Not only big companies or corporate names need to think about branding, this also applies to small businesses as well. Branding says a lot about you and your business, and this certainly true for a home-based, one person operation to a multinational company. This only means one thing, that having a good brand name or branding strategy can add a couple of figures to you sales. It doesn’t promise you to become large company overnight (no strategy will!), yet it will give you steady and visible results before you know it.
Your business, service or product’s most valuable asset can be it’s brand. It’s your corporate identity. An effective brand tells the world who you are, what you do and how you do it. It’s how your business is perceived by your customers. With a powerful branding strategy your company’s market position can actually be elevated. For example, you can go from “the low price leader” to “the top choice for professionals”. Once your brand has a high perceived value, you can charge a premium for your products and services well beyond what your competitors are charging. It’s even possible for your brand to dominate your niche.
Also, the value and recognition of your business, service, product and yourself determines marketing potential. Therefore, branding is a basic part of building your business. Clients, consumers and customers should always remember your name, products and services so they can easily refer it to others and this can also build loyalty for repeat transactions.
Here are a few tips that can get you started on how you can use branding to grow your business:
Develop Your Business’s logo – A good logo will give the first impression and fast recall of your company. One of the most important factors is to ensure that it doesn’t imitate any existing brand designs for copyright issues. It’s suggested to get a simple and catchy brand name that comes with a simple logo.
Develop Your Company’s Core Values – Review your company’s mission statement. If you don’t have one…write one. Your brand reinforces and supports your mission. Take a look at Pizza Huts mission statement and core values.
Pizza Hut’s Mission Statement
We take pride in making a perfect pizza and providing courteous and helpful service on time all the time. Every customer says, “I’ll be back!”
We are the employer of choice offering team members opportunities for growth, advancement, and rewarding careers in a fun, safe working environment.
We are accountable for profitability in everything we do, providing our shareholders with value growth.
Pizza Hut’s Core Values: P.E.A.R.L.S
Have a PASSION for excellence in everything we do.
EXECUTE with positive energy and urgency.
Be individually and collectively ACCOUNTABLE for growth in people, customer satisfaction and profitability.
Find reasons to RECOGNIZE the achievement of others and have fun doing it.
LISTEN and more importantly, respond to the voice of the customer.
Think SAFETY first.
Think about how their mission and core values are demonstrated in their brand. Think about their logo, advertisements, commercials, employees and management, fulfillment (when you place your order) and customer service. Get the idea? An additional word on fulfillment and customer service. Develop high standards of customer service so that clients feel that you’re always willing to go the extra mile to solve their problems. Remember that customers who get good customer service, come back and bring more customers with them.
Develop A Strong Public Image – Be consistent, it’s important that your business keeps a single character or appearance. This means having a consistent message, trademark, publicity and company values. You do this by integrating your brand strategies through your company at every point of public contact. This will help build company loyalty that will reflect to your customers.
The internal workings of the company must always be in place and shouldn’t be changed. This will help build the company’s dependability and will connect powerfully with your clients. Developing a company image and strictly adhering to it will result in your customers appreciating your service as well as your employees. By letting the business stand for something that you believe in, more and more customers will start appreciating your brand building your reputation. And reputation is something that every business would like to have, yet only a few get.
A strong brand will also project an image of a large and established business to your potential customers. People usually associate branding with larger businesses that have the money to spend on advertising and promotion. Once you create an effective branding strategy, then it can make your business appear to be much bigger than it really is. An image of size and establishment can be especially important when a customer wants reassurance that you will still be around in a few years time.
A strong brand projects an image of experience, reliability and quality in your business. Many people see the brand as a part of a product or service that helps to show its quality and value. It’s commonly said that if you show a person two identical products, only one of which is branded; they’ll almost always believe the branded item is higher quality. Most people believe that a business won’t put their brand name on something of poor quality. Also branded businesses are more likely to be seen as experienced in their industry, products and services, and will generally be seen as more reliable and trustworthy than an unbranded business.
Develop Strong Marketing – Another good reason for developing a strong branding strategy is to make your sales force more effective and efficient. When your market recognizes your brand, you don’t have to spend a lot of time with new prospects explaining who you are, what you do and how you do it. Your brand already has already educated and built credibility with them. So now you can invest almost 100% of your time on sales rather than educating your prospects about your business.
Develop New Products And Services – Another way that branding benefits your business is that the efforts you make increasing your brand awareness, through promoting and marketing your brand to your target market, automatically transfers to ALL OF YOUR PRODUCTS AND SERVICES. This includes any new products and services that you roll out in the future. So, even when you’re promoting your brand, you’re also indirectly marketing all of your products and services. And this means that customers for one of your products and service will be more likely to buy other products and services from you as well.
Separate Yourself From Your Competition – The main reason for creating strong brand for your business is to differentiate yourself from your competition. A strong brand will deliver your message clearly, confirm your credibility, connect with your target market emotionally, motivates your prospective customers to buy and concretes their loyalty. So it only makes sense to understand that branding isn’t about getting your target market to choose you over the competition, yet it’s about getting your prospects to see you as the only one that provides a solution to their problem.
Consider Jerry Garcia’s insightful statement:
“It’s not enough to be the best at what you do; you must be perceived as the only one who does what you do.” – Jerry Garcia
To be effective your branding must be strong, you must have a well defined strategy, your expertise and message has to be clear. Or you’ll get no results. For example, many years ago, there was only one local market. If you wanted to buy soup you simply went to the market and bought soup. Then came supermarkets with 6 different types of soup. If you didn’t recognize the other soups you’d most likely buy Campbell’s. Remember people buy brands not products and services. A brand promises the same positive consistent experience every time. Empowering you to buy with confidence and making your decision easy. So it was easy to make a buying decision. Yet now there are literally millions of companies on the internet locally, nationally and internationally. All competing for local markets in the US! So now powerful branding is even more important than ever before!
In closing, to succeed in branding you must understand the needs and wants of your customers and prospects. To effectively use branding to grow your business, you must invest the time in researching, defining, building and promoting your brand. When done correctly, your prospective customers will draw this simple conclusion, “I’d have to be an absolute fool to do business with anyone else except you…regardless of price”.
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