Branding is one of the most important aspects of any business whether you are a multi million pound turnover business or a startup. Most business owners understand that a good brand is important for a business to grow, but they do not know actually understand why it is so important.
Branding can be seen as a way of defining your business to yourself, your team and your consumers. It is sometimes referred to as business identity, this can be slightly misleading as your identity often refers to how your business looks and sounds like. Business branding embodies the core of what the business is and its values, as well as what it looks and sounds like.
The end goal of branding is for consumers to connect with your business emotively, as you want them to share the same values and beliefs of the brand. By achieving this it leads to higher sales, better brand differentiation, consumer loyalty and it can even protect your price.
Here are eight steps to develop a new brand or even redevelop your existing brand:
Branding is the definition of your company’s core values and the promise to your customers. To help build a strong brand you need to create a mission, vision and values statement. Begin with brainstorming words and phrases that convey the purpose of your business and how it impacts your customers.
Find out how people see your brand
You know your business, products and brand, but do you customers see your business the same way? You need to look at your brand through the eyes of your customers, as this will give you a better insight in what really matters to them. Listening and gaining information feedback via social media channels can be very valuable. Try to look for one word that customers often describe your business as this can show you what people really think.
Emphasise benefits rather than features
Customers need to know what features will benefit them about a product or service. By focusing on benefits of a product or service will make a lasting impression on customers. The best way to achieve this is to list all the features of a product or service and then translate them into customer benefits. You need to constantly ask yourself. “How does this help the customer?”
Relationship marketing is to promote and strengthen your brand image. The goal is to make your company the first one a customer thinks of when they need your products and services. Good ways to build relationship are via loyalty programs, social media and email newsletters.
Customer’s today value authenticity and transparency, customers like to buy from and support small businesses with relatable people behind them. Sharing insights into how your business runs and operates by sharing pictures and videos or yourself, team and office helps build a personal authentic brand. Make sure you give your social media channels a person touch, sign off communications with a name so people know they are dealing with a real person.
Consistency of your brand
Your brand should be portrayed consistently every time customer has a chance to interact with you. This includes, emails, website, online and print ads, social media, business cards, product packaging and office signage. Make sure that you update different elements of your brand on an annual basis to show people the development and evolution of the brand.
Protect your brand
Ensure all your team understands what your brand represents, by developing systems and procedures for how employees interact with customers to protect and promote your brand. If social media is essential for your business then develop a protocol for how employees should interact with customers. Normally the marketing department of a business will own and manage the brand, but every team member needs to buy into it.
Evolve your brand
A marketing plan is essential for evolving your brand, you need to undertake daily, weekly and monthly tasks ranging from SEO, social media, email marketing and updating website content. You can always enlist third-party companies, whenever possible to simply and streamline your marketing activities.
Successful branding requires time and a lot of patience. You will not achieve instant results; you need to build the foundations first and then build upon to promote the brand.