According to Marty Neumeier, "the main purpose of branding is to get more people to buy more stuff for more years at a higher price." For beginning entrepreneurs, brand building is an important part of firmly establishing your business within the market. If your business has poor brand recognition, or if you promote an inconsistent brand, you may lose or even alienate some of your best customers. Here are a few basics to help you get your brand off the ground if you are starting from scratch.
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What is a Brand?
To put it simply, a brand is an abstract idea that represents what your company stands for. This idea manifests itself in the business actions that you take and are expressed in the way in which you take those actions. Consider for instance, two World-Famous brands in a similar market, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. When you think of The Beatles, you picture four guys with goofy haircuts, that are generally warm, lovable, and safe. On the other hand, when you think of The Rolling Stones, you picture a group of rude, dangerous, unwashed ruffians. Two bands with completely different brands.
Where to Begin
The most successful brands begin by focusing on the company's strengths. Start by thinking about what you are good at, relative to your competition, as well as your core values or what you believe in. For instance, do your products feature a better design? Are your operations more environmentally-friendly than your competitors? Branding is all about finding those differentiating factors in your products or services that really make a difference to your customers.
Building the Brand
Once you have a good idea of what differentiates your business from others in your marketplace, it is time to start consistently promoting it. To do this, you need to focus on serving what your customers desire most, and guaranteeing your ability to deliver that benefit to them. However, promoting an inconsistent brand at times can be as bad as not having a brand at all. Every point of contact you have with your customers, from phone calls, to in-store visits, to letters, to emails, need to consistently promote your brand.
This may mean crafting graphics and ad copy for a variety of media, such as television, radio, online, and mobile. However it should also include creating elevator pitches for your salespeople and training the entire organization in basic public relations and consistent brand promotion.
Managing the Brand
Once your brand has firmly been established, your job is nowhere near over. Consistently monitoring your brand strategy, or hiring a qualified branding agency to do it, has several benefits. For one, you are guaranteed to not have any lapses in your brand, secondly, hiring a branding agency can help you stay ahead of trends, developments, and current events that relate to your business, allowing you to capitalize on each as an opportunity to further promote and strengthen your brand.