If you have a product or service that everyone needs and no one else offers, it's easy to be the best. Unfortunately, that's not a reality for most businesses today. To succeed in the real world, businesses need every advantage they can get. Many CEOs agree that the way to win is to build and manage their company's brand. You know that classic line from “Field of Dreams”? "If you build it, they will come."? Well, it might not be that simple, but if you build a strong brand, then customers will be more likely to come! Your business has a name and logo and you advertise, but do you have a brand? Successful CEOs and business owners know that branding goes deeper than a name and logo. Logos, tag lines and advertising campaigns are traditional marketing tactics that merely scratch the surface. Brands connect with customers.
Do you need a brand? Branding a product or service differentiates you from your competitors. It’s the key to turning prospective consumers into loyal customers. A brand is more than what your product does or what you communicate. Your brand identity is the total perception of your brand in the marketplace, including an implied promise to your customers that your product or service will consistently meet their expectations every time they interact with your brand. Brands evoke emotions, delight us, and feel familiar and reliable. About now, you might be saying to yourself, "That's great for large corporations like Apple or Nike, but what can building a brand do for my business?" Defining your brand identity and implementing a well-thought-out brand strategy is probably one of the most important business objectives a company can have. Marketing is about improving your odds of success — and branding your product or service is a powerful way of doing just that. Why? Think about it. In today's global, high tech world, product features and designs, manufacturing processes and services can be easily duplicated — often for less somewhere else. On the other hand, strongly held beliefs, associations, and attitudes in your customers' minds are not so easily copied.
A strong brand can give you the competitive edge you need. Strong brands can:
create greater customer loyalty
make you less sensitive to competitive pricing
increase trial of new products
increase support from trade partners
provide focus to marketing efforts
allow you to attract the resources you need such as talent and capital
are instrumental in developing strategic partnerships
act as a powerful tool for guiding internal decision making
Keeping this in mind, it becomes easy to see that a strong brand is a powerful tool for all businesses — large or small — whether you are selling a product or service, selling to consumers or to other businesses. And a well-defined brand strategy is especially critical for start-up companies or those looking to expand. In the second installment of this series, we’ll look at the questions you need to ask when building your brand.
Want to learn more? Look for part two of this series and download our e-book, "7 Questions You Must Answer When Building Your Brand".