Branding is the emotional response of your audience to your business. An effective brand strategy combines engaging marketing tactics and delivering on the promise made to your clients and prospects. It also ensures your company communicates the right message, to the right people, at the right time, ensuring consistent business growth.
Five essential points for developing a strong brand are:
- Define your brand and target your audience
Before your customers can understand your business, you must understand it yourself. Know your goals, understand your philosophy or mission and the target demographic for your business. Use this information to create an effective brand strategy and marketing plan.
- Deliver on your promise and be prepared for when things go wrong
Refine your processes so your business can deliver on the promises made in your marketing campaigns. When planning for growth consider if your internal processes and current resources can handle the additional customers. Sometimes things will go wrong, either due to human error, a breakdown in communication or forces outside your control. It is imperative the business has strategy to minimise the damage arising from such an experience.
- Give customers more than marketing slogans
Successful branding is about loyalty and letting your audience feel genuine care and engagement. It’s about what your business actually does to go the extra mile – not just the promise that you will.
- Build a community around your business
Social media makes it easier than ever before to create buzz around your business. Keeping your business up to date and connected through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and countless other networks, is important for creating customers who will advocate for your brand.
- Be aware of your market and your place in it
Successful brands understand their customers pain points and present their products or services as the solution. As a company grows and evolves it is important to understand that sudden changes can alienate existing customers and lose those who were previously loyal. Diversifying a company takes careful planning and a good brand strategy will help to guide the long term success of a business.
A rebrand is not always the answer
When business growth starts to stagnate, there can be a temptation to rebrand. However this may not always be the right solution. It is important to understand the issues the business is experiencing and then make an informed decision about the best direction to take. Inadequate reasons to rebrand include:
- A lack of consistency – when a company has been established for a number of years, it may have tried different approaches or brought on and abandoned a range of service or products. A new suite of marketing material focussed on your businesses unique proposition may be a more cost effective and efficient solution.
- Lack of brand recognition – it may be that the key company personnel have focussed on a strong personal brand rather than the company brand, it may be there is a lack of clarity around the products or services the company delivers. A strong marketing campaign around these issues may be a more effective solution than a full rebrand of the company.
- The leadership have become bored with the brand – there are no shortcuts to building a strong and lasting brand. If your brand strategy is not delivering the results you need, it can be tempting to go down the seemingly exciting road of a re-brand. However this may not be a reason for a re-brand, but a time to re-examine the strategy.
Rebranding to create a new vision for your company
Rebranding can happen for a number of reasons, but the goal is always the
same – to improve the relationship your business has with its audience.
You may need to rebrand your business because:
- It has expanded beyond its original vision
- The brand has evolved and needs to be repositioned in the marketplace
- Your brand risks becoming irrelevant or outdated in a changing marketplace
- You want to refocus the business on particular products or services
More than a logo
A brand is not just your website or your the letterhead. It is certainly more than you’re your visual identity. It encompasses every interaction your business has with its audience, its competitors, and with the marketplace. Undertaking a rebranding project half-heartedly can be detrimental to your business.
Preparation is vital, determining benchmarks and setting goals will make the changes measurable. To know where you’re going, you need to know where you’ve been, how far you’ve come and what has been gained. This phase should include looking at case studies of other successful rebrands from within your industry. Every element of your company needs to be onboard and moving in the same direction.
At its best, rebranding convinces your audience that you aren’t simply papering over the cracks. It reinvigorates your company culture and creates renewed focus. It enables your business to stay relevant and grow by reconnecting with your customers and opening up new avenues.
There is no quick and easy answer to branding challenges. Understanding why branding is important for business growth and having a strong brand strategy focussed on your goals and target audience will ensure the success and longevity of a brand.