With the high volume of companies and businesses within the same industry and the increasing level of competition between them, it is now more important than ever before for companies to adopt a value proposition and a unique identity through strategic branding. Many companies, especially new ones, have a misguided understanding of what strategic branding is and of what building a great brand entails. A lot of companies have the misconception that spending a lot of resources on advertisements, creating a company logo, having a fashionable brand name, and concocting cool brand messages that appeal to their intended customers are good ways to build a great brand. While brand marketing and advertising play a great role and are very important in an effective marketing strategy, they should not be misrepresented for branding. Your brand is the idea or conception of your company that comes first to people, simply put, it is the notion people have about the services you offer or the products you sell. On the other hand, brand marketing is the skillful application of advertising and marketing strategies in creating an intended perception or reminding a targeted audience about how great your products or services are and it is in general not capable of building a great brand or sustaining one. The earlier companies understand the difference between these two concepts and come to the realization that how great their brand is a reflection of how good the products or services they offer are, the better.
Selling great products and offering exceptional services are the only ways to build a great brand. The purpose of brand marketing is to remind your clients how great your products or services are, it doesn’t make your company a great brand. If these people have a negative feeling about your products or services, brand marketing only reminds them of it. The same also applies if the products you sell or the services your offer are exceptional, brand marketing reminds them how great they are. Failure to fully grasp the idea behind brand marketing will not only be a waste of resources but it can also prove counterproductive. If you are really passionate about building a great brand like some of the world’s leading brands e.g. Nike, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and Apple, focus your time and resources on providing exceptional products and services. After that, you can now focus on marketing and advertising your brand.
Let’s take a look at some of the steps you must follow when building a great brand:
Having a brand or an identity is synonymous with differentiating yourself (the products or services you offer) from a presumably long list of the products and services offered by other companies. Standing out from a pack of companies or service providers who are also as passionate as you are, or even more, in holding the top position in an industry, requires a very high level of sophistication and planning. This is one of the characteristics of great brands and probably the most important. Nike, for example, is known all over the world for providing shoes that are not only durable but also have great aesthetic appeal. Domino’s pizza distinguished their selves when they started operations by delivering pizza to customers within 30 minutes after they order from them. Distinguishing yourself within an industry does not demand a million-dollar idea. All it requires is that you have something special that makes you stand out from the rest. The competition is really fierce but once you determine that additional service you can offer to make your brand unique and you can efficiently implement it then you are on the right path.
Know Your Audience
Unless you plan on opening a chain like Wal-Mart, you need to target a specific audience for your business. Have a good understanding of the demographics in your market goes a long way in helping make serious business decisions and this is one of the main characteristics of great brands. Discovering the branding approach that is suitable for your business entails having a thorough understanding of your targeted audience. It gives direction and defines the tone of a marketing campaign. It also eases you off the burden of attempting to appeal to everyone. Ignoring this step can be counterproductive in the end. Apart from defining the tone of a company’s marketing campaign, it also helps in creating a better connection between the targeted audience and the company.
The world’s leading brands today like Apple, Nike, KFC, and Coca-Cola have some things in common. Consistency is one of them. With the high volume of competitors saturating the marketed place, if you are looking to build a great brand then you can’t afford to be inconsistent. In short, you should always try to deliver better services than before. When you have repeat buyers, buyers who come back to patronize your services, the least they expect is that you offer them with the same quality of services they got the last time; anything lesser than that will automatically brand you as inconsistent and it won’t take long before your costumers move for the exit door. Apple is an example of a brand with amazing consistency. During the production of their products, they always strive to maintain certain quality standards so that wherever you go, anywhere, anytime in the world you can be sure that you will get the same quality of their products when you purchase them.
Tap into Emotions
At one point or the other, most of the world’s leading brands have tapped into our emotions. We live in a world full of emotions and even as consumers, most of the decisions we make are driven by emotions. Product innovation and delivering top-notch services are the requirements every company needs to play the game but in the end, it is still a game of emotions. People will rather think of Cristiano Ronaldo’s winning shot the other night at a football match when buying sports shoes than think of the benefits of having air encapsulated in the sole of their Nike shoes or the importance of wearing breathable sports jerseys. Big brands influence the decisions that people make by touching the emotional side of consumers, creating a powerful connection in the process.
Be Passionate About Your Brand
At the heart of every great brand is a person or a brand message that is driven by passion and enthusiasm. Successful companies that have gone on to establish themselves as industry icons today all have a person or a set of people at one point in time or another who is totally passionate about the success of the company. Only passion can help a company persevere or endure inevitable setbacks. What will Microsoft be today if not for the passion of Bill Gates or Apple if not for the passion of Steve Job? Passion is contagious and when you become passionate and enthusiastic about making your brand a great one, it doesn’t take long before your workers and customers begin to share in that enthusiasm. When your workers and customers become enthusiastic about it, your company begins to generate more sales by referrals and word of mouth advertising.
An important aspect of building a great brand is recognizing and seizing the opportunity to reach a wide number of consumers. When it comes to marketing and advertising, bigger companies are at an advantage because they can afford to set aside large funds for their marketing/advertising budget. They also have the resources to create grand commercials and make their websites rank high on search engines. However, smaller organizations can leverage social media platforms and strategic online advertising/marketing campaigns to bridge the gap. By having an active online presence, you can expose your brand and make draw a larger number of people to know about the products or services you offer.
In the world we live in today, it is not difficult to spot a great brand. Building one, however, is one of the most elusive and difficult tasks a lot of companies face. Many business owners are of the opinion that building a great brand like Nike, Apple, Nike, GE, etc., and sustaining them requires lots of experimentation, good timing, and luck. This is a misconception. These companies have spent a lot of resources and time in making sure they deliver exceptional products and services and have employed brand-building techniques that have stood the test of time. If you follow these brand-building techniques and focus your resources on making your products/services exceptional, then you are on the path to becoming an industry icon and building a great brand.
- New companies have to adopt a value proposition and a unique identity when setting out to create a great brand.
- Building a brand and standing out from a pack of companies or service providers requires a very high level of sophistication and planning.
- Apart from defining the tone of a company’s marketing campaign, targeting a specific audience also helps in creating a better connection between the targeted audience and the company.
- Leveraging social media and the internet are great ways for small organizations to reach a larger number of customers.