What does Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, McDonald’s and BMW all have in common? Name Recognition and Brand Awareness!
As soon as you hear one of these names, your senses kick in and you imagine that you smell the coffee, or can taste the fresh, soft donuts. Your stomach growls for French fries or you feel a sense of satisfaction because you imagine you just had a whiff of the “new car” smell.
All these reactions are a direct result of the brand image and identity campaign each company created to promote qualities they believe are attractive to the public and will result in sales.
This same strategy is used by smart entrepreneurs seeking to increase market share and separate themselves from competitors.
Steps to implement a winning authentic brand strategy
These companies follow a step-by-step process in developing a winning strategy.
• Evaluate their product or service and determine the audience that could best utilize their offerings.
• Conduct research to identify what customers really need and want and if they can fulfill the need.
• Showcase their authenticity, presenting a message that resonates with their target audience.
• Consistently ensure customers have the same experience each time they connect with the product or service.
• Be transparent in explaining what the business stands for and how they intend to deliver.
• Speak with your audience-not at them-as people respond better to a conversation that relates to them and engages them.
All of the above elements are vitally important in creating a business brand, developing and maintaining good client relationships, and establishing trust between potential customers and your business.
Integrating Offline and Online Branding
A vital part of creating an effective brand identity and nurturing relationships with prospects and customers is to integrate your brand in both your offline and online brand activities.
Smart business folks want to stay on the cutting edge and be aware of new trends in connecting with customers and building trust, offline. They continue to use traditional businesses brand identification tools such as company logos and slogans.
However, when business owners incorporate online branding tools within their offline messaging campaigns, they increase exposure and opportunities for more sales and ways to interact with potential customers.
Several online messaging tools which can be integrated into offline brand building include:
• Incorporate the company URL, Twitter and Facebook logos on written communications.
• Provide email address and phone number within all messaging.
• Direct consumers to website for value-add giveaway in exchange for email address
• Find where your customers spend their time and capture their attention by providing access to target-audience-focused information.
Entrepreneurs that implement many of the above strategies gain the ability to retain clients who believe their story, have faith they will benefit from the product or service, and trust their problems will be solved and their lives made better.
An authentic brand identity helps build lasting relationships that allows the owner to close more deals, retain clients, increase income and become known as an industry expert.
Just like Starbucks and other highly recognized brand driven companies that possess a substantial market share as a result of their unique brand-driven campaigns, the targeted audience’s senses and appetites can be satisfied if the message is presented authentically, consistently and concisely.
Sharon Williams has spent 21 years specializing in business marketing and branding. She is a Master Virtual Assistant and certified Professional Author’s Assistant. As president and CEO of The 24 Hour Secretary ( http://www.the24hoursecretary.com ) her team helps busy and often overwhelmed executives and entrepreneurs with administrative, marketing and Web 2.0 support services, handling tasks they dislike or lack time to complete. She is the author of 24 Easy Ways to Create your Amazing Authentic Brand Identity and Nuts and Bolts of Branding. Sign up for the 10 Day Brand Identity Challenge at