Marketing Focus – Building a Brand
What is a brand?
Branding is a way of highlighting what makes your product or service more attractive than your competitors. A brand starts with your name, logo, colours and brand values but goes much deeper, and is based on a set of associations that people have of your company or product.
These associations are usually positive, and the right advertising, marketing, and promotional mix should see to that. However people can also have negative associations of your company or service. Take Coca-Cola for example, most people have positive associations of this product and they spend a fortune on developing this brand, they may see it as high quality cola, a worldwide and trusted name, refreshing, happy, youthful and energetic. Negative associations could be that they see the drink as being unhealthy for instance, but as a brand these can be turned into a positive, like having Diet Coke as an alternative. Successful branding should represent the company’s true values, and promote its strengths, leading to more positive associations and building its brand value. Building a good brand is what will make you first choice for your customers and allow them to associate with what you do and why.
Why does your business need a brand?
- To help you stand out from the crowd
- Increase the value of your products/services
- To help you engage with your customers and create a connection
- Encourage repeat customers and customer loyalty
- Enhances the chance of longevity and expansion
How does a brand add value?
Research shows that customers expect to pay more for a branded product than an unbranded one. When shopping in a supermarket, you would expect to pay less for the shop’s own products than the brands you would recognise. If your brand is promoting your strengths, customers will associate your products with something they like and trust. This means if you did ever want to add new products or services to your range, a customer’s perception of them will be enhanced by your existing brand. By using the right packaging, and doing the right marketing, customers may see your product as more premium, and expect to pay more for it, all of which positions the product or service in the market place. However, with a strong brand comes responsibility – the customer will trust the brand, so you must be able to live up to the impression you have created in people’s minds.
Key Factors to building a successful brand
- Quality and consistency – Consistent high quality is vital to building a good brand. Research confirms that higher quality brands achieve higher market share and profitability than their inferior competitors.
- Positioning – this is where in the market your customers view your product. Successful positioning can be achieved through several means such as brand name, image, product standards, guarantees, packaging, and the way it’s delivered.
- Repositioning – This is when a brand tries to change its market position. It can occur when a brand has become tired or perhaps its original market has gone into decline. Take certain pop stars for example, entertainers like Madonna have repositioned themselves over the years to have longevity and appeal to more people. Beware of doing this regularly however, as it will confuse your customers. Any changes to your brand should be strategic, well promoted and clear to make sure your brand does not lose value in the process.
- Communications – a key factor to building a good brand. All elements of the promotional mix need to be used to develop and sustain customer’s perceptions. Communicating your brand’s personality effectively is essential to building awareness and reinforcing the strengths of your company.
- Long term perspective – When building your brand, it’s important to invest in the brand over long term. It will take time to build awareness, gain trust and loyal customers so don’t expect immediate results from your efforts. Remain true to the brand identity at all times and it will generate results.
- Internal Marketing – Marketing your products/services internally to your staff is very important, particularly in the service industry. The whole business should understand the brand values and positioning as it is your staff that are the embodiment of your brand and help you secure loyalty. It is likely that your favourite brands will have invested in internal marketing such as staff training to make sure the company’s strengths are highlighted consistently.
Budgeting for a brand
When building a brand, it’s something which needs investment and planning. Your brand image should reflect in all areas of your business from stationery, to the delivery of your product or service, so allocating enough funds and establishing the brand right from the beginning is important. Here are a few key areas you should allocate a budget for;
- Design – Logos, marketing materials, packaging and stationery
- Marketing, internally and externally
- Company website
- Branding premises, vehicles and staff uniforms if required
Not everything needs to be done at once, so it’s good to prioritise. When creating stationery, logos, packaging and advertising, remember it can be very costly to change it again later, so don’t rush into decisions, and keep the future in mind. As long as your staff understands and delivers consistently what your brand promises, it stands a good chance of success.
How we can help?
Shaw Marketing Services has been working with companies to develop positive and strong brands since 2008 and we can help you too. We can produce your logo, help define your brand identity and values, advise on strategy in terms of your positioning in the marketplace and of course plan and implement an effective marketing strategy to reach your target market. We offer a free thirty minute online brainstorming session for companies looking for a little inspiration, to book your brainstorm please get in touch.