And why is it important when marketing your products and services
Have you noticed, that highly successful businesses don’t talk about marketing or advertising anymore? When discussing how they’re going to sell to customers, they talk about their “brand”, related to “values”, “strategy” or “positioning”.
Instead of discussing new marketing campaigns, they talk about creating a large brand following.
So, what the heck does that mean? Is this simply a shift in terminology? A new promotional fad?
Why has branding replaced marketing?
The real reason businesses no longer talk in terms of marketing their products, is because its effects are finite. A marketing campaign only works in the short-term.
Sure, you may gather up a few new customers or spread the word about your company’s offerings, but the effects often fizzle out quickly.
By creating a memorable “brand”, and a special customer relationship to that brand, you sustain consumer interest over time. You create long-term relationships with loyal customers who will not only buy your products or services, they’ll also recommend them to others.
This cycle then becomes a self-sustaining loop of new and future customers, taking the pressure off finding new sales leads all the time.
And as we explore branding in the next series of blogs, we will equip you with the tools you’ll need to succeed. However, it all has to start somewhere, with a basic understanding of terminology and why each piece of the branding puzzle is important.
Let’s start with the basics…
A “brand” is basically your company’s corporate image or public reputation.
It’s how your overall organization and products are perceived in the minds of your customers. And that can be good or bad, depending on how you relate and communicate to your customers. Perception is everything when you’re trying to build a loyal following.
Building a successful brand involves thoughtful and strategic planning. You must find what makes your company unique and then identify the ways you can express that through your individual brand.
Any brand should involve 4 main elements:
1 Clear, Consistent Messaging:
What are your company’s beliefs, visions and values and how do you express those in a clear and consistent way?
2 Appealing Visual Design:
Do you possess visuals that support your brand? A way for people to identify your brand without words, such as a website, logo or certain colours or images? Like the widely known golden arches of the McDonald’s logo.
3 Adhering to Your Organization’s Values:
If you talk the talk, better walk the walk. Do you stand by your company’s beliefs? Do you run your business accordingly?
4 Positive Customer Experience:
From searching a product to after-sales support, is your brand consistent when it comes to how you interact with customers? Have you thought about how to create a seamless, positive customer journey, one that would lead customers to recommend your products or services?
These are just a few things to consider. Even if you already have an established identity, it’s a good idea to work through these questions every so often, to ensure that your efforts stay on track.
And if you think establishing an identity isn’t important, try this short exercise:
In 1 minute, list…
- A company that exudes “luxury” or a lavish lifestyle.
- An organization that stands for innovation and cutting-edge ideas.
- A company that’s focused on health and wellness.
Now review your answers.
– Imagine your brand foundation: built for growth and future success –
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It really doesn’t matter what you put down. By naming the companies that first came to mind, you’ve just proven the effectiveness and power of a brand.
Why? Because you remembered those companies. You are clear about their identity, what they stand for, what they value, what they associate themselves with. You’ve retained their brand. And if you want to emulate their success, if you want to stand out and claim a decent share of your target market, you also may want to consider shifting your focus from marketing to branding.