Branding is more than product recognition or a simple logo. It is the overall intellectual and emotional impression people have when they think of your company and its product. It is a strong and consistent message about the value of your business. Branding is a combination of everything your company uses to present itself. It also helps to ensure your customers and potential customers understand why you are different from the competition. You want to establish a superior benefit with you target audience that encourages long-term loyalty.
When I mention UPS or Budweiser or Ipod, you most likely have specific impressions of each business and what they offer. Corporations spend millions each year reinforcing their brand. A memorable and trustworthy brand reinforces customer loyalty. It helps them remember that your business provides the perfect solution to their problems.
Therefore, to succeed in branding you must understand your customers’ needs and issues. Then, create a positioning statement and messages that speak to those needs and issues. Make sure your marketing materials are consistent. They should have the same colors, fonts, and include your logo and contact info. And, your marketing materials should reinforce your company’s image and positioning over and over and over.
Brand building is an ongoing business strategy that has an easy-to-measure cost in time, money, and effort. Its value, on the other hand, is harder to establish because it involves measuring emotional associations that may not immediately translate into revenue.
Branding is an essential element of success, however, and it should be reinforced during times when business is booming and when sales are slower.
You want customers and prospects to maintain a positive association with your company and its services. You may also want people to have certain feelings and thoughts that are associated with your brand. It may be that your company is fast, dependable, compassionate, fun, state-of-the-art, or creative. There should be two or three key words that your brand works to reinforce in your marketing efforts.
Remember, a sound marketing strategy means that you control the messages you send out through marketing, advertising, customer service, and your Internet presence. Your customers WILL have a perception of your company, with or without your influence. But if you aren’t managing your marketing, then what is their impression?Branding is not what you say about your company and products; it’s about your customers’ perception of your company and products. To strengthen your brand, make sure you can answer the following questions: What do you do that is different from anyone else? Why do you matter to your customers? If you can’t answer these questions, you don’t have an effective brand.