An effective brand strategy gives you a major edge in increasingly competitive markets. But what exactly is a brand?
Many people think of a brand as a company’s logo, but is that all it is? And how can you use branding to your advantage in this age of digital marketing?
What is Branding?
Branding is a vague concept to many people and is sometimes confused with marketing. Before you even begin to think about marketing strategies, be certain you have your branding nailed down. It’s that important, so let’s begin there.
In its essence, branding can be defined as “the overall identity of a company and how it is perceived in the marketplace.” In today’s market, your brand conveys a solution to your customer’s problem.
People used to think of branding as a logo or label on a product, associating that product with the company. And in truth, that’s pretty much what it was. Guinness was one of the first companies to trademark a symbol for their identity. It was in 1876, and their symbol, or logo, was a harp. They recognized that having this image on their beers built trust and recognition around their asset, beer.
They retain the same symbol to this day, although it has evolved with the times to become more accessible to more people, without losing their core values and essence.
Your marketing will be structured around your branding. Defining your brand is a journey of business self-discovery.
Many companies that provide small business marketing packages can help you with your branding, but it’s best to be prepared before making a call. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
? What are your core values?
? What is your mission statement?
? How do you want people to feel when they think of your business?
? What makes you unique?
The visible aspects of your brand, like your business name, logo, colors, fonts, and tag line, will reflect those answers and will all be an integral part of your overall brand.
Why is it Important?
The importance of developing a strategic and consistent brand cannot be understated.
We need look no further than Apple as an example of a company with an effective and long-lasting brand equity. Apple built an authentic brand by defining itself as an innovative and hip maverick in the tech industry, and incidentally revolutionizing the industry in the process. Apple continues to focus on product quality while using creative and concise communication to strengthen its brand and the sales of their products.
When you see their ads, you know immediately it’s an Apple product. The ads demonstrate quality products and features with cutting-edge solutions to products and problems you didn’t even know you had. All through the unique perspective of the Apple brand.
Here are a few reasons to integrate your brand into your marketing strategy:
1. It Builds a Bridge Between Your Product or Service and Your Customers
Your brand is your promise to your customers. It lets them know what to expect from your products or services, and it distinguishes them from those of your competitors. You need people who will purchase, and people need a reason to buy from you. Building that bridge is also known as creating conversions.
It takes time to build a brand. Yes, it’s important to use current technologies and methodologies like SEO and keywords. However, if you are looking to build a long-lasting business, expand and retain your customer base, it’s well worth the initial investment of time to define and build your brand.
2. Your Products or Services Have a Higher Perceived Value and Therefore Command a Higher Price
Apple is only one example of this principle. Think of Tylenol and the fact that most people will continue to purchase more expensive Tylenol products rather than the exact same but cheaper generic products.
Consistent branding positions you as a trusted expert in your field; they know exactly what they are getting, and they will pay for it.
3. It Will Keep Your Customers Returning for More
Let’s go back to our Apple example above. You know people who will only buy Apple products, right? It’s called Loyalty, and it’s real. You can’t spend all your time marketing to and depending on new customers, you also want to keep your current ones. An experienced digital marketing company can help you with both.
Competition is fierce, but your branding gives you an edge.
How is This Done?
Brand marketing promotes your products or services in a way that highlights your overall brand.
Once you understand the needs of your customers, you can begin integrating your brand strategies throughout your company at every point of public contact.
In the world of marketing, good branding is done by being consistent in your messaging and getting your prospective customers to see you as the sole provider of a solution to their problem.
A good brand will:
? deliver a clear message
? fill a need
? resonate with your audience
? confirm your brand’s credibility in the marketplace
? motivate the buyer to make a purchase
? create user loyalty
The percentage of people who are aware of a brand is known as brand awareness. Well established companies enjoy the advantage of a high level of brand awareness. Anyone’s brand awareness can be increased with the help of a strategic and targeted branded marketing campaign.
Stay in Touch
Brand loyalty can be built by staying in touch with your customers. Show that you care about them. Ask for feedback and reviews; you may even consider offering them a short survey to see what else they may be looking for within your brand. Get to know what they think, versus assuming you know what they think.
A brand must remain consistent. Keep the same underlying message throughout all your marketing materials.
If there is any confusion, you need to dig a little deeper to define your brand. Remember, your brand promises to deliver something specific to your customers.
Synchronize Your Branding
Define your brand before you begin to market. Take the time to identify your core values and to know everything about your ideal customer. Once you’ve identified your brand identity, use it consistently in your marketing and in everything you do.
BizIQ is an experienced digital marketing company that can help you build your brand, get found online, and attract new customers. We’re a small company that has helped over 20,000 other small businesses just like yours. Contact us now to see how we can help make your small business the first option for local customers seeking your products and services.