Branding is what sets you apart, differentiates you from your competitors in the same industry or niche. It is what defines you and your business.
Car makers, for example, go out of their way to brand themselves. Through consistent branding we have come to associate luxury with Rolls Royce and quality with Mercedes-Benz.
Branding is defining the specific way your business will be superior to your competition. You need to be specific so that people can build up an image of your business based on particular characteristics.
You also need to be very clear about the way in which you are superior. You have to be able to demonstrate this superiority for it to be believable. Your superiority is the reason why people should come to you and not to your competitors.
No business can be all things to everybody. You can’t be the cheapest, have the widest range, offer the very best quality, demonstrate innovation and offer high levels of specialization – all at the same time.
Branding is a matter of strategic choice – it relates to how you are going to position yourself in the marketplace. You have to ask the questions, “How do I want to be seen?”, “What image of my business do I want to create in the minds of potential customers?”, “What would make people want to buy from me rather than my competitors?” and “What sets my business apart – what do I offer that is different to, and better than, my competitors?”
Branding is designed to display your competitive edge – the one thing that you do better than anyone else. Ideally this competitive edge should be incorporated in your business name.
However, it is possible to build a brand around a name that does not initially communicate your competitive edge, especially when you are developing an online presence. Twitter, Google and Facebook are examples of very effective online branding where the competitive edge is not communicated directly in the name – the brand has been built up by association over time through online promotion and providing quality service.
Branding enables you to identify the type of customers you want to reach and helps you develop a focused offering/service for your target market.
Consistent and congruent branding builds trust and trust generates customers who become loyal followers and repeat purchasers.
Branding should be an integral part of your business planning, even before start-up.
Once you have determined your brand you need to develop a brand promotion strategy so that all the pieces fit together and you communicate a consistent message to potential customers.
Online branding involves building an integrated branding structure or online branding architecture. This is where we can assist you.