If the question “Branding – should I or shouldn’t I?” has ever come up in your mind, I would like to take a few minutes and explain to you what branding is. Branding is not for everyone, but it is for the business owner who wants to rise up above his competitors. It is the difference between obscurity and recognition. Your brand is an image that makes its way into your customers’ heads that influence how they think and buy. It is based on the promise people believe about you, and the reputation they link with your name and products as the result of all the times and ways they have come into contact with you, your name, your logo or any aspect of your brand.
1. What is a brand?
A Brand is a promise that you make to the consumer. There are three very important things that you need to remember when entering the branding arena.
• Your brand is created when you build trust in the unique promise about who you are, what you stand for and what distinctive, significant benefits you deliver.
• Your brand is built by living up to this promise each and every time your customer comes into contact with your name, your message or your business.
• Your brand is strengthened when you constantly reinforce your brand promise.
Brands create relationships between the customer and the product which withstand price wars, rise above offers from new competitors and in some rare cases forgive the slip in product or service excellence.
2. Why is a BRAND a big deal?
• Brands unlock productivity
• Brands prompt consumer selection
• Brands build name awareness
• Brands increase the odds of business survival
3. The BRANDING PROCESS consists out of a circular process (imagine a circle) that involves the following actions:
• Defining the Product
• Positioning the product
• Your Promise
• Presentation of the product
• Perception Analysis of your product
Based on the results of the perception analysis, the brand owner begins the branding cycle again, but only now he will adjust his product definition and positioning based on this perception analysis. He will also strengthen the promises, update and tweak his presentations and once he has done this will closely monitor the perceptions in order to guide his ongoing brand realignments.
4. Assembling your BRANDING TEAM
Brands are built from the top down and from the inside out. You need to make sure that you have commitment from the top levels of the organization as well as support from every employee in order to ensure that your brand grows in the direction that you have planned.
5. Are you ready to take your BRANDING to the next level?
• Are you launching a company or product that will benefit from a clear identity and high awareness?
• Have you been in business for a while but feel you lack consumer awareness and understanding about who you are and what you stand for?
• Do you sell your products online or over distances but feel that prospects do not know your name or the distinct benefits you offer?
• Do you feel that the people in your own organization are unclear about how to explain your offerings, you distinctions, your target market and how you excel over competitors?
• When you look at how your organization communicates through advertising, marketing materials, personal presentations, and at each customer contact point, do you see inconsistencies in the look, message and company personality being presented?
• Is the leader of your organization prepared to devote time, staff, energy and money to develop, launch and grow a brand?
• Can you think of even one reason why people should choose your offering over competing solutions?
If you have answered YES to more than one of these questions, then it is time for you to BRAND YOUR BUSINESS!