How does a brand become successful? It’s a question that has many answers, and different businesses have used very different methods in building a successful brand. In saying that, there are some basic philosophies that underpin most branding techniques.
To get your branding right, you need to start at the beginning, and go back to your company’s basic strategic objectives. What is your company’s purpose? What is its mission statement?
Ultimately, branding is about making sure customers know what your company stands for. You must differentiate yourself from the competition, and be consistent in your message. So how can you achieve this? Here are some tips:
Study the competition
If you want to get ahead of the competition, you need to pay close attention to them. What are their marketing strategies? Why are they succeeding or failing? How do customers perceive the competition? The more you know about your competition, the more you can identify ways to differentiate yourself.
Market research is about understanding your customers. It’s an investment that almost all companies should make. What does your typical customer look like? How many similar products are there on the market? What do customers expect? Are customers’ needs changing? These questions and many more should be asked and answered, so you can get a better idea of how to maximise your business.
Why use promotional products? Use them because you can expose your business to a high volume of people, for a relatively low cost. Button badges can be very effective, because they have a low unit cost, and look great. Eye-catching button badges with your company’s name and/or logo printed on them can play a role in the overall branding of your business. Because of their affordability, it’s a common sense way to get your company message out there. Other promotional products can include diaries, bags, stubby holders, key rings, pens and many other practical items.
Consistency is key when it comes to branding
Decide on your core business message, whether you want a logo, or even signature colours, and choose a font and style for your business name. Whatever you choose, make sure your branding and message then remains consistent across all your marketing and advertising activities, from button badges, to letterhead, your website and social media accounts.
Walk the talk
It’s all well and good to position your company as consistently reliable or dedicated to customer service, but it takes one production error or one surly customer service officer to damage a customer’s perception of the company.
That’s why the values of the company need to come from the top, and filter down to all levels of the business. That culture of excellence needs to be instilled in all employees, and there needs to be motivation for employees to take a vested interest in the company’s success.
Successful companies don’t spend big money on advertising for nothing. It works. Even if you are a small business with a small budget, there are effective, affordable and innovative ways to advertise. We’ve already talked about promotional products, such as button badges.
You can also think about sponsoring local organisations, or community events. There’s nothing like a goodwill gesture to improve your image and get your brand visibility. Be active in the business community. Get on a committee, or attend industry events. Send out newsletters, launch an email campaign, and generally get noticed.
But above all, keep your customers satisfied. This remains the best form of branding. Meeting customer expectations should be a minimum requirement. Exceeding them should be something you should strive for. There are not many things more important in business than customer service. It can be your path to success, or your downfall.