Ever heard of Coca Cola? Apple? John Deere? Products may come and go, but brands such as these outlive products, as long as they convey consistent quality, credibility, and positive experiences for consumers. People don’t have relationships with products, but they are loyal to certain brands.
The American Marketing Association defines a brand as a “name, term, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of them intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of other sellers.” Therefore, branding is not just about getting your target market to choose you over the competition; it is about leading your prospects to see your brand as the only one that can meet their needs. A good brand:
- Delivers your message clearly
- Confirms your credibility
- Connects with your target prospects emotionally
- Motivates prospects to become buyers
- Inspires user loyalty
Without differentiation from your competitors, you’re not likely to achieve long-term profitability. In today’s challenging economic conditions, it’s worth noting that strong brands do better in tough times compared to unbranded products.
Branding is especially important for small businesses that lack the promotional resources of their bigger competitors. When a product has a unique name, appearance, and image, shoppers can find it easier in the crowded marketplace. A strong brand identity can also affect consumer behavior by building emotional connections and reinforcing buying habits. For instance, Hallmark doesn’t just sell greeting cards; its brand image conveys family love and togetherness.
To successfully brand your business, you must understand the needs and wants of your customers and prospects. Your brand resides within their hearts and minds. It is the sum total of their experiences and perceptions, some of which you can influence and some that you can’t.
What does your brand say about your business? About your culture and values? Does it differentiate you from your competitors? It’s important to invest in researching, defining, and building your brand. After all, your brand is a fundamental part of your marketing and communications. If you’re at a loss on how to build a brand, it’s best to hire a marketing expert, such as BoydTech Design (www.boydtechdesign.com), which has designed effective brand strategies and built positive brand images for dozens of customers.
The next step is to hire a marketing-savvy professional writer to convincingly convey your values, culture, and differentiators through persuasively written marketing and business communications. BoydTech Design has partnered with Southern Strategic Writing (www.southernstrategicwriting.com), which offers influential yet credible communications.
Once your branding strategy is implemented and your brand built, then you must live up to, maintain, and protect your brand image. (Can you say, “Enron”?) An effective brand is integrated throughout your company at every point of public contact. It’s about your actions, not just your words. Building and maintaining credibility is key to a successful, long-term brand. And long-term success is vital to your business’s profitability.