Branding can be a powerful tool in developing a successful business. Used correctly, a brand can increase your recognition value and successfully differentiate you from your competitors. The good news is that building a successful brand is a relatively simple process.
A brand is the image that forms in people’s minds when they hear your name. Most importantly, it consists of the words used to describe this image. For example when I say Rolls-Royces, words like “expensive”, “luxury” and “upper class” probably come to mind. Vice versa, Honda reminiscent of another phrase like “affordable” and “family oriented”. Both cars enjoy a good reputation and basically fulfill the same function. But they have very different images. What people see when they hear Rolls Royce is very different from what they see when they hear Honda and that’s important when it comes to brand development.
Branding is the process of creating your desired image and taking proactive steps to nurture that image. There are two important considerations in brand development. First, if you’re not actively working on developing and packaging your brand, you don’t have a brand. In other words, branding is a proactive process. Second, the brand development process is sustainable. You’re never done building your brand. Facilitating the brand development process involves three steps:
1. Clarify your brand benefits. The brand development process has four main benefits. First, branding helps you convey your value proposition, which is what your customers are able to do thanks to you. Second, it clarifies your market niche, which is the customer segment you want to serve. Third, it increases your business recognition among potential customers. Finally, branding increases the prices you can charge, because effective branding is all about positioning yourself as an expert and a leader in a specific niche market.
2. Answer the four key questions for your business. The brand development process begins with your answers to the following questions:
– Who do I serve (who are my customers, who are the people I want as customers)?
– What value do I offer (what can my customers do through me = your value proposition)?
– How do I help my customers to achieve this value (how do I fulfill my value proposition)?
– How does this differ from my competitors (what is my competitive advantage)?
3. Develop a brand package. Once you are clear about the benefits you can get from branding and have effectively answered the four key questions for your business, you can develop your branding package, which consists of the tools and resources you use to communicate your brand . This includes yours image pack (company name, slogan and logo), elevator presentation (a 20-second statement about you, your business and the benefits of your products and services), stationary, business cards, brochures, website, to blog, publications (e.g. books, newsletters, brochures and articles), social media and presentations (e.g. seminars, webinars and training programs). I’ll discuss how to use these tools to create an effective branding package in an upcoming article.