The reason why everyone focusses on branding is to differentiate themselves from the others in the market. When you are able to describe what your company and product is about in a simple sentence that is when you have truly created your brand. That becomes your mantra which you can then proudly communicate to your customers, partners, and employees.
Look After Your Customers
This one sure is a no brainer. Whether your aim is to build up the brand or just make a profit, you’ll need to take good care of your customers. It is the least expensive way in which you can make the presence of your brand felt amongst your competitors.
Build trust, confidence, and loyalty amongst your present and future customers with some honest branding and good customer service. Don’t make promises that you know you can’t keep up with. It is easy to say put your customers first, but believe me, not every organisation lives up to it. Be true to your values and also be clear about who your company is. When your customers will be happy, they sure will recommend and talk about your brand to others.
Be Consistent With Your Brand Identity
Your brand identity is associated with the visual elements by which you are recognised in the market. We know the Apple logo by its half-eaten apple, Coca-Cola by the colours red and white, and McDonald’s by the big yellow arch. Whatever visual elements you decide upon, whether they are the colours, fonts, typesetting and all other associated assets should stay consistent throughout.
Have proper guidelines in place for what defines your brand identity before you go about publishing it. This will allow your customers to become familiar with your brand and develop the bond and trust that you wish for.
Don’t Mimic Big Brands
When you study the competition in the marketplace, don’t try to step become someone else. Customers always value individuality and genuineness and that is what you can leverage to attract them. You might come across other brands and companies which are trying to imitate the big brands so as to capture some of their markets. However, when you carve out your own niche identity, you become unique and relevant to your customers who then believe in you and would trust you, henceforth.
Take Help From Professionals
Branding is a lot more than creating your company logo and so it may not be very wise to do it all by yourself. Although it might seem to be an expensive option, it is always a good idea to rope in the experts when you want to establish your brand.
The whole process of developing your brand need not be intimidating, nor should it be hugely expensive. Branding and design agencies have done it for years and have acquired training for doing it. So when you hire professionals to do this job, they will not only set firm foundations for building a strong brand but will also ensure that you invest only as much you can to get a successful brand. A good design or branding agency will always help you make more money with great branding than they would actually cost you.
Proper branding will determine your company’s long-term success. A strong brand is that which manages the thoughts and feelings of its customers and also ensures them that it is the brand that the customers wish for. If that is not what your brand do, then you must figure out what is it that you are doing wrong.
[This post by Abhisehek Shah first appeared on ThugStart and has been reproduced with permission.]