Develop Your Brand in 6 Powerful steps!

LightbulbsWhether you are running a business from the kitchen table, garage, spare room or suite of offices there is no getting away from branding.

Brands are not just for the global giants. Surprisingly, brands have become embedded in our culture and represent more than just the product or service.  Branding is emotional, it’s psychological and more critically, it’s part of our sub conscious.

A good business owner knows that creating a powerful brand transcends more than the basic wants and needs of their customers. They know that their customers are looking for more than the functional; they want something different, new and exciting.  But that’s not all.  Brands have to be trustworthy and reliable.

By focusing on the customers’ needs and anxieties and satisfying their emotions and desires this will ultimately help to shape your powerful brand.

So when you design your brand strategy, it’s so important that your customer can find all of these things in your brand proposition.  But that’s not all, your brand needs to provide a consistent, positive experience.

Don’t be scared to compete in a market that is dominated by big brand players.

With that in mind, here is how you can develop your brand in 6 powerful steps.

1.    Create an identity

When you think of Jaeger, Burberry, Harley Davison one thing is clear; they all have a strong identity.  More importantly, that identity is based on the story behind the product.

Take time to think about what is the story behind your brand? Why is it unique? Can you make a powerful brand from your story? Will your start up story resonate with customers to make them buy from you?

What do I mean by this?

Most people are familiar with the Body Shop franchise.  Its core identity is closely linked to the personality of its founder the late British environmental and human rights campaigner Dame Anita Roddick.  From the start, the company placed a strong emphasis on creating beauty products from natural ingredients that were ethically sourced and cruelty-free; which proved very important to their target audience.  The company’s global success has been built on its ethics and over the years, being a mouthpiece for consumer activism and environmental campaigns.

By building their identity around a cause the Body Shop has been able to remain influential by forming an emotional bond with customers who wish to make a difference in the world.

Trust is imperative for brand success.

2.    Create desire

There is no getting away from it, your brand should be a symbol of excellence. Think Rolex; think Aston Martin; think Ferrari.

Customers will use your brand to tell the world they have made it. If customers think something is special or sought after, they will buy it. Make your brand the one that everyone wants, with limited supplies.

A great example of this is the Hermes range of handbags which provokes a deep desire in many women to own one. With prices ranging up to £80,000 even Oprah was told by a shop assistant that she didn’t appear to be someone who could afford one!

3.    Deliver on your promises

If your customers trust you then they expect you to deliver on your brand promise.  It is vital that you deliver on every single promise you make about your product and service.  Failure to do so will result in a loss of trust.

Is this really important? You bet your bottom dollar it is. Trust is imperative for brand success.

Creating a strong brand or a product that people know and love, will mean nothing if your customer service is lacking and your customers don’t trust you.  It’s vital that you take time out to ensure that your brand experience is uncompromisingly consistent throughout all touch points so every interaction fully supports and enhances your brand promise.

4.    Dominate the market

Don’t be scared to compete in a market that is dominated by big brand players.

It’s easy to say “make your offering better than any other brand offering the same services or product; in fact, better than ANY other brand.” But you need to know what to do.  There are some simple marketing techniques that will get you noticed e.g. in a crowded market including competitions, video blogs, hashtag power and creating tribes.   With good preparation and determination you should be able to find your niche and take control.

Social media platforms have become invaluable when it comes to creating dominance in your market.  They have provided an affordable and resource efficient way to reach a global audience in a relatively short space of time.  From Facebook to Twitter, micropreneurs have been able to effectively and profitably reach a worldwide audience.

Let’s take the brands that have embraced Instagram.  Research has shown that businesses have seen just how much the platform’s evolved form of window-shopping can boost their brand engagement and sales!

When you think of a great a product or brand, keep in mind the above advice, and make it better!

5.    An iconic logo

I love iconic brands because without words they inspire an enduring form of affection.

Think Nike, Apple, Harley Davidson and Coca Cola. The majority of people will recognise the logos anywhere, even if they have never bought the product. They are simple designs which represent the company, their story and what they stand for, just by looking at the logo.

Just by looking at their logo they have created a brand experience that stands out from the crowd and gives emotional as well as rational benefits. Let’s take their retail stores.  I have never been to the Apple Store but I know for a fact that their brand proposition is true because they are all about “building insanely great customer loyalty” by creating a fantastic customer experience – and I haven’t even stepped through the doors.  The facts are they are the most profitable store on the planet; attract over 20,000 visitors per week and people camp out overnight to buy the latest products!  All based on their brand proposition.

So don’t under estimate the value of your brand logo.

6.    Get your brand out there

Finally, if you have done all of the above, then get your brand out there! Market your product and advertise to your audience. Make your brand the one that is consistently there in the background, without being bold, brash and in your face. Be the one your customers turn to after they have been let down by the others and worse still, the latest fad.

Design, implement and deliver on your brand correctly and you will be there for many years to come.  Why? Because when customers start using your brand name to describe not only your product or service but that part of the market (Hoover, Google, anyone?) you can stop holding your breath, you’ve made it!

About the author

Sonia Brown MBE is our Business Blogger. Sonia Brown MBE is a business communicator; coach; trainer; writer, uber connector and diversity maverick. She is a branding strategist and contributes to a number of radio shows, magazines and newspapers on women, diversity and enterprise issues. Find out more: Sonia Brown, @soniatalks

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