Today’s guest post comes to us from Sara Mackey. Sara works for www.Connexx.com, a leading authority in the field of small business financing.
An effective branding strategy is a vital component of any successful business. Brand strategy can give your business a strong edge against your competitors. In basic terms, branding is the promise you have made to your customers. Your promise tells your customers what they can expect from your services or goods, and if done differently, can set you apart from your competitors. Essentially, your brand consists of how people perceive you to be, who you want to be and who you are.
Deciding on Your Brand
First, you need to decide what direction your brand needs to go. You need to decide if you are the innovator and leader in cutting edge technology or are you the reliable voice of experience or high-quality affordable goods for the everyday person. A business cannot be all things to all people. Every business fits within a niche market. Find your niche and you will find your brand. The basic foundation of your business is your brand, the basic foundation of your brand is your logo. Your logo is one of the first things communicated to your customer about your business. Your packaging, promotional materials, your website and even your employee's uniforms communicate your brand when the logo is used.
An effective brand strategy answers to whom you will be communicating, how you will be delivering the message and the what, where and when. Where you advertise is a vital aspect of brand strategy. Businesses waste valuable resources on ineffective marketing because they advertise in places that do not cater to their niche market. Other areas of brand strategy that are crucial are what is verbally and visually conveyed to your potential customer and your distribution channels.
Consistent and persistent strategic branding leads to stronger brand equity. This equity adds value to your brand which allows you to charge more for your product than the generic counterpart. For one example, Nike tennis shoes versus a department store tennis shoe. Nike has built brand equity into its products which allows them to charge more and at a price customers are willing to pay.
The added value inherent to brand equity is also fostered by perceived quality or emotional attachment. Name brand beer commercials associate sexually attractive people and fun times with their product in hope that their customers will transfer their emotions triggered by the commercial to their product. For Miller Lite, it is not just their beer's taste that sells the beer.
Defining your brand can be a slow process, but one well worth the time it takes. Do your research, know your customers and their desires, habits and needs. Once you define your brand, you need to get the word out. One of the biggest mistakes businesses make is not devoting enough of their business working capital to their marketing campaign.
Developing an effective branding strategy is a time-consuming and challenging time, but it is necessary for the success of a business. Know what your customers think and how you can deliver to their needs and you will have the start of a great brand strategy.