Branding is a critical aspect to any business but one that is frequently ignored or mishandled. Branding is the way you tell people what your business is all about. A consistent message, combined with your company’s performance and your public perception are all factors in branding your business.
Entrepreneur.com describes several key elements involved in developing your brand. The core element, according to them, is your logo, which should be found on your website, promotional materials, packaging, etc. From there, they suggest that brand strategy should be your focus, ensuring that your communication and distribution channels need to deliver your consistent, strategic message to your target market. By leveraging a strong brand you can increase sales and pricing, improving your profitability.
But before you get there, you have to figure out what defines your brand. In the previously mentioned Entrepreneur.com article, they suggest asking yourself these questions:
• What is your company’s mission?
• What are the benefits and features of your products or services?
• What do your customers and prospects already think of your company?
• What qualities do you want them to associate with your company?
Once you have those questions answered, you’ll have an idea of where to go with your branding. Once you know what direction you should be heading, Forbes.com indicates that there are seven main characteristics of every successful brand to integrate into your strategy:
• Audience Knowledge—It is impossible to reach your customers with your brand message if you don’t know who they are. Identifying your target market and understanding who they are will help you to fine tune your branding to appeal to those specific customers.
• Uniqueness—The defining feature of your company that sets you apart from the competition should be a focal point of your branding. The distinctiveness of your product, service or selling point should be promoted to highlight why customers should choose you over the competition.
• Passion—A company that isn’t driven by passion will fail. It might be fine during good years, but in the lean years, a businessperson that lacks passion will become discouraged and lose interest. You need to be able to show how passionate you are about your business and convey that to your customers through your branding strategy.
• Consistency—A company’s reputation is often built on consistency. If customers know they can rely on you, they will keep coming back and they’l refer more business your way. If they never know what kind of quality they’ll get from you, you’ll not only lose them, but this bad reputation will become part of your brand, which could spell disaster.
• Competitiveness—Sitting back and waiting for the customers to come knocking is not a successful brand strategy. The companies that succeed, “work tirelessly toward building and optimizing their brand, going above and beyond consumer expectations.”
• Exposure—As noted above, getting the message of your brand out to your market is critical. By taking advantage of social media through LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc., you can deliver your brand message quickly and easily, even if you don’t have the advertising budget of a multi-national corporation.
• Leadership—Every great brand and every great business have a strong leader, someone who can “step up and steer the ship.” A good leader can keep their team focussed and maximize everyone’s strengths.
If you feel you need some help with your branding strategy, contact TMH Business Coaching today for a confidential, free, no obligation consultation to propel you forward. Also, please feel free to add yourself to our weekly coaching tips email!
by Jim Flannery with Kelli-Rae Ennis