Coca Cola, Apple and Nike are some of the biggest brands in the world and quite often the words associated with such brands are things like trustworthy, cool or market leaders. Although brands such as those listed above have massive brand equity along with equally huge advertising budgets it doesn’t mean that your small business brand cannot be as iconic.
A brand is more than just a logo it’s the identity and personality of your business. It adds value to what you sell and sets you aside from your competition. It’s what people think of first when they think of your company.
Building your brand will not only shape how you offer your services to your customers, it will also help guide the strategic decisions you make for your business.
Follow these 5 tips for Building Your Brand the right Way!
1: What is your big idea?
We all have ideas, some of them are great. However, an idea is and always will be just an idea and nothing more until acted upon. Ultimately those who go on to build brands as successful as Coca Cola or Facebook are the ones who bite the bullet on the idea and put it into practice.
An idea is and always will be just an idea and nothing more until acted upon.
Before you begin building a brand you need to know what makes you different and what your core values are. Analyse the marketplace. Where does your business fit in? Is there a gap in the market around quality, cost or service level that you can look to exploit?
Do some research by checking out your competitions’ online presence? Find out how they are interacting with their community in social media and forums and more importantly take note of what is being said, how it is being said and the general theme.
Once you have spent some time looking at the competition ask yourself the following:
What would make your business stand out from the others in the marketplace? What would make it truly remarkable? What would make your customer tell their friends and family about what you do? How would your business model or brand turn people into brand evangelists?
2: Know who you’re selling it to
Would a 35 year old male be interested in Justin Bieber? Would a 12 year old girl be the best person to approach about buying a one hundred thousand pound boat?
All of the above are not the ideal clients, sure there may be a very small percentage that turn into sales but we are talking miniscule so why would you as a business owner waste your marketing budget on that demographic?
Know exactly who is the ideal client for your product; make an avatar and pin it on your wall, depicting exactly what they do, what they like, what they dislike and what they do in their spare time. The more you know the more specific you can be with your advertising message and also the channels in which you deliver that message.
3: Define what makes you different
We are not going to be the first to this party, but we’re going to be the best! – Steve Jobs
The chances are you are not going to be the first to the party either and there will be some bigger, more established players in the market place. But if you have done your competitive research then you will know where your competition is being complacent and more importantly where you can deliver outstanding value to your target clients.
Give the customer a reason to buy from you. Don’t sell a bottle of water, sell an ice cold refreshing drink that quenches thirst
People buy Apple products because they want to be part of a movement, people buy cars from Toyota because they are efficient, never break down and run forever, people by Dre beats headphones because they are cool.
When building a brand try to add some form of psychological trigger or emotional benefit that the user can relate too and gives them an extra special sense of being or achievement for being associated with your product. This is your unique selling proposition or unique value proposition.
4: Deliver on your brand promise.
Actually delivering on your brand promise is not good enough. The competition is already out there and to be successful you have to be better than the competition. You need to over deliver. You need to be exceptional, because whatever it is that your customers buy into about your brand you need to make sure that you trigger it. You need to press that emotional trigger when they receive your service.
If you are a small business and your edge is the fact that you are approachable and you are always there for your customers, then being directed to a call centre or to answer message after message is not delivering on that brand promise – it is absolutely failing.
The last thing you want is for someone to comment on social media that your so called “always approachable business” is never approachable, always unavailable and doesn’t answer the phone.
Whatever it is you promise upfront, deliver it in spades; in fact where possible over deliver and by doing that you stand a great chance of creating those advocates for your brand.
Read why your online reputation management is a BIG deal!
5: Be Clear and Simple
Once polished, your brand should be simple to explain and easy to summarise in one sentence. It must be understandable at a very basic level so you can explain your brand in no more than sixty seconds.
In order to achieve this level of simplicity, your brand must have a clearly defined value proposition; i.e. what it is you do and why your customers should choose you over your competitors.
Don’t try and be everything to everyone. This is a mistake. Not only does it take far more effort, it will dilute the potential success of your business by spreading efforts and resources far too thinly, it also clouds the clarity of the value proposition.
It is therefore more beneficial to focus on one product, drill down on the detail, deliver it exceptionally well and then expand over time.
Fundamentally building a brand successfully is about delivering a simple idea with a clear value proposition while providing something better than your competitors. If you can get this right it will not only be the foundation of customer engagement and trust in your brand. It will be the key to creating brand evangelists that will buy from you again and again with a broad smile on their face while telling all of their friends about how great you truly are!
What makes your brand different to everyone else. We are interested to know leave your comments below…