Your brand is the single most important asset that you must establish in building your business. It is a promise to your audience and the very thing that sets you apart from your competitors; consider it the breath that will give your business life. How well you adhere to it will ultimately determine your company’s future.
Now granted, there are thousands of products introduced every year that successfully establish brand awareness, but don’t confuse the false promise of initial awareness with that of long-term consumer loyalty. The latter actually comes from satisfying your audience’s expectations over an extended period of time.
Here’s a list of necessary assets that will help strengthen your business’ brand position in the minds of your target consumer:
1. You have established a promise to customer service that you can deliver on.
2. You understand the current needs of your consumers.
3. You can recognize the future demands of your consumers.
4. You have proven yourself loyal.
Having a targeted consumer group choose your business over the competition is obviously important, especially when it comes to the bottom line. What’s more important, though, is to have your brand work for you in establishing your business as the only one that can provide a particular service or product because from that, your business will develop a loyal following of repeat customers.
The following is a list of key points to keep in mind when developing a brand that will bring customers back time and again:
1. Deliver a clear and concise message.
2. Connect on an emotional level.
3. Motivate consumer spending.
4. Solidify loyalty.
5. Establish a relationship.
The goal, ultimately, is to firmly establish your company’s brand in your targeted consumer’s subconscious. This is achieved by the frequency with which they are exposed to your business’ brand. It is here where initial awareness alone vs. the strength of a brand strategy begins to separate themselves from one another.
Sowing the Seeds of a Sound Strategy
At a time when capturing the attention of the consumer is becoming increasingly difficult due to market fragmentation, it is important to also remember that today’s consumer is smarter and better connected than ever before when it comes to seeking out information on a product or service. And the one thing that can trump any Better Business Bureau report or review out there is if your brand – your promise – is in sound agreement with the infrastructure of your business’ overall marketing strategy. If the two are working in perfect harmony with one another, then it’ll really speak volumes about your business. A strong branding strategy is something you can’t afford to be without.
Unfortunately, many clients have certain misconceptions concerning brand development. To begin with the biggest misconception out there is that a logo, or corporate identity, can be a business’ entire brand. This couldn’t be further from the truth. While a logo does play an integral part in the development of an overall brand initiative, it is not a business’ entire brand. It’s like judging an entire sports team on the play of one player – such short sightedness will only get a business so far.
Another misconception is that businesses out there would rather spend more time on the development of their particular product and/or service rather than get caught up in developing a brand strategy. Yes, a well-developed product or services is essential to the growth of the company, but it’s actually generating product movement through brand awareness that a business will establish deep roots and really flourish over the years. Without a proper brand strategy, you’re essentially sitting in the driveway revving the engine of your brand new Corvette as it sits in neutral – yes, it’s shiny, new, and likely runs great, but you’re not going anywhere any time soon if you don’t know what to do with it once you’re behind the wheel.
Remember, you are in this for the long haul, so although immediate product awareness may sound promising, it falls short when considering the power of an approach that encompasses emotion, observance, familiarity, service and loyalty.
“An image is not simply a trademark, a design, a slogan or an easily remembered picture. It is a studiously crafted personality profile of an individual, institution, corporation, product or service.”
– Daniel J. Boorstin