Branding is one of the most critical aspects of any business, be it large or small, retail or B2B. Having an effective brand strategy can give you a major edge in the ever-increasing competitive markets. But what exactly does “branding” mean? How can it affect a small business like yours and should you care at all about all the complexities of branding?
To put is simply, your brand is your promise to your customers. It tells them what they can expect from your products and services, while also differentiating you from your competitors’. Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be and how you want people to see you.
Do you consider yourself as someone who is innovative in your industry? Or are you the more experienced and reliable one? Is your product the high-cost, high-quality option, or the low-cost, high-value option? You’ll need to choose one because you can’t be both. There’s simply no way to be all things to all people. Who you are should be based to some extent on who your target customers want and need you to be.
The foundation of your brand is your logo. Your website, packaging and promotional materials. All the elements combined should integrate with your logo, thus communicate your brand.
Brand Strategy & Equity
Your brand strategy is how, what, where, when and to whom you plan on communicating and delivering on your brand messages. Where you advertise is part of your brand strategy. Your distribution channels are also part of your brand strategy. And what you communicate visually and verbally are part of your brand strategy, as well.
Consistent, strategic branding leads to a strong brand equity, which means the added value brought to your company’s products or services will allow you to charge more for your brand than what identical, unbranded products would normally charge. A simple obvious example of this would be Coke vs. a generic soda. Because Coca-Cola has built a powerful brand equity, it can charge more for its product, and you can clearly see that customers are willing to pay the higher price.
Defining Your Brand
Defining your brand is like a journey of business self-discovery. It can be difficult, time-consuming and uncomfortable. To help you out on this journey, take the time and really think on how to answer the following questions:
- 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?
Because defining your brand and developing a brand strategy can be complex and overwhelming, consider hiring the expertise of a Branding Agency, who are experts in the ins and outs of brand strategy, to help you out.