Importance of Branding
Businesses can use many different types of branding strategies to build their brands. Unfortunately, many of them go about their strategies all wrong. Before you build your brand, you need a clear image of how you want your customers to perceive your business. Focusing on the wrong marketing strategies can lead to confusion as to what your business is and what it is trying to accomplish.
There are many different images you can create for your company. Before committing to a brand image, you want to make sure you are investing in a brand image that will lead to a successful business model. Some possible ideas for a brand for your business include:
Affordable products or services. Many businesses offer products at rates customers can’t afford or don’t want to pay. Companies like Wal-Mart have taken advantage of this by offering their products at prices far below that of their competition. You can generate a lot more revenue by convincing your customers your products are available at the best price. Obviously, you need to back up this promise by offering low prices.
Quality of products and services. You can also build your brand on the basis of quality. Customers want to buy products and services that give them the quality they are looking for. They are often willing to pay substantially more for quality. This is something businesses should take into consideration when they build their branding strategy.
Character qualities. Although price and quality are important, customers also want to work with businesses that demonstrate good morales and a strong work ethic. They want to do business with people who are honest, forthright and dependable. You can present these messages in your marketing campaign and literature, but ultimately your reputation depends on your relationship with your customers.
Social responsibility. Customers are becoming more concerned with many issues that affect the overall social environment. They are concerned with animal rights, the environment, fighting poverty and overcoming social injustices around the world. Many businesses such as Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream have built successful business models around the idea of social responsibility.
Ultimately, every business will end up having a brand. The issue is whether they choose to have any control over what that brand is. It makes more sense to decide on a brand ahead of time and work hard to build it. Businesses need direction and they need to demonstrate it to their customers.
How Do Businesses Build Brands?
Everything a business does contributes to its brand in some way or another. Business owners should take these factors into consideration and shape them in a way to improve their brand and provide the right message to their customers. Some ways they can influence their brand include:
Developing a good pricing model. Pricing strongly affects the way customers perceive a business. Many businesses believe that it is always a good idea to charge a lower price than their competitors. The problem with this line of reasoning is that customers often associate lower prices with lower quality. Businesses need to base their pricing model off of their branding strategy, rather than trying to charge less.
Offering a unique feature to their product. When a business offers an extra incentive to their product or service, they are telling their customers they are willing to go the extra mile. They also give customers another reason to buy their product over the competitor. This is a great way to build a reputation for quality.
Providing timely, reliable service. Customers want to know their expectations will be met when they purchase a product or service. They want the delivery to be on time and not have any complications. Businesses that go out of their way to develop an efficient quality control program are going to build a strong reputation with their customers.
Giving back to the community. Businesses that give back to the community are going to develop more trust with their customers. They can give to local charities, donate services or send some of their products overseas to help underprivileged citizens in third world countries.
Marketing efforts. Your marketing strategies should support your brand. You should market your services consistently to make sure you don’t give your customers mixed messages about your company.
Strategies Are Crucial
There are many different types of branding strategies. Ultimately, a business cannot survive without a strong brand image. Customers want to see that the business operates consistently and offers something that will benefit them. Whether you offer products at more affordable prices or offer services that go above and beyond those of your competitors, you will develop a brand image that will help your business succeed.
Remember, your brand is influenced by everything you do. Prioritize developing your brand using key marketing strategies and consistent business practices.
- The Blake Project (2009) “10 Branding and Marketing Trends for 2010” retrieved at http://www.brandingstrategyinsider.com/2009/10/10-branding-and-marketing-trends-for-2010.html
- Image Credit: Brand by Loop_oh/Flickr under 2.0 Generic License