Romanians need to be proud about how fast the progress has been made on branding. In just a few years from a stand still start, I feel a lot has been achieved. However one thing is for sure, in general the country and its beauty, the people, skills, technology uptake are way under marketed compared to the rest of Europe.
A brand is much more than just the visuals such as logo, website, tagline. It is how people, including your employees and potential customers, perceive you. A brand is your customer service, your strategy, your means of communication and sharing your story.
Your brand is the experience customers have when doing business with you and your company, it’s based on the public perception; branding is how you form and shape those perceptions.
Before you begin your marketing efforts – you need to be clear on what is that unique message you will communicate to help people identify with your product/service. This will be your Branding Strategy. Put on your thinking hat and figure out what message you will convey when you launch your venture.
If I asked you to name a luxury car, you should have an answer for me within 5 seconds. That is successful branding ( on their part!) You should be able to have such a clear vision and identity of your brand that you can write a list of descriptive adjectives commonly used to describe a personality , as well as visualize what celebrity would be your ideal spokesperson. One of my favourite branding exercises is to imagine your company as a person, what they look like, how they are dressed, book smart or street smart , young or old etc ( as many details as you can think of) .
A brand is a blend of both tangible and intangible components.
Tangible components refer to the logo, tagline, website and promotions while intangible components mean the emotions associated with your brand. You need to work on both.
Intangible components are manifested through the brand personality and story. Both create impressions in the consumers’ mind – the value of this impression is what customers pay when they buy your product. Your brand is the perception that lives in the mind of the people.
Begin by creating a clear identity of what your brand stands for, that you should be applying to all your products, even if the products are vastly different. First impressions are essential. You wouldn’t wear an old torn t-shirt to a business meeting ,would you? So don’t allow your brand to give the same impression. Even if you are the best in your industry that doesn’t mean your potential customers will see/notice that by simply looking at you.
I have devised a 4-Pronged Approach to get across your core brand message as ACE = Accurate, Compelling and Exclusive. By incorporating all of them into your marketing efforts you will increase the bottom-line results by 4 times.
1. Associations: Build relationships with your customers. It is like what badge your brand wears. Affirm your brand position by connecting with community to become conspicuous.
2. Testimonials: Get a loyal customer or celebrity to speak about their experience with the brand. It is like word of mouth marketing. This is emerging as a powerful social media marketing tool to build trust with the customers.
3. Achievements: Brand your triumphs – be it winning a local business award, appreciation by a bigwig or an employee’s contribution. Don’t be shy to blow your own trumpet.
4. Wow Experience: Your brand will get ingrained in the minds of the customers if they have a positive personal experience. Move beyond customer satisfaction to customer delight. Being a small business, you have the flexibility and are not bound by too many rules. So take advantage of that to add a personal touch to every interaction with the customers.
“Authentic brands don’t emerge from marketing cubicles or advertising agencies. They emanate from everything the company does…” – Howard Schultz
Learn how to Increase your Brand’s Sphere of Influence by signing up to my blog www.MruPatel.com and receiving your free eBook version of my latest book, fast track your business to success! We are going to answer these and many more key questions related to branding. By the end of it you will have a perfect idea of how to brand your way to success.
By Mru Patel, guest writer