“Dress the way you want to be addressed” is a pervasive gospel in the business world today. It is not uncommon to see businessmen splurging on fancy shoes, suits, and wristwatches all in the name of looking good. In fact, self-acclaimed, street-bred market analysts posit that the difference between plantain chips and ipkekere is just branding.
Is this a ploy to get people to invest more in their business? Is there a way around it? Are there veritable examples of branding in action? And can it work for your business? Let’s find out.
What is Branding?
While we may be swayed by the aesthetics and charm of a better-looking service provider, branding transcends good looks. In essence, your brand is the way your customer sees you; not just physically, but in terms of the content of your delivery. Branding informs your clients about what to expect from your products and services. It encompasses your client’s experience and perception of you.
Marketers understand that branding is an art which is defined by science. If you get it right, the impact is astronomical. However, if you fail at first, you just have to pick yourself up and try again.
How do you know that your branding is paying off? Let’s consider some of the biggest brands we know. Apple, Nike, Adidas, Hublot, Google, etc. the list is endless. These companies are engrained in the fabric of life itself and there’s no sign of an impending paradigm shift.
Impact of Branding on Consumer Behavior
Nowadays, when you consider the plethora of businesses peddling the same service you offer, you will realize the need to stand out. Putting yourself in the consumer’s shoes, it is easy to see the dilemma facing people all over the world. Prospective clients actually want to patronize you, but they need a reason to.
Branding helps you bridge the gap between what your customers know about your company and what they ought to know. This is, perhaps, why Elon Musk- while Tesla was in its early stage, was very particular about press releases and dispelling rumours about the company. If you fail to make a good impression, the market will not fail to punish you.
The Effect of Branding on Employees
Branding does not just engender loyal customers, it creates a sense of belonging among employees. Several notable CEOs like Peter Thiel and Jeff Bezos revealed that they were able to foster camaraderie among their staffs by creating a brand- an aura around their company.
Apart from ensuring productivity and efficiency, having an established brand will give employees clarity and focus needed to innovate and deliver infallible customer service. Providing bespoke solutions to clients can now be done seamlessly and without stress.
Things to Consider When Branding Your Company
1. Identify Your Target Audience
There’s no such thing as, “We hope to capture 10% of the total market population.” This is a recipe for disaster. If you are unable to clearly define your intended audience, you cannot empathize with them and this will make it difficult to provide tailored services. Ultimately, it becomes impossible to have a clear brand purpose and this will both confuse your customers and affect your sales.
2. Create an Identity
If your brand was a person with a face, how would she be? What are the features you want her to have? How will the general public see her? These questions are fundamental to helping you create an identity as a brand.
3. Discover Your Competitive Advantage
If you try to imitate any existing brand, the best you can be is the second-best to whoever you’re cloning. However, when you look inwards and endeavour to stand out, the benefits are unimaginable. So, when you set out to brand your business, don’t forget to seek out what makes you different.
4. Set Goals and Plan towards Surpassing Your Aims
When you fail to plan, you are unwittingly planning to fail. The ripple effect becomes even more pronounced when you’re dealing with branding. With no focus or well-defined objectives, you just keep going in circles.
5. Stay Amenable
There’s no assurance that you will get it right at first. Many prominent companies didn’t too. Apple failed miserably in their first year of launching the PC, Google didn’t hit their stride immediately, and Amazon struggled too. However, these companies are where they are now because they allowed for flexibility while building their brand.
6. The Aura of Communication
How is your announcement received by the press? How is important information spread? How do you dispel rumours? How is it that customers are able to understand your brand for what it is. In essence, you’re giving off a vibe whenever your prospective clients hear or see you. How they receive you will ultimately impact sales and positive recommendation.
7. Consider Your Appearance
While we spoke about how businessmen wore shiny suits and Rolex wristwatches, we didn’t study the aftermath of their actions. Guys, it worked! In fact, it probably still works on you today. It’s not a must to put on pricey suits or fancy office spaces, it might be a well-designed business card, your professional, yet attractive letterhead, or even the logo design. These things work.
8. Be Unique
We have studied Amazon, Apple, Google, etc. however, if you go ahead and try to be like these guys, you’ll fail miserably. Imagine the disaster if Google tried to be like Yahoo, or if Apple tried to be like Blackberry… You get the picture, right? That’s exactly what not being unique is like. Dare to stand out.
Now that you’re in on the amazing benefits of having a reliable brand, the challenge is how you can consciously apply these steps to building your brand. If you’re seeking a seamless way to aptly table your ideas and get the brand of your dreams, you can get started here.