Tue 29 May 2012
A majority of small business owners are unfamiliar with the concept of branding. It is often thought of as something that matters only to large international corporations. But branding is as essential for small businesses as it is for large corporations.
Quite simply, branding is the application of any marketing techniques that helps to further the advancement of one’s company or promote specific products and services. With so many firms offering similar products, your business needs to stand out in order to succeed. This is where effective branding techniques can help to achieve this goal.
Core concepts about branding
Branding is not just window dressing: Many small business owners mistakenly view branding as window dressing. But this is a gross misconception. The key differentiators and core values of your business are reflected in and projected by effective branding efforts.
The brand message lets customers know what your product or service stands for and why they should opt for it. For instance, some brands are known for low cost, while others for high quality. Whatever you stand for, the messages and images used for branding should reflect it clearly.
Branding goes beyond the logo: Logo is an important part of any branding strategy. It is a representation of the company. The design, color scheme, and the tagline following it should be chosen carefully. Consistent use of logo across all channels like website, packaging, brochures, and the like is essential. While logo plays an important role, it is just one of the aspects of the overall branding strategy.
Effective branding requires focus: Your branding efforts are unlikely to bear desired fruits, if they are not focused. Rather than trying to communicate multiple points, the branding will be more effective, if it is concentrated on a few points.
For instance, if you try to communicate that your products are the best quality, the cheapest, the most reliable, and the most innovative in the market, customers are likely to question the true value for the price and look elsewhere. Instead, if you focus branding on a single key advantage offered by your product, it is likely to have a much stronger and lasting impact.
Consistency and repetition matter: Consistency of your message and its repetition are essential for successful branding. If you are a parent, you know that a child seldom grasps a message told just one. For the message to sink it, it needs to be repeated numerous times. Moreover, changing the message confuses the child. The same logic applies to branding as well.
One of the aspects often ignored by business owners is the possibility of the brand’s message being undermined by sales representatives. Many companies employ sales representatives who often have their own unique way of promoting the company. If the story told by these reps does not match with the company’s branding message, it can lead to inconsistencies, confuse customers, and drive them away. This can be avoided by ensuring that a consistent message is spread across all the channels of marketing.
Along with effective branding, it is also important to offer value to customers. The only way to do this is to identify consumer needs and offer products that satisfy them. Many people equate value with features. But, a memorable experience is likely to offer much more value than bells and whistles. An effective value creation process can help you change premium price for your products and services.
Driving the value offered by your business
Create a winning team: Having a great team around you is the best way to ensure that you deliver the best possible experience to your customers. Working alongside people having high standards for themselves pushes you to give more. Such a team is well capable of understanding client requirements and meeting them. This makes your product or service valuable to customers.
Offer relevant information: With such a large amount of free information available online, you may wonder if users will really be interested in paid information. But information overload is not always a good thing. Filtering out relevant information from a huge pile is extremely difficult. Regardless of your product or service, offering relevant information, in the right format, at the right time is a great way to add value.
Engage customers on a personal level: With the increasing popularity of social networks, developing personal connections with clients is becoming easier. This allows you to understand their goals more clearly and modify your offerings to suit them. Engaging with your clients on a personal level can help you offer value in a way that is very difficult for competitors to mimic.
Build a strong community: Today building a community is one of the basic requirements for developing a business. There are a number of ways to do this. Memberships are a popular method. A strong community helps you add more value and extend your product line.