The leading US business magazine, Fortune, defined branding as “something that makes people pay more for your product/ service even though it’s the same as a competitor’s”. To decide what that something should be depends on your understanding your customer – back to your market research!
Branding is a promise to your customers – a promise of quality, of consistency, of usability, of durability – all the things that help make your product or service special in the minds of your customers.
And so it is important that you plan your branding carefully. If you don’t, it will happen anyway – customers will create a ‘brand’ in their own minds for your product, but it may not be the one you want.
Think about where you would like your brand to be ‘positioned’:
- Bargain / economy or premium?
- Craft-twee or designer-elegant?
- For daily use or as a collector’s item?
The keys steps to building a strong brand are:
- Know your core values: these should form the basis of all decisions you make with regard to your business and your brand
- Be unique: take a look at what the competition is doing, identify the gap and fill it with your brand – great brands challenge their category
- Identify your brand’s personality: then ensure this comes through clearly in all your marketing
- Have one designer do everything: logo, fliers, website, signage, PowerPoints, stationery and so on – hire a professional, particularly to manage your website
- Be consistent: make sure you present your brand to the marketplace in exactly the same way no matter what the medium – you are creating one brand … not 10!
- Do things properly: if this means doing less, then do less – avoid cheap, shoddy anything: printing, design, packaging or photography; every communication that goes out to your customers is an opportunity to reinforce your brand
- Socialise it: make sure every person within your business (that includes retailers who sell your product – and their staff) knows what your brand stands for