By Jeffrey Barnhart, President & CEO
A brand is a story that makes a public pledge. The story of your brand and business helps build an emotional connection with your audience and drives demand. It’s also one of the most critical pieces of any business, as it lets your current and prospective customers know how they can benefit from your products and services. Marketers should build brand loyalty on shared values with its consumers, as stated by the Harvard Business Review. This will make your business more relatable, position you as an industry leader and make you known for whatever it is your branding is trying to convey.
But what’s the real value of branding? According to Statista, strong brands enhance business performance primarily through their influence on three key stakeholder groups: (current and prospective) customers, employees and investors. They influence customer choice and create loyalty; attract, retain, and motivate talent; and lower the cost of financing. For example, Google is one of the most recognized brands in the world. In North America alone, the brand’s value amounted to approximately 229 billion U.S. dollars in 2016.
The following are a few steps on how you can get started on creating your own successful brand:
- Determine target audience. Think about who your business needs to reach, that way you can customize your key messages and branding to who you want to reach and can effectively talk to those audiences.
- Know the competitive environment. Research and understand your competition’s positioning, so you can differentiate your business. The research will also uncover how your brand compares to its competition, as well as the perception of your brand in the marketplace.
- Create a logo. It should evoke the keywords that surround your brand and be memorable and stand out among your competitors. If your brand is “trustworthy” or “innovative,” make sure your logo matches.
- Write down your key messages. These are the points you communicate, when someone asks about your brand. Key messages capture the essence of your company: What does your business do? Where is the value? How is it different? What are your unique qualities and benefits? What does your business believe?
- Make sure your actions match your words. This is the easiest way to build a positive reputation, which leads to more relationships and more revenue.
- Be consistent. This is extremely important. Use the same colors, design, words and typeface on every touch point with your prospects and existing members. No one can tell your story better than you, so make sure you don’t keep changing it.
- Incorporate your logo across channels. Your brand should be visible in all you do and what your customer sees, from your place of business to your website, advertisements and social media marketing.
Creative Marketing Alliance (CMA), has been developing brand strategy for its clients for more than 30 years. One of its clients, an 83-year old electrical product distribution company named among the top 200 independent electrical distributors in the country, sought a brand identity makeover to revitalize its presence in the marketplace. The freshly-minted brand design needed to aptly capture the roll-up-your-sleeves culture and straight-shooting personality of the longstanding company, in a way that was both impactful and respectful of company traditions and values.
The client’s brand identity makeover kicked off with an overhaul of the company logo transforming it into a bold, colorful and historicized branding statement reflecting the business’s 83-year tradition of service to the New England region. The new logo was featured prominently as signage on the client’s freshly-painted fleet of 55 panel trucks and emblazoned on redesigned job site delivery boxes. The redesign was carried across the new website, which was reprogrammed for greater ease of navigation and enhanced user-friendliness. The rejuvenation leveraged the client’s status as the “official electrical distributor of the Boston Red Sox baseball team at Fenway Park,” via the creation of a folder including a die-cut baseball to pocket tickets for customers receiving complimentary Red Sox seats in the company’s skybox.
Your brand strategy is crucial, whether you are nurturing customer loyalty, prying market share from competitors or breaking into new markets. A well-defined strategy is like a rousing battle cry—but it’s only half the battle. Building a strong brand takes expertise, time and patience. With the right plan in place, you can transform strategic objectives into targeted and clutter-busting marketing solutions.
Jeffrey Barnhart is president and CEO of CMA. To ensure that you are successfully managing brand, it would benefit you to work with professionals who are experts in marketing. CMA can help! Contact us at 800-852-4269 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.