You have always been a dreamer. You are passionate, ambitious, and one day, you aspire to see the fruits of your labour out there—for everybody to experience and love.
Now, you ask, where do you start? Well, you begin from scratch—you build your brand from the ground up.
Off-hand, “branding” seems to be all about your name and your logo – but it goes far beyond what you think and expect.
Let’s start with the basics.
BRAND VS BRANDING: The Fundamental Difference
“Brand is the sum total of how someone perceives a particular organization. Branding is about shaping that perception.”
— ASHLEY FRIEDLEIN, Guild CEO
You are your brand. You are the master, the soul and the mind behind it. It is a reflection of who you are. It speaks about the entirety of your customer’s experience, including how your brand resonates with them. Therefore, you are responsible for who and how people perceive you to be – how they connect and associate with your brand on an emotional and personal level.
Powerful brands didn’t just happen overnight. Spotify, Coca-Cola, Starbucks, YouTube and FedEx didn’t magically sprout out of nowhere and became the household names we know today. It’s also said that 77% of people refer to specific items by brand names. Despite the increasingly growing competitive market, these global brands prove to be a top-of-mind choice for most—if not all.
Why? Because they’ve built a strong brand that consistently delivers and provides solutions to their target market’s wants and needs. This ability makes them the brands people adore, remember, and prefer. To these brands—business is personal; personal is business.
To build a powerful brand, you should first be able to identify the following:
- What is your USP (Unique Selling Proposition)? What makes your brand special from hundreds of thousands of businesses offering the same product/service that is currently in the marketplace?
- What is the compelling story that will make your target market drawn and connected to you?
- What are your core values and your mission?
- What is your brand promise?
Although you have no power over how your current and prospective customers see you, you have full control over how to make them change their minds. That is where and when branding takes place. Sounds straightforward and easy, right?
Branding: Make it or Break it
You have your brand in place, and everything is in order. You have set up your logo, your smart taglines, your mission, and vision statements, but the question is: How do you get the word out there? How do you gain traction?
According to the Coca-Cola company, 94% of the world’s population recognizes the Coca-Cola logo. Pretty intense, right? Mainly because Coca-Cola has also streamlined extreme and outside-the-box branding strategies.
Branding is a strategy used by organizations to align who they are, who they want to be versus how their customers perceive them to be.
Everything from your name, logo, website, packaging, and promotions should seamlessly work together to bring about consistent messaging across all of your channels. Consequently, a well-established branding strategy can effectively increase your revenue by up to 23%.
Why does it matter and why is it important?
Whether you like it or not, you must take on the basic branding system to recognize and further improve your STRATEGIC STRENGTH. The very core of your brand should start within a #CulturallyConditioned team that has a united and unwavering front, ideals and commitment.
Moreover, your branding has a significant impact on your bottom line. It sets whether you have a competitive edge over your competitors, or it’s the other way around. In any case, your strategic branding plan should be well-crafted and carefully thought-out before you decide to launch it. It’s better to weave together all of your branding elements so you can make sure you deliver a consistent and coherent communication and experience in all of your channels.
Benefits of an Effective Branding Strategy
Effective Branding raises Brand Awareness
Brand awareness is “the level of consumer consciousness of a company,” that once achieved, could make your brand popular or “buzzworthy,” so to say.
Effective Branding Generates Business
A strong, well-established brand with an effective branding strategy will surely win over new prospects and will experience no difficulty with word-of-mouth referrals.
Brand Equity is the Result of Effective Branding
Once your brand gains positive brand equity from an effective branding strategy, your target market begins to prefer your brand over similar offerings in the marketplace. In effect, it may eventually make your brand a consumer staple.
Effective Branding Helps Build Brand Trust
When you have entirely established trust with your base, your brand will finally be able to influence the customer’s purchasing decision. As also stated in Invesp, 59% of shoppers prefer to buy new products from the brands they trust—which can make introducing new products to the market a piece of cake.
Effective Branding leads to Brand Loyalty
“Brand loyalty is worth 10x more than a single purchase.” Brand loyalty is dependent upon the trust you have already established with your customer. When a customer becomes loyal to you, price changes and other inconveniences will not affect his purchasing decision. In other words, competitors can’t steal your business and customers.
Key Branding Points to consider
- Live everywhere
Your brand NEEDS to be everywhere. Take as many opportunities to get your visuals out there. Maximize the use of all channels available to you. It can be your social media, your website, your out-of-home advertisements, your brand guesting on other people’s podcasts.
In short, take your brand OUT there. After all, isn’t that “out of sight, out of mind,” that they say?
Embody your brand in every aspect of your business. From your vision and mission statement, down to the littlest detail possible. Pay attention to everything. Remember that EVERYTHING and ANYTHING related to your brand is an accurate representation of it so might as well spend time to have everything seamlessly work together.
- Consistency is the key
Apart from your promotional materials—logo and branding standards, staff behaviour, product/service features—consistency is essential in delivering the best experience possible for your customers.
- Don’t just speak the language. Know the language.
You’ve probably heard this a thousand times, but what does it mean when they say, “speak and know your customer language”? It merely means that even before your customers start to SPEAK, you should already KNOW what they want to say. Don’t just stay on the curve, be ahead of it.
NOW THAT YOU KNOW IT, WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU?
There is no perfect strategy. No one-size-fits-all formula to achieve, build, maintain, and innovate a powerful brand. Branding can be dragging, time-consuming, and tedious, but it will be worth it. Your target market finally sees you as more than just a name or a product with a symbol.
The real question is… when will you start?
“Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.”
— JEFF BEZOS, Amazon Founder, President and CEO