MARKETING

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Branding for Beginners

QUICK SUMMARY

In today’s competitive world of marketing and advertising, a key to success is building a strong brand. Branding involves developing a compelling, positive and lasting image of your business that creates an emotional connection with your customers. The strength of your company’s brand could mean the difference between struggling for recognition and sales or thriving as a dynamic, best-in-class business. In this article, we discuss several key aspects of branding.

Define Your Brand

Your brand is the image customers have of your business. Take the time to define your brand thoughtfully and early, so your company’s image is what you intend it to be.

  • Define your company’s unique value proposition: Clearly describe what it is you offer your customers; explain why they should deal with you and what sets your business apart from competitors.
  • Identify your target customer markets: Thoroughly define customer needs and how your business best attends to them.
  • Define your employer brand: What sets you apart as an employer and community member?
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Create a Brand Strategy

Create a clear and concise brand strategy and then execute it effectively and thoroughly.

  • Promote your brand to all stakeholders — internal and external.
  • Get all employees to embrace the brand.
  • Build a strong image.
  • Create an emotional bond.
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Build Brand Equity

Brand equity is the value that your brand brings to your company. You can measure it in a number of ways, such as the price premium you can charge over a no-name product, or through long-term customer loyalty. You can strengthen your customers’ perception of your brand by applying the four-step Customer Based Brand Equity Model.

   Step 1–Identity: Build awareness.
   Step 2–Meaning: Communicate what your brand means and what it stands for.
   Step 3–Response: Shape customers’ thoughts and feelings to be more favorable.
   Step 4–Relationships: Build a deeper bond with customers.

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Create a Strong Visual Brand

Image plays a central role in branding, including visual elements. Key to this is a logo and a clearly recognizable look and feel for all your marketing materials. Three primary steps in visual branding are:

  1. Create a strong logo and use it widely.
  2. Establish brand standards for marketing materials.
  3. Publish and promote a style guide.
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Establish Your Brand’s Voice

Your brand should have personality and character. A big part of that is a voice that is appropriate and reflects your brand. In creating your brand’s voice:

  • Understand what is appropriate for your company and your customers.
  • Make sure your brand’s voice is authentic and consistent.
  • Have your brand speak to customer needs, concerns and desires.
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Be Consistent

Once you have created a brand, be consistent in how you present the brand in all your internal and external communications, including advertising, on social media, and in all employee-customer interactions.

  • Create brand identity guidelines and branded communications templates.
  • Train employees to understand your value proposition and core messages, and consistently adhere to your brand standards.
  • Incorporate brand elements everywhere it makes sense
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