By this time I suspect you have already selected your name, your logo and possibly even a slogan or two. Figuring out what to do with it is the next step in branding your business.
In order to understand this next step however, I believe it essential to understand what the point is of branding your business. Without understanding this properly your attempts and plans to brand your business will likely prove to be somewhat unfocussed and haphazard.
The reality is that branding is specifically intended to create customer memory and trust. Generally branding is not intended to sell your products today and although sometimes immediately resulting sales are a pleasant side effect, the point of this exercise is to make sure that potential customers will remember you, when they need you, whether it be a year from now, or ten years down the line.
In addition to that it creates a baseline for building customer trust, which is of course also synonymous with brand acceptance in this case. Inevitably the longer a business exists and the bigger it becomes, the more customers tend to trust your business, and the more likely they are to come to you for their purchases. And of course the longer they remember you, the better your chances of success.
An example of successful branding is McDonald’s. Everyone knows who they are. And when you speak of the brand, everybody knows what it refers to. Their brands have also become synonymous with specific levels of quality and product types, and so you can always get the same burger no matter where in the world you buy it.
Another point of branding your business is to make your brand synonymous with a particular type of product or service. In other words what you are looking to achieve here is to create a brand that people will use, even to describe products they did not purchase from you. IBM would be such a brand. For many years there were two brands of computers, Apple and IBM. And for the longest of time when non Apple computers were sold, they were generally referred to as IBM or IBM type computers, even when IBM did not produce the specific computers. Perfect branding with potential absolute control over the market, if you are able to exploit it properly.
Recognizing the fact that you are probably not IBM or McDonald’s, and that your resources are unlikely to permit this level of branding, I would suggest that if you focus your branding efforts properly, it is possible to create that much needed customer memory and trust, at least where you need to be, by making sure that you plan your branding with specific intent.
In fact realizing that every communication you have with the outside world is essential to successful branding, will help you design a strategy that will include things like how you answer your phone and what you put on your letterheads, emails and even on your outside dustbins. The reality is that every time your brand is noticed by someone, it creates memory and builds trust. And the more it is noticed, the more significant that memory and trust become.
It is also essential that you put together a specific branding plan. This will help you to create measurable objectives for building your business and brand, and actually make sure that you get ahead, instead of just keeping you fighting to stay alive.
I wish you all the best with your ventures, and invite you to share your stories and ideas here.