What is a brand?
“A set of customer associations which can be positive or negative”
“A unique association from which to differentiate between products or services”
“The values and beliefs which underpin the entire company’s work”
“More than, but including, the logo, name, website, and advertising”
“Any opinion that a customer forms during their experience of that company”
1. Know your customers
* How well do you know your customers?
* Why do they buy from you?
* What do they want from you?
Research your customers and find out the answers to key questions like these. Get to know the dynamics of your customers inside out, only then can your marketing be successfully tuned in to their needs.
2. Stand out from the crowd
Identify what values your brand has or should have. To stand out from the competition your brand needs to have a clear message as to what it stands for. For example is your brand a premium priced one built on quality and expertise or do you stand for value and service. When building a new brand we look at every aspect of the clients brand value and ask staff from all areas of the company what values they think their brand has or should have!
3. Spread the message
Make sure your brand message is consistently communicated through all the companys “touchpoints”. A “touchpoint” is anything in your company that your customer comes in contact with.
4. Have a clear vision
Know where you want your brand to be in 5 years time. It takes many years to build a successful brand so have a clear objective in mind. When working with clients we like to know what the long term objective of the company is. Only then can we recommend marketing plans and campaigns that will successfully achieve this.
5. Champion your brand
You will only be successful if everyone in the business understands the brand and what it stands for. Clear leadership is required and the business leaders need to be fully committed to the companies branding values and vision. If you don’t believe in it then it will eventually fail because all strong brands are built on strong commitment.
6. Find your customers
You will need to find out the best way to reach your potential customers. When producing marketing campaigns we carefully research the best route to the market to achieve the objective. If it is a B2B audience it is easier to identify potential customers and target them through direct mail, telemarketing, email, events etc. The profile of the audience needs to be analysed before you know what will be effective. We have worked on several campaigns aimed at young people who did not respond to more traditional forms of marketing such as advertising but to competitions, micro-websites, direct mail and events.
7. Spread the word
Build awareness so that your brand message is reaching potential customers through the relevant media channels. Brand recall is a powerful tool especially in consumer marketing and increasingly so in B2B. Brand building such as advertising and PR is investment, not spend. It does not always achieve instant increases in sales but a strong brand is built on many marketing activities. It needs to be part of the marketing communications plan alongside other short term objective campaigns.
8. Use your imagination
As markets become immune to conventional marketing, brands that develop a more personal connection with their customers through innovation will be more successful. The world’s biggest brands such as Apple and Nike have product and marketing innovation as a key strategy to building their brand experience. Never be afraid to discuss and try new ideas – some of them will work!
9. Be genuine
Customers are suspicious of “hype” and “spin” and are looking for companies to make a stand on principles such as the environment and customer care. The high street bank Co-op has followed a strategy of ethical banking which has clearly made them stand out from the other banks and appeal to a niche market. However if you are marketing the principles of the business as a brand value it has to be authentic. If not customers will see through it and you will severely damage your reputation.
10. Keep It Simple
Simplicity of your brand is vital. Your customers need to find it simple to understand and use. You need your brand to be simple to communicate and successful brands are built on simplicity e.g. Easyjet. Brands that make our lives simpler will be successful and sought after in crowded markets where the brand can become the differentiator.