Brand building is the process of generating awareness about your products, services or overall business using strategies, tactics and campaigns which create a lasting image in the consumer’s mind and in the marketplace.
Brand building has 3 main components which are
a. Brand Strategy
b. Brand Identity
c. Brand Marketing
Brand building is not an easy task because it involves co ordination and performance on so many levels. The customer only calls a normal product a brand when the company is advertising regularly, it has a fantastic product and the performance over time has been superb. On top of it, if the advertising and marketing communications are able to make a connect with the customer, then branding enters a whole new level with people buying the product because of the brand.
That’s the sweet spot for any business, isn’t it? If you were to launch a new product, over a period of time, you would also like that product to be known as a brand. So how do you implement brand building for your product or organization? Here are some powerful brand building tips for you.
1) Start building a brand only when you are ready
That’s the number 1 brand building tip I have for you. Each company has a maturing period in which it might have the revenue and the product to build a brand. If you launch brand building activities but do not have the revenue or the supply to support these activities, then your brand can fail. (Example – Flipkart Big billion day)
For example, if a festival is just around the corner, and you have the revenue and product in place, then you can immediately go for promotions so that customers get more aware about your product and begin to recognize it. Consequently, if you advertise and you don’t have the revenue for the ads to run its full course, or if the ads run and you don’t have the products ready, then there is no use of the efforts spent on Brand building.
2) Be passionate about brand building
You cannot build a brand halfway. If you are building a brand because “others are doing it” then you are wrong in your branding approach. You need to understand the core strength of your company and you have to be committed to branding. This means no excuses and complete focus on brand building activities. The best brand building tip I can give you is that the branding should come from your heart.
3) Believe in your own brand
I might be reiterating the same point, but if the branding efforts are coming from your heart, and if you don’t believe in your own brand, then you are fighting a losing battle. If you don’t think your brand can make it, then there are some differentiating factors, or some other problems with the company which are not resolved. Due to these problems, you don’t have belief in your brand. In such a case, it is better to pay attention to the first point. Start building a brand only when you are ready.
BRANDING MAKES A LOT OF DIFFERENCE
4) Build around your strengths
Each product or brand has a strength which it roots for. Goodyear has its durability, Duracell has its long lasting battery, Philips has its home appliances, and Samsung has its smart phones. These strong product lines, when involved in brand building, can give a boost to all the different products in your product portfolio.
The Brand building tip here is that you should play around your strength and make it the face of your brand. When the customer, through his usage, confirms that the product is strong, he will start trusting all the other products of the same brand, even though they have not been promoted to him. However, if the first experience is bad, the customer is unlikely to try anything else from the same brand house.
5) Improve your weaknesses to build a stronger brand
If a customer gets attached to your brand when you advertise your strengths, then it is logical, that the more strength you have, the more customers you will get. So in essence, the weaker holes that you plug, the stronger your brand will be. If in your product portfolio, you have products which have technical issues, then you need to concentrate on improving those issues. Many a brands have lost their reputation because they had a cash cow in their portfolio, whereas all the rest were dogs. So you need to improve your strength to have a stronger brand.
6) Add value to your products and services
You need to ask yourself (and also your employees and customers), what can you do to improve the value of the brand. How is the customer interpreting your brand? Is he getting complete value, or for minimal additional cost, can you add more value. Things like a small product enhancement, miniscule product offers, changes in customer service process can add a lot to build up customer satisfaction. Adding such value to your service is the bases of having a strong brand. Look at any bank, and you will notice that they keep looking internally at their processes so that they can plan a better service delivery to end customers.
7) Respond and be reachable
Customers nowadays are very vocal in their dissatisfaction. Don’t be surprised if criticism of your brand comes online through e commerce portals or through the various social networks. It is important that you track your brand mentions so that you can respond to your customers. At the same time, hire a social media agency so that you can be reachable to your customers online through Twitter, facebook or Email. Being reachable is just one part. The other part is responding to your customers and taking feedback so that you know that your customers are happy with you. A single dissatisfied post for a start up brand can affect at least 10-15 customers of your brand. A new movie which has come in the market, might lose 100 viewers through a single facebook post. So you need to be reachable and respond to your customers to build a strong brand.
8) Imbibe the right message in your marketing communications
Just look at some ads of banks, insurance companies or even telecom networks. You will find that, because these are service sectors, the only value they can ad to their brand is through the proper marketing communications. And by proper marcomm, I mean adding value to the statement you are making to your end customers who are watching your advertisement. Your brand values should be reflected in these ads. The best example of such ads is also Apple. Apple is known to focus on innovation and it knows that it has the geek crowd to support it. Hence Apple ads will always communicate innovation. And this creates an emotional connect with their customers. Thus, imbibing the right message in your marketing communications goes a long way in creating brand equity.
9) Stand up during crisis
Many of the brands recently have started social advertisement. Even Levi’s got into the water saving jeans mode. Similarly, brands are standing up during times of natural calamities to help the people. Obviously, only brand building is not behind this rational. Many CEO’s are themselves very good human beings. When terrorism took place in India in the Taj hotels, the then CEO “Mr Ratan tata” himself took a lot of measures to ensure that his employees were cared for, during and after the crisis. Such efforts are remembered by the public for a long time. So have the right safety measures in place so that your internal customers are cared for.
10) Have a strong Online presence
In today’s digital age, you cannot build a brand without having a strong online presence. Many of the top brands across the world are present on all social networks. They have fantastic websites which give users maximum information of their products. In consumer durables and electronics, these websites are also the 24 X 7 salesmen for the company. Thus, today’s digital customer demands that the company have a strong online presence. If he feels the company absent online, he will come to know that there are not many people talking about it, and hence it is not a trustworthy company – YET. So if you are building a brand, you need to build a strong online presence as well.
11) Build relationships
What do you expect in a relationship? That your partner calls you, take cares of you and ensures you are comfortable. The same has to be done when the brand is building relations with the customer. The brand can use CRM, optimize its customer service, improve its feedback mechanism and overall, it has to make the customer comfortable. Look at any top fortune 500 brands and you will find that each brand has a mammoth customer service team. In fact, when you are a top brand, your customer service team brings in more bottom line then the sales team. This is because your investment for repeat customers is very less whereas your investment for customer acquisition is high. A brand which is strong brings a lot of repeat business automatically for the company.
12) Use smart branding techniques
A brand is intangible in nature. It is made tangible with a combination of various brand elements which the marketing manager has to implement on the packaging, the advertisement and overall, everywhere where the brand can make a difference. Branding elements usually involve the brand colors, brand logos, communication medium, celebrity endorsement and other such elements. By using these branding techniques, and finding out the best way to integrate branding in all your processes, you can have a fantastic advantage over competitors.
13) Have patience
Brand building is not like sales. There is no short term target. In fact, brand building is a strategic process and hence it might take decades to give the result which the company desires. Many consumer durable brands and FMCG brands spend a lot of money on their brand building efforts. However, these efforts many fail over and over again. It is only through persistence, and trying various ideas that a brand becomes famous. Thus, a brand manager needs to be patient to handle all the ups and downs of the roller coaster ride that is brand building. Having a plan will help you in achieving the right brand connect with your customers, thereby building a strong brand for your company.
Having high brand equity is the best competitive advantage to have, something which is hard to replace. Hence in the laptop market, you will hardly find anyone other than Microsoft or Apple as an operating system. In mobile markets too, you will mainly find Android and Apple. Notice how Apple is a leader in both the categories. This is because of the value that the brand provides to the end customers.
In fact, Apple brand loyalty is such that customers will buy whichever products the company launches. Now it becomes the responsibility of the brand to launch products which actually provide a lot of value to its customers. In essence, any start up company needs to take out specific time for its branding efforts from the start. If the brand is built, then getting the bottom line that you desire will become easier.
The importance of Brand Building
why brand building is important?
The Brand Building Process is one of the most significant facets of the overall business strategy as a successful Brand Building Process helps the brand building to outshine and stand apart from the competition and plays a very crucial part in creating loyal customers and helps the firm to accomplish the objectives of sales and higher levels of profits.
It is an ongoing and continuous process and truly defines the company’s position in the market and in the minds of the customers and also the company’s vision to attain the business aims and objectives.
The successful Brand Building Process is a continuous, consistent, and an ongoing process owing to the tough and ever-growing competition in the market and the brand building need to make a constant impact on the minds of the customers with their latest offerings of products and services.
The messaging, communication and the experience provided has to be in unison across all the media and promotional channels such as print advertisements, website, social media, online advertising, television commercials, packaging, and content marketing amongst others for the proper registration of the brand building elements and the thorough and top of the mind recall factor.
- It helps to create an emotional connection with the customers that helps to generate the loyalty and affinity towards the brand making the brand building long lasting and fruitful relationship with the customers.
- Once the brand building is successful and well recognized in the market and customers are well aware of its offerings, the company is able to sell its products and services at a faster pace making the cash registers ringing.
- It helps the brand building to figure out the remarkable differences and attributes as compared to its rivals and contemporaries in the market and the entire process facilitates to gain the competitive advantage.
The steps of Building Brand Process
1) Define the target audience
It is very important for the brand to figure out and define the target audience to whom it will cater and sell its products and services. Also, the nature of the offerings is determined or tweaked as per the taste and choices of the target market and audience. The brand building is should help you identify the problems faced by the target audience and meet their needs and requirements.
2) Work on the brand mission
The company’s management, promoters, and other integral members of the team need to sit together, work, and arrive on the brand building mission statement defining on where they want to make the brand reach from the current standpoint and considering the long and short-term business aims and objectives. Upon the arrival of the brand’s mission statement, the company needs to embrace it across all the channels and make the overall market and customers aware of the same through the promotional tools and tactics.
3) Conduct market research and study
Conducting the market research and study is one of the imperative steps to the Brand Building Process as it helps the brand building cynosures enrich their knowledge about the competition in the market, what are their offerings, strengths, values, and the set of customers. Plus this step enables to define the key differentiation factors as compared to the competitors and further facilitates to convince the customers on how the brand building is better than others in the market and what value it can provide through its products and services offered.
4) Create value propositions
In continuation to the above step of the Brand Building Process, it is necessary to create the value propositions of the brand building goals and its offerings that are unique in nature and are quite distinct from the offerings of the competitors plus the customers need to be enlightened about how the brand building can add value to their lives and work as a beneficial factor.
5) Work on the brand guidelines
The next step involves working on the brand building guidelines that encompasses the crucial elements such as brand building strategy, visual elements, and the tonality of the brand building. The guidelines should complement the nature and objectives of the overall business.
6) Create a brand logo, tagline, and other elements
This step of Brand Building Process involves working on the brand architecture entailing working on the logo, tagline, mascot, color palette, fonts, and typography of the brand in tandem to its nature and offerings. They should be catchy and enticing, grabbing the instant attention of the customers. The logo, tagline, and other such brand elements should be planned and designed keeping the objective in mind that they will be used and incorporated into every marketing collateral and promotional material.
7) Outline the remarkable qualities and benefits of the brand
During the market research and the competitive study, the promoters and brand building managers arrive at the conclusion that that there are quite many brands in the market offering the similar line and nature of products and services as their brand building and hence, they need to outline the remarkable qualities, USP’s, and the benefits that the brand offers to the customers as compared to its contemporaries gaining a competitive advantage.
8) Formulate the brand’s voice
The further step of the Brand Building Process involves formulating the brand’s voice that can be professional, friendly, authoritative, service-oriented, technical, promotional, informative or conservational. It all depends on the objectives of the business, nature of products and services, and the type of target market and audience.
9) Market your brand
Once the above-mentioned steps of Brand Building Process are accomplished, the management and brand managers need to take active steps to market the brand by participating in various promotional events, sponsoring the events, and integrating the brand in each and every aspect of the customer services, marketing, and all the business facets. The brand needs to stand out from the crowded marketplace and leverage on its USP’s, qualities, and crucial distinguishing factors.
10) Be your brand’s biggest advocate
It is important for the management and the brand managers to stay true to the brand building promise and be the biggest advocates of the brand by endorsing it at each and every step. The internal staff and employees can be involved by enriching them about the brand’s values and strengths.
As mentioned earlier, the Brand Building Process is an ongoing process and the brand needs to be present in the market amidst the tough competition and the evolving tastes of the customers.