If there is one thing in business that you should pay attention to , it is branding.Your brand is what sets you apart from your competitors, it is your story about who you are,who you want to be and who you want people to perceive you to be.
Let’s look at a few successful businesses that invest significantly in branding.
The top 5 most valuable brands in the world are (according to Brand Finance) ; Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft and Visa, in that order.In general, these brands stand out because they are built around innovation, top notch customer service and excellent executions in service delivery and product quality.
Another common winner’s quality that these brands share of how they do business, is consistency,which is, their never changing logos,color palettes, corporate voice etc.
In South Africa, the top 5 most valuable brands are (according to Brand Finance) : MTN, Vodacom, FNB, ABSA, Standard Bank.
It can also be observed that these businesses invest in branding consistently and perpetually.Take for instance, MTN, it has a global presence of 22 countries in Africa and the Middle East.Their brand is preceded by a reputation of excellent customer service and a reliable network.To achieve this, they invest in high quality infrastructure and talent.
What is branding?
Brand is a commonly used word but not necessarily understood.A brand is an identity; it is a name,design, symbol or ant other feature that identifies one ‘s product, service or concept as distinct from those of others.
Branding is a marketing practice, which is a process of giving a meaning to a specific organization, company, product, service or concept by creating and shaping a brand in a consumer ‘s mind.
Successful businesses in branding enjoy benefits like charging premium prices,having less substitutable products and services, and also having repeat customers.Consumers may buy a product or service for a higher price than similar ones in the market simply because of the deep connection they have with the brand.A customer can buy a Mercedes Benz for a high price because of the executive status that comes with owning one,notwithstanding that there is a similar car in the market in terms of features, with a lesser price.
Apple is also a good example of a brand that is strong, people buy their devices or products just to feel good, Apple is more of a symbol of status driven by emotion, not practicality.
Brands influence customer choice and create loyalty.They create economic value by generating higher returns and growth.The question though is, how do you position your brand to achieve all this?How do companies like Apple or Amazon get to make their brands so valuable?How about you start with a branding strategy.
A branding strategy is a long-term action plan that an organization uses to differentiate their products, services, and identities from their competitors.
It helps to identify how you want your customers to perceive you, the kind of feelings and expectations you would want your audience to associate with your company.Below are the six steps to follow in developing a branding strategy,however, businesses vary and may need partially different approaches from this one.
Step 1: Define your brand
Your brand = your purpose. You should make sure you know who you are as a business or organization.By defining who you are , you make it easy for your clients to understand what you do, your products,services as well as what value they should expect from you.
Step 2: Brand’s objectives
Clearly define your brand’s goals and objectives.Align these with the overall business goals.Make sure everyone in your organization is aware of these goals and that they are geared up to achieve them.
Step 3: Target Audience
Decide who your target audience is.Do research on these target customers, find out their needs, wants,interests, age range, gender etc.This will enable you to approach them in the best possible way that will be enticing and relatable to them.
Step 4: Branding Tools
This is the part where you create the necessary designs or material like the logo, tagline,website etc, to be identified by.Yes we refer to these as branding tools,your logo or tagline is not your brand, rather it contributes to your branding as a way you will be identified by.
Decide on the color palette,design templates etc, so you can maintain the aspect of consistency for your brand over time.
Step 5: Content Strategy
Decide on your messaging and the channels/platforms that you will be using to connect with your audience.You content strategy must create or at least lay a foundation for the ‘voice’ that you would want your brand to be associated with.
Find ways that will facilitate your connection with your audience at a deep level,establish relationships with them.
Step 6: Implement,monitor, optimize
Now that you have covered all the steps above,the strategy now must be implemented.Constantly monitor your progress, to see if you are still in line with the objectives and if there are changes that need to be made,you can make them in time.
Being original,sincere and consistent will make your brand stronger.
At Digitechbolt Business Solutions, we believe that having a strong brand will make your business grow and successful.If you would like to be assisted in building your brand, from developing branding strategies to implementation, contact us,let’s discuss your options.