Branding is one of the most important factors for any business, and for a small business or start-up, its crucial. A brand strategy not only defines your business, but it also gives you a major edge in increasingly competitive markets. But what exactly does “branding” mean?
Simply put, your brand is your promise to your customer. It’s the benchmark that tells people what they should expect from you. Is it being the innovation maverick in your industry? Or being a creative source of information? Or are you the experienced, reliable one? Is your product the high-cost, high-quality option, or the low-cost, high-value option? You certainly can’t be both; you cannot target the “entire” market because of your fear to be niched. In the real world, you don’t have infinite resources, or a perfect product to sell, and you don’t sell to a growing market without competition. You are also not omnipotent, so cannot control what people think of your brand. Therefore, considering all these assumptions here are a few steps that would get you started with your branding.
1. Defining your Brand
Defining your brand is like a journey of self-discovery. It can be difficult, time-consuming and uncomfortable but at the end it makes perfect sense. Our advice to help you is to establish your brand on positive conditions like “making meaning”, “doing good”, “changing the world”, and “making people happy” – not destroying your competition or running after the riches. To start with, first answer some simple questions like, what is your company’s mission? Who are your ideal customers and what qualities do you want them to associate with your company?
Do your research, learn the needs, habits and trends of the current market and once you’ve defined your brand, go ahead and get the word out.
2. Create a logo and a message
The foundation of your brand is your logo. Get a logo and place it everywhere!
Check the 2015-logo design trends and pick one for your business.
Your website, packaging and all your promotional materials should have it along with a message that defines and positions your brand in front of the world. Be it “2-minute noodles” showing the ease of preparing it or “Karlo duniya muthi mein” showing the strength, your message should be small yet compelling.
3. integrate your Brand
Branding extends to every aspect of your business, how you answer your phones, how your website looks, how your emails are designed, in fact how your work culture is in your company. Therefore, it is very important that all of this stays in a coherent trend. So are you a fun and cool company which is playful, or a serious and sophisticated company, which is professional. Whatever your motto be, make it clear and coherent on all your platforms, and to start with, first pick a color palette for your company that goes everywhere, from your website to your letterhead, to your sales executive clothes at your next PR event. Check some of the successful color combinations and pick one for your needs.
4. Create a “voice” for your company and speak “English”:
Is your brand friendly? Be conversational. Is it ritzy? Be formal. The view you choose should be applied to all your communication material and also your visual imagery.
And by speak “English” we mean speak in non-jargonese language. If you are positioning yourself to the general masses, it is very important to talk in a language that they understand. Not to be ageist, if your business is a technology-based, a good test is to ask your parents if they understand your message – assuming your parents aren’t computer science professors.
5. Be true to your brand and focus on social media:
As we stated in the beginning, branding is your promise to your customers and nobody absolutely nobody likes someone who doesn’t stand up to their promises. Therefore, if you do not deliver, your business will perish soon. So stay in touch with your customers and keep improving your relations.
And what can be a better way to do that than social media. While large companies spend lakhs and crores of rupees trying to establish brands with advertising, brands are actually built on what people are saying about you, not what you are saying about yourself.
6. Be consistent and strive for humanness:
We have placed this point last only because it involves all of the above and is the most important. Branding is a continuous process and therefore, you have to be consistent and keep on working on your branding. By effective branding, you achieve a high level of humanness. It’s when people start accepting your brand into their lives, and they use statements like “my Macintosh,” “my Harley Davidson”. Strive for such humanness.
Now step back and ask yourself the thousand-dollar question: “ If we don’t spend a buck on marketing, will people understand your branding?” This is the real world of marketing, where you do not have a big marketing budget, and therefore, the people shape the brand for you.
In spite of all the homework, Why so many companies get branding wrong?