In this troubled economy, businesses have needed to be more resourceful than ever to just maintain, let alone strengthen, their clientele. One such strategy that the marketplace has relied upon for centuries is a brand campaign. While companies have employed branding in their marketing for decades, today’s businesses must perfect its use to garner results.
First, Bloomberg Businessweek makes an interesting distinction between branding and advertising. Rob Frankel, a branding expert from Los Angeles, sees delineation between true branding and advertisement.
Frankel contends that “branding is not advertising and it’s not marketing or PR. Branding happens before all of those: First you create the brand, then you raise awareness of it.” If you examine the order he places on these events, it becomes apparent that the company itself defines its brand, its personality.
If a business were to write down how they would like their customers to describe them after doing business together, those descriptors become their brand.
That same company then needs marketers to sell that brand to the public, to make it the familiar and comfortable. Once a company solidifies their identity, then it’s time to involve the promotional team to spread the word.
According to Enterpreneur, an “…effective brand strategy gives you a major edge in increasingly competitive markets,” no matter your type of business.
Whether a consumer is looking to spend his/her money on a new automobile, sweater, or dog food, that individual is analyzing your product in relation to all those around it. What names, catch phrases, or logos do they recognize? Which are unfamiliar to them?
Even though it’s not entirely fair, most consumers are going to opt for the tried-and-true product because it’s a known entity. Unfortunately, many shoppers are much like small children terrified of stranger danger, so your company must combat that fear by perpetuating your brand for yourself. No one else is going to do it for you, and if you don’t do it yourself, your competitors would be happy to oblige you. You can of course see the negative implications of this scenario.
So exactly how do successful businesses make their brands well-known to consumers? Entrepreneur outlines these time-tested steps to optimizing your brand, no matter the business:
1. Get a logo and place it everywhere.
2. Write down the key messages you want to communicate about your brand. Your employees and your consumers should know what these messages are.
3. Integrate your brand in everything that you do from how you answer your phones, employee uniforms, etc.
4. Create a voice for your brand and use it for all correspondence. If your business’ personality if friendly, then use a conversational tone. If you want it to be more upper crust, then be more formal.
5. Develop a meaningful and concise tagline that hits at the heart of your brand.
6. Design templates that will bring consistency to your marketing materials. Use the same colors, layouts, logo placement, etc.
7. Be true to your brand. If you say it, do it.
8. Be consistent in all the above.
With a clear definition of your company’s personality and a comprehensive marketing strategy, your company’s brand will gain the sought-after notoriety and the subsequent solid returns.
However, it’s also important to realize that integrating a brand into a consumer’s conscience takes years.
To prove that point brand channel offers up the wonderful example of Nike. It took them 15 years to build one of the strongest global brands, thanks to:
- a focused brand positioning
- consistent 360-degree delivery
- its association with All-Star basketball player Michael Jordan.”
It is so easy to look at that brand today and forget that at one point it too was an unknown entity in a sea of sales.
Branding is still a cornerstone of the marketplace because it has always worked. Humanity seeks out the comfort of the known, even if we are just shopping for a pair of shoes.