Whether you are a small or big business, or a person trying to market yourself, managing your brand is one of the most important things you have to do. Strategic branding gives you a competitive advantage in whatever market you are in, or trying to enter. Because your brand is what pushes customers to choose your products/services over another company, it is very important that you carefully choose what you want your brand to be associated with.
For starters, you need to make your brand associations simple enough to be memorable in minds of your customers. Therefore, simplicity is the key. You want people to remember you, and be able to describe what you are about in less than five words. If possible, they should be able to say one word about you or your business that summarizes what you do. For example when you think or hear Volvo, the words that come to your minds are “reliability”, “safety” and “family”. Therefore, someone who is looking for a reliable car wouldn’t go far because Volvo is the answer. It should be the same for your business. However, you have to make sure that your brand associations speak to what your customers value the most. Usually, marketers choose messages that sound good, but sometimes those messages do not align with customers’ needs. With all the resources we have online today, it is easy to find out what your customers want and need to better serve them. You could run a survey on Survey Monkey to learn about ways to serve them. Once you know what people are expecting from you, it is easy to build your brand around those expectations to make sure it speaks to customers personally.
Besides simplicity, memorability helps your brand a lot. As a business owner, you want people to remember who you are and what you do. For this reason, you need to be very careful when you describe yourself. Your brand associations should be something really clear and easy to remember, otherwise your customers will be confused. You don’t want that. In order to do so, you must often engage with your customers to remind them of you. Remember that effective branding is all about conversation and building relationships. Because of this, it is important to find tools that allow you to do both. In my opinion, social media is the perfect tool to engage into a conversation about your brand with your customers not only to give them a chance to express their feedback (both positive and negative), but also to give yourself a chance to remind them who you are and what you do. It’s not enough to have a Facebook page/account, a twitter or an Instagram presence, you need to start the conversation and continue to participate and give feedback when needed.
Your brand is your reputation, and the quality of your reputation determines if you are trustworthy or not. If you manage your brand strategically, you will keep your current customers loyal to your brand, and will attract new ones. Research shows that when two products are of equal qualities, customers choose the product which has strong brand associations.
- The Importance of Branding to Your Hospitality Business (staples.com)
- Building Your Brand: Proving and Differentiating Your Small Business (staples.com)
- Give Your Brand A Voice (katherinepemberton.wordpress.com)
- Are these re-brands a mistake? (thetrainingpack.wordpress.com)