A brand consists of what people think of when they hear a company name such as a phrase, logo, design or product feature. The worldwide company McDonald’s has many recognizable brand components: golden arches, the “I’m lovin’ it” jingle, the red and yellow color combination, the Big Mac and happy meal. McDonald’s has the power to control these brand associations by continuing to build their brand.
How Do You Build a Brand?
Branding begins with differentiating your organization’s products or services, but it’s more than that. Branding points out your unique strengths and offerings – what you can do for them that no other organization can do. As a business owner, you know that your clients have many different companies to choose from. What makes your business better? Discover that and use it to your advantage.
Building a strong brand starts with identifying your organization’s distinctive niche. Possibilities include outstanding service, speed, quality, or environmental or social responsibility.
You can think of your brand as your company’s “personality” that helps it interact and form relationships with clients. Many experts talk about the bonding process that goes on between a successful brand and consumers. You want to get inside their hearts and minds, and gain their trust.
Once you have chosen a direction for your brand, the next step is to implement it across all aspects of your advertising and marketing plan. In other words, you need to get the word out. Speak with a simple yet strong message by utilizing the following tools:
- Marketing materials – Your brand needs to be reflected in your company logo, brochure, website, newsletter and other marketing materials.
- Social media – In addition to your website, your organization should have an online presence with social media. There are many creative options to interact with your followers by sharing videos, pictures, news and events.
- Advertising – Let consumers know the strong attributes your company offers and focus on price minimally, if at all. Remember, you’re not trying to “sell” yourself to potential clients; you’re after their hearts.
- Public relations – Tell your stories of events, fundraisers, company initiatives, awards and other news via press releases. If you are the only business in the county to offer a service, media outlets will want to hear about it. Grab all the free publicity you can by regularly updating the press about the goings-on in your organization.
With a blog on your organization’s website, you can target current and prospective clients by providing them with useful information, insights and even answers to their questions. Those who read your blog will see you as an expert in your field and will relate to you on a human level, building the trust that is so crucial in successful branding.
Your brand-building blog should feature:
- Short posts in a conversational style, not press releases. Talk about topics that are meaningful to your brand and important to your clients.
- Comments from your customers. Give your readers ample opportunities to give their opinions or ask you questions by keeping the comment section turned on.
- Update information regularly, so those who read your blog will have a reason to come back often. Don’t forget to share blogs on social media sites for more exposure.
Live Up to Brand Promises
Branding is vital for success but it can only take your company so far. You have to live up to the promises, implied or actual, that your brand stands for. If you fail to deliver, you will lose clients, no matter how effective your company’s branding.
Make your brand strong and true, and audiences will be able to pick you out of the plethora of options.