Branding: Your brand isn’t what you tell your customers your company is, your brand is what your customers think your company is.
February 7, 2023
4 min read
Your brand is your social contract with your customers. A brand conveys what can be expected from your products and services. It distinguishes your offerings and value proposition from your competitors.
Customer loyalty is to your brand. Its what you aspire to deliver and what people perceive you to be.
Branding is the focal point of any marketing strategy. Your enterprise value is deeply intertwined with your brand.
Brand equity is part of your value proposition. It is the value added to your company’s products and services by this relationship of promise and trust. Brand equity sustains your profit margins and influences repeat sales.
Brands have cache and evoke emotional responses and aspirational intent.
Popular brands include Coca-Cola, Nike, Apple, and BMW. They have built solid brand equity and can charge more for their products because of it.
Protecting the brand is a strategic imperative. Damage done to the brand through some misstep can have very long lasting, and costly, effects.
How you promote your brand is largely based on who your target customers want and need you to be. This relates to the positioning issues I talk about in my STP post.
A brand needs to define its niche. You dilute your brand if you try to be all things to all people. Are you promoting innovation or the user experience and reliability? Does perceived value lie in being the high quality or the low-cost option?
Your messaging communicates what your brand stands for. Messaging is both verbal and visual.
Design is a critical component. The look and feel of you offering creates the user experience. This is industrial design. The focal point of your brand is your logo. This is graphic design. Design thinking is a discipline that has emerged out of the design field and incorporates design principles into product development and branding.
Visual and verbal messaging are crucial to your brand strategy. Your brand strategy is your plan for effectively delivering on your brand messages and promise.
Brand strategy also includes how, where and when you deliver your message and what channels you use to distribute your product. These are the touch points for the customer and each touch point needs to be analyzed, refined, and finessed.
The added value of brand equity is derived from perceived quality and emotional attachment. Many sports brands associate their products with big time athletes via big time contracts. It’s not just the product’s features that sell but the aspirational linkage to super stars.
Defining your brand requires being very clear and precise about the following:
· Your company’s mission
· The benefits of your products or services
· The features of your products or services
· What customers and prospects already think of your company
· The qualities you want customers to associate with your company
· What are their aspirations and dreams and how can they be actualized or rehearsed through association with you brand.
When you have a clearly defined brand, the next step is to build awareness (the first A in AIDA). Here are some ideas for composing and crafting your brand messaging, and thinking about the key attributes you want to communicate about your brand:
· Create a powerful logo and integrate it into your brand image.
· Create a “voice” that reflects your brand image and attributes and use it consistently.
· Develop a tagline. Make it memorable, meaningful and concise. It’s a statement that captures the essence of your brand. It’s the essence of your elevator pitch. The tagline appears under or alongside the logo. A lot of the messaging will flow from the tag line and the tag line should be a distillation of your messaging.
· Branding extends to all aspects of your business and must be coherent and consistent.
· Deliver on your brand promise. Create a product improvement engine at the core of your company. Focus on increasing the value you deliver to customers.
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