Building a brand is more difficult than it might first seem. Marketing isn’t just about telling people that your product exists, you have to persuade people to want your product – and that means figuring out what people really want, and showing that your product is relevant to their interests.
To build a strong brand, you need to work out what your product’s Unique Selling Points (USPs) are. Yes, ideally you should have more than one USP. From there, you need to determine your brand values, and communicate those to your customers.
Your brand values should back up your unique selling points – so, if your USP is that your product is incredibly reliable, then your brand value would be that you will never compromise quality. If you want your brand to appeal to people who always want the latest and greatest technologies, then you brand values should focus on innovation, and staying ahead of the competition. Getting those brand values firmly into your mind before you start marketing will ensure that your brand doesn’t suffer from an identity crisis where you try to make something cheap, reliable, and feature-packed, and end up with a poor quality product that fails to fit in to any part of the market.
Getting the Message Out
Once you know what you want your brand to be, you need to find a way to spread the word. Exactly how you do this will depend on the target audience you’re trying to reach. Some demographics respond well to magazine ads or online advertisements, radio campaigns work well for local restaurants, and traditional promotional gifts such as printed mugs can go down well with the trade show crowd. The trick is to find the right medium, and the right message, for your audience.
Protecting a Fledgling Brand
One of the most painful lessons that small business owners could ever learn is how quickly a brand can be damaged. It takes years of consistent marketing and a good quality product to build a brand, but you can destroy one overnight with just one or two simple mistakes. Things that can ruin all of your hard brand-building work include:
- Untrustworthy behaviour by anyone within your company that deals with the public
- Safety or public health concerns
- Poor customer service
- A product recall
- Signs of financial difficulty
If any of the above issues happen within your company, then you should move to resolve them immediately. There have been instances of companies recovering from financial problems, and even high profile product recalls. When it comes to brand building, honesty really is the best policy.
Once you have established your company brand, it is important that you continue to nurture it. Remember, your brand is whatever your customers decide it is. The logo on your printed mugs is just that, a logo. Your brand is the mental image that people have when they see that logo. If you want people to think of honesty, integrity, and quality when they see your company logo, then you need to run an honest company that strives for quality, and shows integrity in everything they do.