The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Successful Branding
Defining A Brand
What a Brand is, and What it’s Not
In order to create and establish a brand successfully, comprehending the brand for what it exactly is, becomes essential. Take time to define it thoughtfully and early in the process, so that your business’s image is what you want it to be, and not what the market is doing. There will be time to refine the brand based on market positioning later. Ensure that your brand is based on an efficient strategy; this is what will help it stand out among its competitors in the most positive manner.
‘Brand’ is an umbrella term that envelopes several concepts. A mere logo or tagline is not your brand entirely; it is simply a vital part of it. Similarly, an advertisement campaign or even a single product is not a brand, but only an important component.
Having a stellar team, high-tech machinery, or even impressive products does not equal a ‘brand’, but the image customers have in their minds is what brand means in the simplest terms. It signifies a lot more than just a product. Brand conveys the feelings and purpose that it carries.
What is Branding?
A brand is a combination of numerous vivid, practical, and well-thought strategies and values. It is the core of a business; the creator’s voice and purpose behind the entire concept. Branding allows customers to understand the brand’s product and attributes, and most importantly, distinguishes it from businesses offering similar services.
Branding involves aligning yourself with the right suppliers, business partners, and audience. If the dealers or associates get the impression that your business is not a good investment or is unreliable, a rapid overall decline follows. However, if each of your brand’s elements is planned carefully and correctly, and you’re bringing something that people value, the business will be set to boom in little to no time. Good governance of a brand involves many things, but one of the most important tips is to maintain the brand’s original values and mission during the high tide of the market when all is going really well. Many businesses get careless with their brand when the money is coming in, and fail to realise the tide has turned before it’s too late.
Brand Identity Vs. Business Strategy
Difference Between the Two
The two concepts of Brand Identity and Business Strategy are often mistaken for one, but you can only excel at both when you know the difference. Brand Identity refers to your business’s overall holistic reputation and image, formed by both the company and customers. It is a vital part, which gives your brand identity, voice, and purpose, along with direction and marketing strategies. It allows the brand’s audience to entirely understand the attributes, values, and characteristics it stands for.
Whether it be marketing, in sales, or in customer service, each activity should paint a clear picture of the aesthetic and chief concept behind the brand. Brand identity mostly focuses on the broad view; however, it also highlights the short, mid, and long-term business goals and missions. Along with helping customers relate to the brand, the brand identity also enables team members to make sensible and well-informed decisions on behalf of the brand that resonate and reaffirm its image to the public.
On the other hand, the business strategy provides a deep insight into the brand’s vision and objectives, and the journey to reaching these goals. It’s the inside work. The grunt effort that aims to ensure the brand will succeed in the relevant markets.
Within your business strategy you may have the following:
- A marketing strategy to track and shape consumer habits and desires
- A corporate strategy to benefit from affiliations and synergies
- An innovation strategy to keep ahead of the competition
- An intellectual property strategy to fortify the rewards of innovation
- A digital strategy to mine the internet
- A social strategy to interact with communities
- A recruitment strategy to acquire exceptional human resources
An essential part of a successful business strategy is thinking of value and not just profit. Work on how willing a consumer is to pay the price you want to sell at. Business strategy is all about finding that sweet spot where the buyer finds good value at the price that you’ve set.
But it’s not just creating value for your customers, it’s also creating value for your employees. If they’re getting value for their time, then they’re not walking away from their job. This way a business can establish reasonable amounts of compensation, add them to the cost of manufacturing and service, and from that, determine a reasonable profit margin that equates to the sweet spot of what the customer is willing to pay. Business strategy is getting all of this in a sustainable balance.
Why it’s Important to See Branding and Business Strategy as Two Different Things
The concept of brand strategy, though combining marketing and sales, extends beyond the idea of financial gains. It defines the reason behind your brand and why it is associated with its respective attributes and values. Branding strategy sets your brand apart from the competition, giving it its identity and customer-intended image.
On the other hand, the business strategy lays down the plan for a business to compete and flourish in markets. It shows how the business is performing internally and externally and highlights its strengths and weaknesses, ultimately helping the business grow. It is a crucial business procedure that can give the business a competitive advantage and ensures stability in the future.
Business Strategy deals with the process of attaining the desired goals, while Brand Strategy sheds light upon how the brand will be perceived by clients. A true businessman/businesswoman can only succeed if they understand the fine difference between these two key terminologies and use them to their advantage.
How Your Brand Identity is Intangible, but Your Business’s Greatest Asset
An asset could be a machine, a piece of land, some property, or as in this case, a business. What makes a great asset is progressively increasing value. Ideally, a branding identity would only be successful if it brought in a whopping number of sales in the initial days of launch. However, practically, this is an unreasonable expectation, since customers are rarely ever willing to buy a product with a logo they have never seen before.
However, if your brand has been in the market for a long time or is delivering quality service that outdoes all competitors, it is an immensely valuable intangible asset. Your brand thrives depending upon how well the consumers perceive it. As long as you consistently maintain the quality of your brand and govern its identity, the brand remains your business’s greatest asset.
Examples of Brand Identity Layers
A brand is an intangible business or product/service concept that gives meaning and purpose to an entity. It helps consumers identify a company or provider. A brand is not simply a logo or tagline. Extending beyond profits, it gives the business the attributes and values that make up the entire concept behind it. Brand identity is something you can see, touch, hold, hear, use, and watch it move. Brand identity is the blueprint of recognition, differentiation, and enjoyment.
Brand image is the idea of a brand that customers develop in their minds. It can make or break things for your business, as once an image is consolidated in a customer’s mind for long enough, it is tough to change. Forming a vital layer, brand image guides customer expectations. Therefore, be mindful of the image you create.
Another essential layer of a brand is its values. They are a set of guiding principles and rules that determine all aspects of your brand. Brand values guard the business’s core, affecting each choice and action. Values motivate. Shared values enable co creation of the brand’s story with its target market. They also forge connections and if sustained long enough can be voiced as the reason for an irreplaceable bond between brand and customer or brand and employee.
A brand promise exists from the point of selling the product to the time it is disposed of. The brand promise begins as soon as a customer picks the product off the shelf and continues throughout usage. Your audience expects you to deliver this promise every time they buy or interact with the company. The better the delivery, the stronger the brand value.
This is the message a brand conveys to its customers through various activities such as social media, advertisements, events and product packaging. It encompasses a brand’s attitude and mission and is something that is experienced with all five senses. To effectively expand as a brand, its voice needs to be heard, believed and agreed with. The market needs to care deeply about the same matters and thinking within the same school of thought. It needs to appreciate the way in which a brand is connecting to a solution they desire.
The Ingredients for a Successful Brand
- Herd Relevance
Consumers are more likely to buy a product if it makes them feel like they belong to a particular herd or culture. Therefore, for higher chances of success, ensure your product follows a distinctive code or an emerging culture/practice.
- Functional Relevance
Curate a product with the current functional relevance. The more functional categories or needs your product covers, the more it will sell.
The idea here is to get known for making a function possible so that every time a client thinks of that particular function, your brand is the first thing that comes to their mind. The more often it is used, the more it flourishes.
- Social Relevance
Ensure that your brand is the ‘hot topic’ at social gatherings and the word of mouth. You can either create unique or unexpected events or introduce catchy, popular deals or products to enhance your social proof. Social relevance will do you more marketing good than crashing prices.
One of the basic strategies to a successful brand is the ease of buying and quick accessibility. Sell your product in such a way that it is noticeable and easy to access and use. Recognise the physical and psychological barriers to your product and eliminate them to boost sales.
Think of human psychology here; the more easily accessible and readily available your brand is, the more likely customers are to buy it. Moreover, choose logos, signs, or symbols that make your brand stand out even in the longest supermarket isles. If it is noticeable, people are a lot more likely to grab your product, even if it is an impulsive buy.
Even if you are selling a common product manufactured by many businesses, you can still beat them and emerge at the top. Maintain individuality and uniqueness in your brand; be it the ingredients, brand voice, or something else. Do not follow, but lead. As proven, brands that are distinctive and consistent often overcome brands that keep making changes.
Make your brand and its associated signs and symbols one of a kind. Along with regulating distinctiveness, maintain your product’s excellent quality. Once your brand has fully established its undisputed individuality, people may even buy other, less popular products, knowing you always deliver the best and are consistent with each of your launches.
As time progresses, brands that complement the contemporary ways and practices seem to be taking the lead. Ensure that your brand has a set vision with practical planning and smart strategies; this will form the basis of good marketing, and ultimately, a successful business. Focus on each detail and showcase it in such a way that it represents you as well as your purpose; this is what makes a long-lasting impression on your customers. Once in the market, remember to stay consistent and always deliver the highest-quality products or services.
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