For many businesses, creating and implementing a cohesive branding strategy often comes as an afterthought—or not at all.
Yet, research shows that companies with strong brands generate much higher sales and profits. In other words, taking the time to define and build a brand can give you a huge competitive advantage.
Here are a few tips to help you implement effective branding strategies and tactics in your business.
1. Conduct effective market research
Before making significant branding efforts, you will first have to answer a few key questions.
- Are customers aware of your brand?
- How are you perceived in the market?
- How do customers view your brand compared with others?
- What characteristics do customers associate with your brand?
Market research will help you answer these questions and gather feedback on positioning for your future branding exercise.
Brand research is usually conducted by interviewing customers and organizing focus groups. You can hire experts to help you conduct customer surveys or try using inexpensive—or sometimes free—online survey tools.
2. Focus on a unique value proposition
Your brand is your promise to the customer. So it’s important you develop a brand that conveys a unique value proposition to customers—something that stands out.
Think about why your customers choose you over the competition. Are your products more dependable? Do they have a longer life? Or are they less expensive than others in the market? In many sectors such as fashion, furnishings or manufactured goods, unique styling can be a key differentiator.
3. Choose a brand name that delivers your message clearly
Once you have identified your customers’ needs and desires and have come up with products to meet them, it’s time to choose a brand name to deliver that message clearly.
It’s best to be specific. For example, consider giving each product or service offering a different brand identity, as opposed to simply repeating your company’s name.
4. Create an emotional connection
Psychologists have found that 90% of communication is non-verbal. Shrewd marketers have long known that businesses can vastly improve brand effectiveness if, in addition to a good name, they evoke appropriate emotions.
One simple way to do this is through the effective use of colours. For example, using reds to create a sense of urgency, greens for environmental themes, blues for water and so on. They all can help to reinforce an effective brand name. Some companies even use music to build brand identity. For example, Intel trademarked the musical notes that are played at the end of its television commercials.
5. Deliver consistent communications
Once a company has developed an effective brand and corporate identity strategy, it must be implemented consistently through every “point of contact” with customers, including in advertising, signage, public relations efforts and so on.
One key is to get employees on board. Your company’s employees are its greatest brand advocates. Creating an internal branding model will help them understand and connect to your core brand(s). They’ll then be better equipped to communicate that brand message to your customers.