Branding should be one of the primary focuses of your company’s marketing efforts. Writing an effective brand strategy gives your business a leading edge in increasingly competitive market. But what exactly is “branding” and how does it affect a small company like yours?
Contrary to popular belief, it is not merely a business’ logo. Although a logo comprises part of an overall strategy, it alone would fail to meet all the goals that branding seeks to accomplish. In the most basic sense, branding is the process of creating a unique name and image for a product in the consumers’ mind, mainly through advertising campaigns with a consistent theme. Branding aims to establish a significant and differentiated presence in the market that attracts and retains loyal customers.
Brand Strategy & Equity
What, when, where, how and to whom you plan on communicating and delivering your brand message is part of your brand strategy. Where you advertise also factors into this, as well as the distribution channels you decide on. What you communicate visually and verbally are part of your brand strategy, too. It is imperative that you choose the right voice, tone, and outlet for everything you do with your brand. It’s your business’ public character and persona.
Consistency is vital in building brand equity. Strategic branding leads to added value for your company’s products or services. Always look for opportunities to brand your business.
Defining Your Brand
Defining your brand can feel like an insurmountable task. It can be confusing, frustrating and even a little uncomfortable. To get started, you can take a shot at a few discovery questions to see where you are.
- 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 complicated, 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:
- Get a great logo – Place it everywhere.
- Write down your brand messaging – What are the key messages you want to communicate about your brand? Every employee should be aware of your brand attributes.
- Integrate your brand – Branding extends to every aspect of your business… how you answer your phones, what you or your salespeople wear on sales calls, your e-mail signature, everything.
- Create 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 off. Is your brand friendly? Be conversational. Is it ritzy? Be more formal. You get the gist.
- Develop a tagline – Write a memorable, meaningful and concise statement that captures the essence of your brand.
- Design templates and create brand standards for your marketing materials – Use the same color 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 – I placed this point last only because 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.
Throughout each step, Duncan/Day is here to help you with your branding needs. From writing a comprehensive strategic plan that services your entire marketing needs or focusing on a laser-specific area of need, we’ve got you covered.