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Branding is beyond getting a quick-fix logo or getting your business cards done. Branding is anything you do to make your brand stand out. At the end of this article, you’ll be able to:
- Define Branding
- Know The Rules of Branding
- Understand Branding Strategies
- Take practical steps to build a better brand.
What is branding?
In a nutshell, it is the practice of creating an impression. Whatever impression you leave on the minds of people or your customers will determine the opinion they are going to have about your business. It forms an expectation in them. Branding is done intentionally or unintentionally.
When you create a standard practice, designs and workflow that reflects your core values and vision, you are intentionally building a brand. This means that you are deliberate about what people should see and say about your business. It is usually “make-believe” and it is very important! When you are able to have some sort of control over people’s opinion about your business, you’ve successfully built an irresistible brand.
Being proactive will help you at those times you nearly act without thinking. There are times we are caught off-guard, times we have to compromise a long-standing practice and do what we never prepared to do. Whatever this is, it will still leave an impression in the minds of your customers or clients.
The way you treat an erring staff in the presence of a client or customer can mean a lot to that client, it can form either a positive or negative perception about your person. And of course, when people know the lead person behind a brand, his or her actions will always have an impact on the brand.
Anything you do unintentionally in the name of your business or for the purpose of same will form an image in the minds of your customers.
In branding, you need to view your business using the eyes of a customer and know if people really have the right perception about you.
Do you keep to your words? Are you prompt in delivery? Do you leave a mark of excellence on your services that makes you stand out? Does your approach to customers or your contents have customers retention ability? If you are your customers, would you love to patronise you?
As you carefully consider what colour represents your business, what icon fits as your logo and what slogan summaries your brand values and mission, also ensure that when people come in contact with your business, they have a rub-off of your values.
Let’s Get Practical
- Create a customer email or contact list, this will help you a lot not just to send periodic updates on your new products, offers and services, it will also help you keep in touch with customers and clients when seeking their opinions.
- Create a questionnaire that will serve as customers survey. These questionnaires may contain questions like:
- How do you rate our quality of service?
- How do you rate our customer service?
- Are you satisfied with our delivery speed?
- What colour reminds you of our brand?
There can be even more in-depth questions depending on what you do and offer. You can create these using Google Forms, a form integrated on your website and so on.
- Reach out to your customers with this questionnaires. Getting customers to fill your questionnaires may not be very easy because some don’t read their emails expect they are expecting one. To make this happen, you may need to offer an incentive for anyone who successfully completes your survey. They may stand the chance of getting a premium service for free or at a discounted rate or you may offer them a gift card. Just do what you can do to get the fill your survey. In some cases, if you don’t have a very large customer base, you may also have your customer service call them on phone, offer them an incentive and get these surveys from them.
- Get your team on board, deliberate on your findings and begin to implement changes where necessary.
If you do these four things, you have successfully revived your customer’s trust and you have proven to them that you truly want to get better and you must not relent!
You aren’t building a brand for you, you are building it for your customers as they are the reason your business exists. Doing what you love is great but in business, it isn’t really about what you love but about the problems you solve.
Not every single opinion of your customers will count but it gives you a good picture of what they expect from you and how you can meet up with these expectations.
Let’s See An Example
Edith runs a small business that deals only on fried chicken. She has a form where her customers voluntarily fill their contact and she was able to successfully built a contact list. After a while, she noticed that she was mostly serving new customers and none usually returns and she decided to launch a survey with a reward of 5% discount for anyone who completes the survey within the time frame.
The feedbacks were successful and she took the time to study it. 95% rated the chicken taste five stars but she noticed about 83% of her customers wasn’t satisfied that she only sells chicken. Most wrote that they prefer to buy their meats, drinks and food on the same spot. While it wasn’t in her initial plan, she decides to add varieties of rice, pasta and soft drinks to her products.
About 42% per cent affirmed they don’t usually buy because they are busy and would prefer a home or office delivery option. Although this isn’t the opinion of the majority, it’s still an opportunity to expand her reach.
To solve this, Edith launches a social media page where she posts the catalogue of her products and their prices, she runs a targeted ad within the same location. This way, she was able to regain the loyalty of her customers and also improve her business tremendously.
Now you see, her business expanded and got better simply because she is building a brand that resonates well with what people want without compromising her core values.
RULES OF BRANDING
- Have a message.
You don’t just wake up with an idea and run off with it. Ask yourself, why this idea? What problem is it going to solve? Craft a message with regards to this. This message is your promise and what you intend giving out to your customers. Your message will form a client’s expectation.
- Design your message.
Make your message catchy or memorable by designs. This includes your logo, flyers and advertisement materials. Colours, for example, increases brand recognition by 80%. Let your colour choices and icon choices be able to reflect your message, i.e your promises. When creating designs, be sure that it is something your customers can clearly understand and not necessarily what you love.
This is why it is important to hire good brand agencies and trust them with your brand. One mistake people usually make is that they only want it the way they love it and not the way it should be. You must learn to trust the judgement of experts in the areas where they are the authority.
Because you love pink doesn’t mean pink colour should be associated with your orange juice press. The elements in your designs must appeal to the brain and be able to communicate your brand.
- Communicate your brand.
Now, you have a message, you have designed your message, it is time to communicate it. In communicating your brand, choose the appropriate platforms and dish out messages that is relevant to that platform.
For example, if you run a food store, you may not necessarily need a Linkden account to showcase your catalouges, you may need it for your personal profile as a career person but not for your brand. Understand the strength of each social media platforms and use it accordingly.
If you must have a YouTube account, be ready to always develop quality video contents that has everything to do with your brand. If you have an Instagram account, be ready to create quality photo contents of your products.
Understand who your targets are, understand where you can find them and focus on them because they are the ones who need your message. Understanding your audience, their behaviours and interests will help you in targeting your ads and getting good conversions.
- Be consistent.
Don’t offer what you don’t have. Always have what you offer! Do what you say you do. Be consistent with what you do and also let all your designs and promotional materials have this consistency.
When you make videos, let people be able to identify your products easily in it, when you make a flyer, it should be consistent with the rest of your designs. Your colours has to be consistent and your message has to be consistent even as much as you have to be consistent in what you do. If your brand has online and onsite store, let the interaction, customer tone, languages and feelings be the same.
- Understand your customers.
Customers behaviours are changing. The customer of yesterday is not the same as the customer of today. Enveloped Letters used to be the deal, then mail and SMS, then BBM, then Whatsapp, Telegram and other social media chats!
You must keep learning your customers so that you can be able to follow up with their changes and still meet up. Your business is for your customers not for you. If you can’t understand your customers or follow up with behavioural changes, you definitely will be kicked out of business by competitors.
Symbian phones used to be the big deal, windows phone, blackberry and apple came on board too. When Android emerged, it was more favourable with customers alongside apple devices. Windows, BlackBerry and Symbian makers weren’t able to follow the behavioural changes and they were kicked out of business. You must understand your customers’ preference and if you must compromise to meet up with it, you have to except you want to stop business.
In a nutshell, to build a successful brand, you must ensure your message isn’t complex, let is be able to capture people’s attention at first sight and you must ensure that you keep to your words. This way, you are consciously building an irresistible brand.
Hope you got value? Let’s get your feedback on the comment section.
Onyedikachukwu George Nnadozie is the creative director of Funtrick Technology, an author and a public speaker. Aside from his creative job at Funtrick Technology, he takes time to write on his personal blog, George’s Diary.