MARKETING

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  • Branding for Beginners

    Game Plan

    In-Depth

    Create a Brand Strategy

    A brand strategy is a formalized document that identifies what your company is and believes in, defines your target market, shows how you’re differentiated from your competition, and defines your company’s personality. By creating a clear and concise brand strategy, you help your employees understand, support and participate in the efforts to achieve your branding — and business — goals. This can lead to greater consistency and a stronger connection with your customers. Once you have defined your brand strategy, execute it effectively and thoroughly. Clear, consistent, strategic branding will help you build strong brand equity, which could lead to long-term success.

    Promote Your Brand to All Stakeholders — Internal and External
    Your brand is about more than your products and/or services. It’s what your customers perceive and feel about your company. It’s your company’s image and reputation. What problems are you solving? How are you making a difference: in your customers’ lives, the community, and the industry? Communicate this with targeted advertising and communications that are focused on what you can do for your target audience. And back it up. Don’t just say: “Customers are our number one priority.” Deliver on it. Make sure everyone in your organization understands and believes that, and supports it in all that they do. Be sure you deliver on the promise you make in your value proposition. Also, recognize the vital role your employees play as brand ambassadors.

    Get Employees to Help Build Your Brand
    Your brand isn’t just about your latest ad or marketing campaign. Branding is embedded in every element of your business. Everything your customers see, hear and experience affects your company’s image: How all employees answer phones and greet customers, for example. Even how clean your premises are and how easy it is to park at a store. If the actual customer experience in dealing with your company is at odds with the image you project through your branding efforts, you’re probably nullifying all those efforts. Your employees should understand and believe in the brand and then be able to back up the brand’s promise with their actions.

    Build a Strong Image
    A strong image comes from a clear message and consistency in everything that the customer experiences. Promote your brand’s key attributes consistently in communications with all your audiences, internal and external.

    Create an Emotional Bond
    If you provide a good product or service at a reasonable price, your connection with customers might be positive, but purely rational. To succeed on a deeper level over a longer period, strive to create and sustain an emotional bond with your customers. This can build loyalty and drive long-term — or even lifelong — customer relationships. If your customers feel an emotional connection to your brand, they could even serve as informal brand ambassadors, promoting your company through word of mouth and social media.
     

    Game PlanGame Plan

    Game Plan

    Building a strong brand takes time. Make sure you have a consistent focus and a clear and strong message.

    Next steps:

    • Create a strategic game plan that addresses employees and customers.
    • Make sure employees understand who your brand targets and how their actions can help.
    • Look for ways to develop an emotional connection with your customers.
    • Read articles on brand strategy, such as this one.