Some key factors for consideration.
Having a brand can differentiate your business from your competitors and drive customer loyalty. Branding isn’t just for multinationals with huge budgets: small and medium-sized firms can create an effective brand by examining how their business works and what it means to its customers.
Here are a few guidelines on what makes a brand, and the benefits of creating a brand and maintaining one once established;
What is a brand?
Brands can be defined in two ways. Firstly, a brand can be an identification or a mark that differentiates one business from another (through a name or a logo, for example). Secondly, a brand symbolises how people think about your business.
Do I need a brand?
Every business has already got a brand, even if it doesn’t treat it as one. Your existing customers and potential customers already have a perception of what your business means to them. Building a brand just means communicating your message to them more effectively so they immediately associate your business with their requirements.
Before you develop your brand identity, you have to assess your business, how it operates and the messages that you want to deliver consistently to your customers.
Pulling the elements together
You don’t have to create clever names to have a brand — you can use your own name, for example. But what you call your business, product or service is important. Make sure:
• The name suits your existing and potential customers’ tastes.
• Your customers refer to your business, product or service the same way you do.
Some brands have taglines, a subsidiary line used to reinforce the brand message. You don’t need to have one but it can help, particularly if the name of your business or product doesn’t describe what you do. If you want to create a tagline, base it on your core competencies. For example: John Smith — unblocking drains fast.
Brand names, logos and taglines can be legally protected.
Creating the brand
Build the message into everything your customer or potential customer sees and hears before they have any direct contact with your business.
Managing the brand
A brand will not work instantly. It will develop strength over time as long as your business consistently communicates and delivers your brand values to customers. Once the brand is developed within your own business and your existing customers, you can use it to attract new customers.
Once a brand has been created, following some simple rules should ensure its continued effectiveness, for example; doing everything you can to make sure that the brand message is delivered consistently across all platforms and touchpoints from business cards and website to vehicle signage.