A GUIDE TO BRANDING A BUSINESS
October 13, 2023
Branding is an essential part of any business whether it is a startup, small or large, B2B or retail. Even though the term branding is often thrown around, many people starting a business for the first time have no idea what the term means. Many newly established businesses do not know how to go about marketing and effectively building their brand effectively. This affects the business adversely because it is not able to develop and grow as expected. In the end, the business does not succeed because it does not match the level of competitiveness with other like businesses that have effectively branded their establishments. Therefore, building a brand for the business is a crucial part of not only growing the company but creating a voice and value for the enterprise.
Definition of Branding
Before one gets started on branding their business, they should comprehend what branding is and how it impacts their business. Branding is a marketing experience that aims at distinguishing a business or a product from a rival in the eye of the customer. The process involves a set of communication and marketing methods used to help a customer distinguish between the products of a company from those of its competitors. For example, Coca-Cola is identified by many customers through their black and red colors, which set them apart from other drink distributors in the market. Customers have identified with this brand for many decades now because the company has put in a lot of effort to make their branding memorable and identifiable.
There are many resources and tools that one can use to brand their business, and all these tools and resources are used to give the business identity, voice, awareness, and create awareness among clients. As a new business, there are various components one should follow when branding their business. The following are the main components that should be put as a priority:
- Brand Identity
- Brand Communication
- Brand Awareness
- Brand Loyalty
- Brand Management Strategies
A new business should begin by defining their brand before building their brand identity. The process of defining a brand can be difficult, uncomfortable, and time-consuming. This is because it is like a journey of self-discovery that involves laying out what the business is, what it wants to be, and what it perceives itself as. When defining a brand, the business lays out its mission and vision, the benefits, features of the products, and the qualities the company has or wants to be associated with. It is also vital to identify what customers think of the business at the moment to identify whether to change the business strategies or continue with them.
The customers play a big part in defining the brand of a business. It is through their needs, desires, and habits that the business can know what customers think and build a brand that they want. After defining the brand, the business can now create their brand identity. Brand identity as the name suggests is a visible element of the business that customers can identify with. These elements include colors, packaging, typography, and logo. For instance, the brand identity for Nike is a swoosh on all their products, and this feature is their identity which distinguishes them from other competitive companies.
After creating an identity, the business should create a brand communication strategy that reaches out to as many customers as possible. Brand communication is the process by which the business informs, persuades, enlightens, reminds, teaches, and enriches the knowledge of their clients about their brand, benefits, features, value, and strengths. It is a process of convincing a buyer to use one’s products by clearly outlining its benefits and bringing it to life. When it comes to brand communication, the business should aim to relay simple, clear messages that are memorable. The main aim of branding is to be memorable in the customer’s mind so that each time they think of a particular product they only think of a specific business.
If the key message that a business communicates is complex and hard to comprehend, it will not entice the buyer and convince them to go for the brand. Brand communication is the bridge between the brand and the customer, and the component that finally unites the two. Therefore, it is a vital part of branding the business and should be done carefully and strategically. When building brand communication for the business, identify the target audience, what they need, and what they talk about. From this, one can create a message that tells a story to the consumers that they want to hear. The message should be interesting, persuasive, and relevant to the target’s audience.
Brand awareness is the extent to which a customer can identify, recall, and recognize a brand. A consumer is influenced by their ability to recognize a certain brand when purchasing. They opt for brands they know, recall, or have used before. When a business is branding their business, awareness should be part of the branding strategies. The business should lay out strategies on how they will create awareness of the brand and make it memorable among consumers. Awareness does not only touch on recalling a brand’s name but also recognizing specific features of a brand’s product. This means a consumer may not be aware of the name of a brand but can recognize the products of that brand because of its unique features.
The main method of creating brand awareness in the digital world is through brand marketing and advertising. There are multiple ways of branding and marketing a business can choose from to create brand awareness.
- Online Marketing, e.g. social media marketing and SEO
- Print Advertising, e.g. newspaper and magazine
- Outdoor Advertising, e.g. billboards and posters
- Broadcast Advertising, e.g. television and radio
The method of advertising that a business settles on depends on various factors such as budgeting, target audience, the effectiveness of the method, and the type of business. For instance, if one’s target audience is teenagers and individuals in their youth, the most effective method for creating brand awareness would be online marketing. This is because the target audience consists of people that are digitalized and are on every social media platform out there. It would be pointless to invest in print advertising for such an audience because the target audience does not read newspapers for information; instead, they source information from the internet.
When choosing a method for brand advertising, it is essential to consider all the factors above to make the advertising effective. Failure to do so will cost the business a lot of time and money, and in the end, customers will have no idea of what one’s brand is, the products they offer, or its benefits. Effective brand awareness is one that reaches the right target audience and communicates the purpose of the business and the products it provides.
Establishing a new business is often difficult, and the most challenging part is to retain customers. Brand loyalty is the act of customers buying products from the same brands instead of going for another competitive brand. These customers are already existing customers for the business that have been retained. Over the years, the customers buy products from the same brand regardless of the market being flooded with cheaper products of similarity. When creating a brand for the business, aim at retaining customers and influencing them to buy for more.
The following are some of the areas one should concentrate on to build brand loyalty.
- Keep the quality of products high because customers always go for products they can rely on even when its price is high.
- Engage with customers constantly because customers enjoy feeling as part of the brand. This can be done by communicating with them and involving customers in what is happening with the brand and new products.
- Stay in touch with the customers after they buy a product. Most consumers have been known to buy from brands that kept in touch with them because they felt the customer service was good.
- Invest in rewarding customers that always come back after using up their products. Such programs ensure one-time customers come back because of the loyalty programs that the brand has.
- Provide value for the product through amazing discounts and offers.
Brand Management Strategies
After developing the brand of the business, it is important that the brand is maintained over time. Building a brand is not a one-time project that is done and forgotten about. It is a continuous process that involves a lot of dedication and effective strategies that continually develop and grow the business. Brand management is the process of using unique techniques that increase the value of a product or brand over time. The business should plan, implement, and control marketing measures and procedures that drive towards building the brand. The main focus of brand management is maintaining brand equity.
Brand equity is a brand’s worth, and it comprises of aspects such as customer satisfaction, customer loyalty, and brand value. The market is increasingly becoming competitive, and if a business is not careful, a competitor can come in and swoop customers away because their brand management strategies maintain the brand’s value. If a business builds powerful brand equity, they have the power to set their prices because their customers are loyal and will not go for another cheap brand. The customers are fully aware of what the brand is, what it offers, its benefits, and the value of purchasing the product. Such trust with customers is only achieved through consistent strategic branding that delivers promises made to the clients.
Common Mistakes When Building A Brand
A newly established business may not understand the value of branding, and this is what hurts the business later on. The same also applies to companies that are not new but have never invested in branding simply because they deem it not necessary.
- Undermining the Power of the Brand
As mentioned earlier, some businesses do not find branding necessary. This perception stems from the money that the business will spend on branding. Branding the business has a lot of benefits that are far much worth spending a few dollars at the beginning.
- Creating a Complex Brand
The purpose of branding is to make one’s business unique from the rest. If one focuses on a complex brand that is overcomplicated, customers will quickly forget the brand and not recognize it because they cannot comprehend it.
- Establishing Undefined Brand Guidelines
It is important to establish defined guidelines that effectively relay what the business is, what are its benefits, and the value of the products. This should be effectively communicated in the logo, slogan, packaging, and typography.
- Re-Branding Poorly
Businesses that have an already established brand tend to deviate from it when launching a new product or service. While there is nothing wrong with this, it can negatively impact the brand of the business if done poorly. This is because it weakens the connection that is already made between the customers and the business. A business should only make changes to their brand if the benefits outweigh the risks involved.
This guide will help any business maintain a consistent brand among all the platforms in the company. Effective branding is one that is memorable, relevant, unique, and straightforward. If the branding does not consist of what the customer wants and need, the business is bound to fail. This means that the business should focus all their branding on the customers because they are the most important part of the organization.