Branding can be defined as the process of creating an identity for your business. Identity may involve creating visual or non-visual elements that represents what your business mission is all about.
Branding is among the most important aspects of any business, whether it is large scale or small scale business. A good brand strategy provides you a major edge in increasingly competitive markets. But what exactly does “branding” mean to you? In what ways does it affect a small business like your own?
Branding should be done to strategically capture the minds of your customers and present them with who you are, what you do and how your business operates.
Branding lets your customers know what to expect from your products and services, and it differentiates what you offer from what your competitors do. Your business brand is gotten from who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive your business to be.
The basics of your brand is your business logo, your website, packaging and promotional materials–all of which should integrate your logo and communicate your brand to the public.
Brand Strategy & Equity
Your business brand strategy is just how, what, where, when and to whom you plan on communicating and delivering on your brand messages. The places you advertise is a part of your brand strategy. And what you communicate visually and verbally are part of your business brand strategy.
Strategic and consistent branding often leads to a strong brand equity, which means the additional value given to your business’ products or services that allows you to charge more for your brand than what identical, unbranded products charge. The most popular example of this is Coke vs. a generic soda. Because Coca-Cola has built wonderful brand equity, it can charge high for its product, and customers will still pay that higher price because they love the brand and what it offers.
The added value intrinsic to brand equity comes frequently in the form of perceived quality or emotional attachment. An example is Adidas, the company links its products with star athletes; and because they know that customers will transfer their emotional attachment from the athlete to the product and still buy at high prices so they sell without competition. For Adidas, it’s not just the shoe’s features that sell the shoe, but who they chose as brand ambassador. These strategies affect a business so much.
Defining Your Brand
Defining your brand is like a journey of business and self-discovery. It can be difficult when starting up, time-consuming and uncomfortable to you. It requires, at the very least, that you answer these questions below:
- What is your business’ mission?
- What are the benefits and features your products give to customers?
- What do your customers and prospective customers already have in mind of your business?
- What kind of qualities do you want them to associate with your business?
Do your research. Learn and do well to know the needs, habits and desires of your current and prospective customers. And don’t always rely on what you think they think. Know what they think.
Since the process of creating your brand from start to finish and developing a brand strategy can be tough, then consider leveraging the expertise of a nonprofit small-business advisory group or a Small Business Development Center .
After defining your brand, how do you get it known to the world? Here are a few simple, time-tested tips:
Get a great logo. Place it everywhere you think of.
Write down your brand messaging. What are the important facts you want to communicate about your brand? Every employee should know about your brand attributes.
Integrate your brand. Branding surrounds every aspect of your business, the way you answer your telephone calls, what you or your salespeople wear on sales calls, your e-mail signatures, and every other thing.
Create a message for your business that reflects your brand. This message should be applied to all forms of communication that are written and incorporated in the visual imagery of all the materials, online and offline. Is your brand friendly? Be conversational. Is it fashionable? Be more formal. You get the gist.
Create a tagline for your brand. Write a memorable, concise and meaningful statement that captures the true essence of your brand.
Have a good graphics designer to design templates and create brand standards for your marketing materials. Utilize the same color scheme, logo design placement, look and feel throughout. You do not need to be fanciful, just be consistent.
Be truthful to your brand. Customers will not come back to you–or give a referral to someone else–if you don’t provide on your brand promise. This is why you need to be truthful in all your business dealings to protect your brand from falling.
Be consistent to your brand. We placed this point last only because it involves all of the above and is the most valuable tip we can give you. If you cannot do this, your attempts at establishing a good business brand will not come alive