Many underestimate the power of a strong brand. Good branding can drop down the list of priorities quickly compared to marketing and boosting sales. However, spending time strengthening your brand can have a significant impact on your company’s overall success.
What is branding?
Branding is “The marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products”
Your organisation’s brand is all about your customers’ perceptions and opinions about your product quality, identity and values. It tells your customers what they can expect from the products and services that you offer. Most of all, it distinguishes you from your competitors.
Why is it so important?
Branding is as vital to the success of a business or non-profit as having financial coherence, having a vision for the future, or having quality employees”.
- For recognition
People buy brands they’re familiar with, so strong branding ensures that customers remember your products and services. People trust recognised brands. This is why you should always try to convey your brand message wherever you can.
- For creating customer loyalty
When customers choose your products over your competitors, they’re buying into their beliefs about what your company stands for – its ethos and values, the promises you make and the expectations they have surrounding your brand. Branding is essential when creating a loyal customer base in an increasingly competitive market.
- For inspiring employees
At the heart of every organization are its employees – and they’re often a brands’ biggest advocates. Make sure that your employees understand your organisation’s mission and core values. This gives them a better understanding of what they’re working towards and gives them pride in doing so. Establishing your brand creates a sense of community for your employees, and gives them the clarity to succeed.
- For creating an image of reliability and stability
A strong brand gives the impression that your organisation has been around for long enough to become well known. People usually associate this experience with reliability. On the other hand, a new, inexperienced business without a strong brand may convey an image of unreliability, which would ultimately put customers off for fear of being let down.
- For building financial value
A strong brand is key for generating future business. You’re more likely to be recommended by current customers, and more likely to attract new customers over non-branded alternatives. Don’t forget – an established brand commands a price-premium. Think about Coca-Cola vs. any other generic fizzy drink brand. Coca-Cola has spent years cultivating an iconic brand and a loyal customer base, so even if their product and the generic brand’s product are suitably comparable, they can charge more for their product and their customers will always choose them.
How can I strengthen my brand?
A key place to start is to assess your current situation. Does your brand convey the right kind of message? Is it consistent throughout your products, your online presence and your promotional materials? If not, this is the best place to start.
Other factors that will boost the strength of your brand are:
- Good customer testimonials – many people chose brands that were recommended to them by friends, colleagues or family members.
- Distinguishing yourself from your competition – try to establish what makes you different from the competition, and then focus on showcasing this in a creative manner. A great example of a brand distinguishing itself from competitors is this advert from Audi.
- Market to your intended audience – many companies end up exhausting themselves with no return because they try to sell to everybody. Instead, focus on who is your niche market and target your marketing towards them.
The Xpo-Online Team