Developing and Building Your Brand
Today's market is giving us a message: Companies and individuals that have effectively invested in developing their brands are more likely to succeed over those who haven't.
A brand is a visual, cultural and emotional image that represents a company and its products or services. In an aggressive marketplace where products and services are progressively more similar in appearance to consumers, brand influences their purchasing decisions, loyalties and perceptions. Branding is what makes us want Green Giant on our plates, Nike on our feet and Disney World for vacation.
Investing in a brand provides opportunities to attract customers and to retain those customers. Whether you're trying to achieve regional, national or international status, you must determine the best way to position your brand on the market. After that comes a formulated campaign to reinforce and extend your brand's image. Slogan, name, communications and related money making spin-offs must work together to emphasize one concept that represents your brand. Name recognition is just one aspect of many that will positively affect brand equity.
Aim for product differentiation that sets you apart from competitors. When it comes to profitability and market share, those that understand the competition and take a unique position among them, will do better than those that only understand the customer.
Create a positive position for yourself by accentuating your brand's specific, most coveted, benefits. A good way to increase positive awareness of your brand is by winning awards from Chamber of Commerce, trade associations or other highly regarded sources.
Successful brands usually represent one positive, specific benefit. An individual or company must decide what attribute they will create positive association around and then deliver a unified message to promote it.
Individuals and companies need to have a consistent message in their brand name, slogan and logo to convey their brand development mission. All communication materials should be coordinated to reinforce the message.
Brands do well if they are supported by the image of a friendly and authoritative figure, for example a personality spokesperson or a character, like Mr. Clean.
Quality reinforcement is essential to distinguish your product's quality from that of similar products. An individual or company should make certain that it is perceived as being of high quality.
The consumer's perception of a service or product's value may influence the brand's value more than the product itself. It's important to a brand's image to reinforce the value of a product, as customers interpret it.
Many successful individuals or companies develop spin-off brands that produce revenue streams from related products or anchors. For instance, a company with a successful newspaper can increase profits with spin-offs.
Finally, no brand campaign is complete without a memorable slogan. It should be simple, relevant to the product, and unique.
Some well-known examples:
Sprite - Obey your thirst.
Timex - It takes a licking and keeps on ticking.
M&M's - Melts in your mouth, not in your hands.
Maxwell House - Good to the last drop.