Many consumers had to look for alternatives due to supply issues, because of the challenges Brands faced in 2020. However, brand loyalty is still a key factor in purchasing decisions. Once consumers find a brand that consistently offers terrific products and customer service, they will use that brand more as a default option for similar items. Brand preference is a part of consumer DNA. However, it may take a few interactions with consumers to win them over to a brand. The essence of brand marketing is creating a simple and clear vision, targeting the right audience, providing a consistent message, and appealing to emotion. To achieve these goals, marketing research is essential.
Getting to know customers is the first step to building a brand, which solves their problems and suits their shopping preferences. Generating product ideas can be inspiring, and the addition of consumer insights and data will bring these ideas into focus. Branding is one of the most crucial aspects of any business, large or small. An effective brand strategy gives you a major edge in increasingly competitive markets.
But the question is what exactly does “branding” means? what is the effect on small businesses like yours?. Simply put, your promise to your customer is your brand. It tells them what they can expect from your products and services, and it differentiates your offering from your competitors. Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be. Are you the innovative maverick in your industry? Or the experienced, reliable one? Is your product the high-cost, high-quality option, or the low-cost, high-value option? You can’t be both, and you can’t be all things to all people. Your target customers want and need should affect who you are to some extent.
Brand Strategy and Equity
How, what, where, when and to whom you plan on communicating and delivering your brand messages is your brand strategy. Where you advertise and your distribution channels are also part of your brand strategy. What you communicate visually and verbally also are part of your brand strategy. Consistent, strategic branding leads to strong brand equity, which means the added value brought to your company’s products or services that allows you to charge more for your brand than what identical, unbranded products command. The most self-explanatory example of this is Coke vs. a generic soda. Because Coca-Cola has built powerful brand equity, it can charge more for its product and customers will pay that higher price.
The added value inherent to brand equity frequently comes in the form of perceived quality or emotional attachment. For example, Nike associates its products with star athletes, with the hope that customers will transfer their emotional attachment from the athlete to the product. For Nike, it’s not just the shoe’s features that sell the shoe.
Defining Your Brand
Defining your brand is like a journey of business self-discovery. It can be burdensome, time-consuming and uncomfortable, but the answer that can be provided to the questions below can be of great help in defining your brand.
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?
Do your research. Learn the needs, habits and desires of your current and prospective customers. And don’t rely on what you think they think. Know what they think. Because defining your brand and developing a brand strategy can be complex, consider leveraging the expertise of a nonprofit small-business advisory group or a Small Business Development Center. Once you’ve defined your brand, how do you get the word out?. Here are a few simple, time-tested tips:
Your brand logo is the foundation of your brand. Your website, packaging and promotional materials–all of which should integrate your logo. Get a great logo and place it everywhere.
Write down your brand messaging. What are the important things you want your brand to be known for and also key messages you want to communicate about your brand? Every team member should be aware of your brand attributes.
Integrate your brand. Branding extends to every aspect of your business so take caution on how you answer your phones, what you or your salespeople wear on sales calls, your e-mail signature, every other thing.
Generate a “voice” for your company that reflects your brand. This voice should be applied to all written communication and incorporated in the visual imagery of all materials, online and offline. If your brand is friendly? Be conversational. Is it ritzy? Be more formal. I am sure you get the gist.
Design templates and create brand standards for your marketing materials. Use the same colour scheme, logo placement, look and feel throughout. You don’t need to be fancy, just consistent.
Be true to your brand. Customers won’t return to you–or refer you to someone else–if you don’t deliver on your brand promise.
Be consistent. It involves all of the above and is the most important tip I can give you. If you can’t do this, your attempts at establishing a brand will fail.