It’s easy to think that the word ‘brand’ only applies to big businesses like a Coke and McDonalds. However, if you are a small business owner then it is more then likely that there is only a few of you working in the business and that more often then not the marketing and promotion of your business takes a back seat. In this sense you should think of your brand as your 24 hour sales person, the thing that represents your business when your not around to do it. And if you think about it this way, then your businesses brand quickly becomes one of your best assets.
Let’s first take a quick look at ‘what is a brand?’
In it’s simplest form a brand is a name, term, design, symbol or other feature that identifies a company as distinct. i.e a non generic name for a product that identifies it, that is TimTams rather than chocolate biscuits.
Today a brand is more than a name or a physical feature, it is the perception that customers have about a product or service. It’s your promise to your audience. In general terms, it’s an idea or image of a specific product or service that consumers connect with. These can be intentional associations created through marketing or unintentionally through poor customer experience.
Executed well a successful brand can bring your business many benefits.
A successful brand can;
- Increase your sales or market share
- Allow you to diversify your business
- Increase repeat business
- Create customer following via social media, foot traffic and people talking about you
- Increase market reach
- Change the perceptions of your market or to make it become more competitive
- Create longer dwell time (in a bricks and mortar shop, on a website, through social media etc)
- Convey clearer information, this can result in less confusion, less phone enquiries to a help line, quicker conversion of a prospect to a client.
So what makes a successful brand? The trick to an effective brand is to be authentic. This is to say, choose what values your branding is going to represent and then make sure you follow through in the way you and your staff conduct the business.
Over time your ultimate goal, should be to create brand loyalty and for your consumers to follow the 4 steps to becoming brand advocates, effectively increasing your brand reach even further (i.e Promoting your business for you!)
Step 1. Recognition, you want potential buyers to be aware of your brand and it’s benefit.
Step 2. Preference, Consumers will show a preference for your brand
Step 3. Insistence, Consumers must bace and will seek it you.
Step 4. Brand Advocates, Consumers will sing your praise to anyone that will listen!