These day’s business owners just have to understand that it’s really not enough just to offer a product or service and then call this your ‘brand’. No, you really need to sit down and think what your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is. The reason for this is that people do not (often) buy a product or service just for the sake of buying, they buy something because they think it will avert pain, bring some pleasure, or make them the envy of their friends.
You then need to take this USP and place it in the forefront of the minds of your target clients so that your product, service name or business has a ‘uniqueness’. This is the essence of what you call branding (at a very basic level). Just think about Apple and the Apple iPod or BMW and its expensive cars and you will see our point.
This article covers a few of the main pointers too building your brand and the many ways that you can achieve this. It is by no means a definitive guide, however, it can lead you in the right direction.
One of the best ways to establish your brand is to project an “expert” image for your company. Discuss with your staff and associates and make a list of the type of people or businesses who will benefit your product or service. Just how will your product or service benefit them, do you know exactly? Then ask ‘why should people choose yours over all the other products in the same area?’ This task is NOT an easy one because this involves gathering information on your target market, researching on your competition and also asking searching questions about your own offerings.
When you have completed your market research done, you can then move on to the process of ‘reaching out’ to your target market place. It could be that you probably don’t have the budget for a full blown advertising campaign, whether you are starting out or not. However, there are ways to get your business noticed as you shall see in the rest of this blog.
Keeping your USP in mind, the next step is identifying the promise that brand brings. Think of your most favourite brands? BMW cars are very expensive but the company always makes good on its promises, not only delivering the best-engineered cars on the planet, but also making them look good too. At the other end of the spectrum, McDonald’s does not offer the best-tasting burgers, but does deliver on the promise of delivering on a reliable fast food service. In both cases they each have a ‘promise’ and then make sure they deliver it on 100% of the time.
Uncover your brand’s big promise and fulfill it to establish trust.
To uncover your brand’s promise, ask yourself the following questions and make sure you dig deep for the answers and make sure you answer them honestly?
- Why do you offer what you do?
- What promises can you deliver on 100% of the time?
- How can you make your customer’s lives better every single day?
Once you have the answers to the big questions listed above, it’s time to reach out to your target market, as then at least you know what you are offering. If you have deep pockets, you have the option of going at full throttle and start advertising on TV radio and newspapers plus on the marketing channels on the Internet.
You will need to create different advertising campaigns and then test which ones are the most effective. It is often best to avoid being controversial, but do engage your customers and do everything that you can do to build trust and likeability for your brand, this is an essential part of brand building.
Before deciding on where to spend your advertising budget make sure that you know which media your target market uses the most. For example, if you’re targeting seniors, it might be better to opt for a TV or radio ad as they don’t use the Internet too much (but this is changing).
But what are the different marketing channels available on the Internet today.
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising
Unlike other forms of advertising, you don’t pay here until and unless someone clicks on your advertisement, but it does not mean they are very interested I’m afraid, they might just be curious, so remember this when considering how much to invest. While there are many PPC ad networks out there, the biggest and most famous of them is Google’s Adwords.
Google Adwords are the little blocks of advertisements that you see when you search for something on Google. Just like other forms of advertising, creating a Google Adwords campaign can be un-profitable if you don’t know what you’re doing, so do take care when choosing this channel and seek expert advice.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
SEO a part of a larger concept called ‘information marketing’. With SEO, you have to choose the most relevant keyword phrases and then make your website’s pages rank for it. SEO has changed a lot over the last few years, and now it is all about making sure that your site has lots of good relevant content. SEO is difficult and involves a lot of tedious work, however, if you get it right, it will be easier to establish trust for your brand. Why? Because most people think that if your website ranks on Google, it must be trustworthy (the opposite is not true for Adwords where many think that people have just ‘bought’ their way on to the page and not ‘won it’.)
Anyway, if you have the budget, we suggest that you hire an SEO company to create and manage SEO campaigns for you. Like we said, SEO is difficult and tedious and does require expert knowledge.
Social media sites like Twitter and Facebook are some of the best places for establishing your brand, however they suit Business to Consumer sales rather better than B to B businesses. It’s free to create Facebook pages, but if you want to reach out to your audience in a faster manner, you will have to pay Facebook to promote your pages (and thus brand) to your target market. It must be said that the targeting that Facebook offers is second to none as they have demographic and geographic information in their database of users and allow you to use it to target your customer base.
Choosing which online medium to use is not easy, the only way of finding out which is best for your business and market place is to pick one method, learn all that you can about it, and then implement it, Creating and test different campaigns until you find a formula that works.
Always remember that the most powerful form of advertising is that of word of mouth advertising., but you must ensure that you always deliver on your promises and provide great customer service 100% of the time.
See http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/brand-building.html for more information