For many businesses, creating and implementing a cohesive branding strategy often comes as an afterthought or not at all.
Yet, research shows that companies with strong brand names generate vastly disproportionate sales and profits. In other words, taking the time to define and build a brand can give you a huge competitive advantage.
Brand building is an integral aspect of personal and business development. It not only increases the voice and consumer awareness of a brand, but it also gives it an identity and worth. The advent of participatory and interactive platforms has given many businesses the chance to enhance brand awareness and equity. If you have been thinking of building a personal or business brand, then it is important for you to know that brand building takes a great deal of time and resources.
Here are a few tips to help you implement effective branding strategies and tactics in your business.
1) Define Your Brand
The first stage in brand building is defining your brand. This is a very critical step as it ultimately determines what your brand truly stands for. When defining your business brand, you should create a checklist of its core strengths. Similarly, if you’re defining a personal brand, you should look at the skills and expertise that you possess especially those which stand out. On the same token, you also need to know what your brand stands for and what is important for your brand (brand values). Your values should in one way or another show that you are contributing to environmental, social, and economic well-being of consumers. You may not realize some of these important aspects of brand building immediately, until you look at them objectively.
2) Conduct effective market research
Before making significant branding efforts, you’ll first want to answer a few key questions:
- Are customers aware of your brand?
- How are you perceived in the market?
- How do customers view your brand compared with others in the market?
- What characteristics do customers associate with your brand?
Market research will help you answer these questions and allow you to gather feedback on potential positioning for your future branding exercise.
3) Differentiate and Position Your Brand
Before embarking on brand building, you have to take time to differentiate it so that you can attract attention and stand out from competitors. To differentiate your brand, you have to create a unique advantage in the mind of consumers not merely getting attention by brand building colors or logos or other superficial elements. Once you come up with a unique value proposition, you should use a good branding strategy to position your brand in a way that will help consumers see and appreciate the greater value of your brand over competing ones in the market.
4) Create an emotional connection
Psychologists have found that 90% of communication is non-verbal. Shrewd marketers have long known that businesses can vastly improve brand effectiveness if, in addition to a good name, they evoke appropriate emotions.
One simple way to do this is through the effective use of colours. For example, using reds to create a sense of urgency, greens for environmental themes, blues for water and so on. They all can help to reinforce an effective brand name. Some companies even use music to build brand identity. For example, Intel trademarked the musical notes that are played at the end of its television commercials.
5) Deliver consistent communications
Once a company has developed an effective brand and corporate identity strategy, it must be implemented consistently through every “point of contact” with a mandate of ‘Call To Action’ in every communication with its customers, including in advertising, signage, public-relations efforts and so on.
One key is to get employees on board. Your company’s employees are its greatest brand advocates. Creating an internal branding model will help them understand and connect to your core brand(s). They’ll then be better equipped to communicate that brand message to your customers.