A truly excellent brand is one of the most powerful ways a business can differentiate itself from the competition in terms of business, products or services. Not only will a strong brand grab the attention of consumers, but it will also allow your business to charge more than your competitors, build consumer loyalty, increase revenues and improve the competitiveness of products in the marketplace. Simply put, a brand is the promise of a particular experience created by the sum of several elements, including the logo, slogan, brand personality, promise, message and visual elements. For example, if you own a boutique you will need a good boutique name. Check out Technasite for some good examples of good boutique name ideas.
Here’s what you need to know when building a brand for your business.
A brand should reflect your core values
Everything you do or everyone who works with you reflects the brand. If you solve problems easily, save money, listen to your customers, and so on, it will all translate in their minds as what your business entails. First of all, you need to learn what competitors do differently to ensure consistency in all means of communication with the outside world. This includes speech, text, the look and feel of websites, fact sheets, logos, and how to make them look and feel different. It’s a problem and it can be complicated, but it doesn’t cost much and it’s basically how you create your brand.
If you want your business to mean/represent something, but instead, you receive conflicting feedback from the outside world, you get what is called “brand dissonance”. In short, listen and change what needs to be changed! Here it is specific, so make sure that everything you are working on is compatible and looks the way you want it to. Your brand, in essence, represents both who you are as individuals and who you are as a business. But whatever you think of branding, it is essentially a measure of your success; do it well, and with it your value will increase.
The desired feeling you wish to communicate
What kind of feeling does your product or service give the consumer? What does it satisfy in desire or need? It may be a desire for independence, protection, confidence or fulfillment or something completely different. It is important to understand the public – their age, gender, ethnicity, occupation, education and place of residence. Also, what encourages them to buy? And what do they think? Once the objective has been set, identify it as concisely as possible, as it will form the basis of your branding efforts. Then try to identify exactly what touches the hearts and minds of your customers and make sure it is something stimulating, specific and credible.
From there, you can define your own values oh how to bring your customers to the “place” you take in their minds. It is not your personal beliefs, it is your organization’s beliefs that underpin the mission you have described. You will represent the business’s vision, philosophy and priorities and explain what you stand for and why you do business the way you do. The more you work in this area, the less you will have to spend on your long-term branding and graphic design, because you can address the professionals you have chosen for your branding or graphic design by simply describing your intent and core values to them.
Create a brand message that is clear, compelling and consistent
Imagine if you didn’t know anything about your business. Now, ask yourself what is the main message you want to hear from customers. Can you get an idea of the value you represent to you as a customer? If not, why not? Take another look at your idea and narrow it down to what sets you apart. Was it about the price? Was it innovation? Or something else. Use the “so what?” Test to determine if the USP (unique selling point) is convincing or not. If you decide what to say about the advantage you offer, then repeat the “so what?” test until you get a very convincing USP.
Once you understand this, be consistent in your communication and practice. You don’t have to be the best, just the most consistent. No one can say, for example, that Mr. Whippy’s is the best ice cream in the world. But we know what he is, what he looks like and what he tastes like, and we can see at a glance which ice cream vans store him – and as far as we can remember, he has always been the same. Therefore, it’s these factors that sometimes make us crave ice cream, even if it’s not necessarily our favorite ice cream in the world! Consistency builds trust and loyalty that are invaluable to your brand.
Choose a Brand name
The name comes first – it can be descriptive, or you can choose a name that initially means nothing, but can become more meaningful as your business grows (good examples are Starbucks, McDonald’s and Domino’s). There is a lot of value that can be incorporated into a good brand, and this should not be underestimated. When choosing your name, it’s a good idea to think about what is a useful tool to communicate to customers the advantage of using your business over your competitors’. That’s why it’s so important to be memorable and make a good first impression. A good name combined with a good brand is the perfect recipe for success.
One strategy that can help inspire reliability is to link your business’s name to the region in which you work. Consumers associate these businesses with strong local roots and a friendly approach. Humor or playfulness will help the business stand out, although, the overall goal is to ensure that what you choose is punchy, original and immediately informs the consumer of what the business is doing. You should also keep in mind that, if necessary, your business name will decide which web domain you can register and your trademark.
Should you build a brand for your business?
Definitely. Whether your business is large or small, formulating and implementing a marketing strategy to justify a strong brand identity will pay off in terms of customer confidence, improving the business’s image and increasing revenues. Create your own brand and have fun. It is a creative process, after all, and while every experience may not work, you can always learn to improve.