Branding is one of the most important aspects of any business, large or small, retail or B2B. An effective well defined brand strategy gives you a major edge in increasingly competitive markets. But what exactly does “branding” mean?
Your brand strategy will help define how your customers see your business and product. It’s figuring out your positioning or “winning-difference.” Most importantly it’s what helps you stand out from the competitors and their activities.
Defining your brand is like a process of learning about yourself or who you are and your strengths and weaknesses and your beliefs. In other words it is a journey of business self-discovery. Branding denote and defines your product and services. Only through effective branding does the customers understand the value of your product and services and perceive the brand. It can be difficult and time-consuming.
Corporate branding is a sum total of creating a unique identity that is associable across demography’s and fostering communication across different media assets for brand synergy. Branding conveys the message in simple words and makes it worth recallable. Now turning into effective branding it requires you to find answer to the questions below:
What is your company’s mission? What are the benefits and features of your products or services? What do your customers and prospects already think of your company? What are the qualities do you want them to associate with your company?
Always remember your brand is your promise to your customer. It tells them what they can expect from your products and services, and how it differentiates from your competitors’.Your brand is derived from who you are, what you are, where you want to be and which category of people perceives you most and trust.
Before deciding on branding consider the following factors. How long it will take? Are you innovative in your industry sector with experience, tradition, and reliability andAlways remember your brand is your promise to your customer. It tells them what they can expect from your products and services, and how it differentiates from your competitors’
To build up corporate identity, your brand should have the perfect product presentation, logo design, the right colour representation and service assurance along with the message you want to convey. It’s essential that each and every element is well defined out and carefully crafted to build the perfect corporate identity you want to establish.
Do your research in advance with the available resources. Learn the needs, habits and desires of your current and prospective customers. Who all are your competitors, how strong they are, what are their promotional activates, their market share and strength in all aspects.Discuss with your experienced marketing staff and finalise what exactly you are going to do with a target of well-defined input and the likely output expected during this period.
Your branding strategy should be very clear on how, what, where, when and to whom you plan on communicating and delivering on your brand messages and offers if any etc. Your company’s logo and brand name are the first thing clients notice. You need to communicate your USP (Unique Selling Proposition) in a visually appealing manner that attracts the customers. Corporate identity creation also include Catalog Design & Development, Visual/Video Presentation, Crystal Planning & Execution, Marketing and Advertisement.
Where you advertise is part of your branding strategy. Choosing the right media at the right time will help you to brand effectively. All medias has got advantages and disadvantages. Assess them wisely after considering your target people and choose what is apt for your brand. If your target people is youngsters, consider the possibilities of Digital and Social Media marketing. To target women, Visual and Print media will be effective as most often they spend more time before TV. OOH or billboards will be useful if you are trying to reach out the masses and to increase the presence of your brand. Making the right choice among them is also crucial. If you have decided to go on visual branding determine which all channels and the time slot most suited to your product. Frequency of the advertisement or the periods to carry (limit your ad to seconds with clear message if it is visual.)
In Visual Media, it is very essential that the customers are view the ad you present. Mostly, it is common now that the viewers switch to other channels once during a commercial break. Viewers always prefer interesting programs and less they devout to see the advertisements. Hence if you are planning commercial ads in visual media, the selection and time slot is very important. Always prefer your advertisement as the number one to be projected during the break so that you can get assurance of 50-70% viewers. If you watch carefully almost all the major channels have the ‘breaks’ in similar time. The viewers always feel distracted when a break is announced and channels go for advertisements. They suddenly switch to remote and search for interesting programs.
When it comes to Print Media the reach and circulation along with popularity becomes the criteria. Insertions should not be limited to one day. Continued insertions with at least minimum number of days yield better results. So also magazines. Select the days that more readers or viewers go through like during festivals or events. Before you advertise on print media, you should have thorough knowledge of the availability of your product in locations you are planning to concentrate more as all the print medias have different editions. You can also choose a particular area edition for building more value in the specific location. Here also the readership and circulation ratio to be analysed very carefully.
There is no doubt that Outdoor (like Hoardings, In- shop brandings, various dealer signage boards, bus shelter and bus branding etc.) yield more durability as the commuters or passersby often view the message and keep them in mind. The recall value is higher for such media. Since outdoor displays are permanent for minimum period of time say weeks to months, it will yield more frequent viewers and will remain as a reminder for the customers.The result is that your brand will reach more people than you intended. New constructive branding strategies can also be considered as according to your product. If you wish to change the design and message it is far easier in outdoor media than visual and print. It is also economical.
Your distribution channels and product availability also play an elemental part of your branding strategy as the product availability during branding period is an essential requirement.
How can you create brand equity at the shortest period with the best harvest within your reach of your budget allotted? Consistent, strategic branding leads to a strong brand equity, which means the added value brought to your company’s products or services that allows you to focus more for your brand than what identical, unbranded products command. The most obvious example of this is Samsung mobile vs. Generic other brands, because Samsung has built powerful brand equity, it can charge more for its product—and customers will pay that higher price.
The added value intrinsic to brand equity frequently comes in the form of perceived quality or emotional attachment. For example, Nike’s and Adidas vs. generic or similar brands. Nike and Adidas associates its products with star Athletes and popular sports personalities hoping customers will transfer their emotional attachment from them to the product. For Nike the largest manufacturer of sportswear in the world, it’s not just the sportswear features that sell them. Also, celebrity brand ambassadors contribute to consumer’s belief and trust enhancingNike and Adidas associates its products with star Athletes and popular sports personalities hoping customers will transfer their emotional attachment from them to the product
Once you’ve defined your brand, how do you get the word out? Here are a few simple, time-tested tips:
Never stop learning from the experience and always be like a student.
Spend time daily reading and learning and understanding – absorbing as much information as possible to make your product to reach the masses. Consumer tastes are constantly changing and it is reflected in the industry. Consumers always go for products which focus more on reliable messages and a temptation to use the product at least once. Pricing also plays a major role. Most of the people always depend a quality product with less price and availability. If you fail to keep up with the changes it would have a negative impact on brand, as the value would plummet. Quality and authencity of the product to be given at most care for the long lasting consumer consumption. Eg: Medimix Soap, Parle Biscuits, Horlicks...
If you are mixing a new product to your existing line of products make sure that the product is made available before going for promotional activities.
“You cannot expect to build a strong personal brand without something of value to give to those that follow you.The more effort you put into learning and information consumption, the more you can give back, which will only help you create a strong personal brand.”
The competition is getting tough every day and tougher to days coming. If you do not want to end up commoditising your business, you have to go for branding. Branding ensures that you still can control the pricing element around your merchandise or service rather than having to match the competitor’s price.
As said, do your research well. Clearly learn the needs, habits and desires of your current and prospective customers. You can’t always ask them to think like you do. It is your ability which will give you a forehand in understanding what they might expect and providing them the requirement.