Why Branding Is The Most Important Move For Your Business. : ThyBlackMan

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Why Branding Is The Most Important Move For Your Business.

March 2, 2018 by  
Filed under Business, Opinion, Tech/Internet, Weekly Columns

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(ThyBlackMan.comStarting your own business is one of the biggest challenges you are likely to face in your working life. You will enter a time filled with competing priorities as you establish a target market, set up operations and get to grips with the many tasks needed to get your operation off the ground.

So you may not have thought all that much about branding. Or you may have assumed branding was something only blue-chip companies needed to worry about, but the truth is, it’s just as much of a deal breaker for small businesses too.

Far from being just a logo, or an afterthought, your brand needs to be central to your business strategy, at the heart of what you’re doing and why. In fact, a brand is the most important business asset you own, bar none. Here’s why…

Your Branding IS Your Business

Today’s marketplace is truly global, and although the rise of technology has massively levelled the playing field and made starting a business more viable for many individuals, with access to tools, and audience and funding now low-cost and easier to find, it also means that all bets are off when it comes to your competition. And what do you have that sets you apart from the next competitor? The answer always comes back to your brand. If you don’t have a strong brand, you don’t have differentiation. If you don’t have differentiation? Then you won’t have long-term profitability, meaning that your business will not be viable.

Know Yourself, Know Your Audience

With so much choice available at the fingertips of modern customers, what is the route to grabbing their business? Reassuringly in a technology-driven world, the answer is somewhat old-fashioned – values. The values that your company holds, set by you, are what informs the direction your business grows in. Its what makes you authentic, And its what gives you a distinctive voice in a crowded marketplace. Take the time to articulate what you stand for – is it contributing to a wider cause, or simply being the simplest solution to one of your customer’s problems? If you can articulate your purpose, you will find it much easier to connect with customers who find this speaks to them. We now exist in a world of marketing ‘pull’  – where it’s not just about standing on a soapbox shouting about the benefits of your product or service. Successful brands in 2018 build relationships with people – and they can only do that through knowing themselves first.  

Who are you trying to talk to? What are their needs, desires and challenges? How does your business help them to overcome these? Knowing how and why people buy from you is crucial. Don’t make the mistake of aiming to serve everyone to start off with. Focus on a key, niche audience and build your value proposition around them. There will be plenty of time for branching out later on, when you have the business up and running with a steady turnover. Brands don’t just create loyal customers – they also create loyal employees that have something to stand behind.

Designs That Speak For You

Branding that works has stand-out value, and is instantly recognisable in a crowded marketplace. So quality graphic design is not a negotiable element of your brand. But impressive design doesn’t have to be difficult or costly – solutions are scalable to the size and needs of your company. For a small operation, a tool like Canva can provide no or low-cost access to a bank of customisable, high-quality templates that will give even a one-man band a professional look. For companies that have different people sending out various documents, presentations and other communications that need to present a unified look, consider using a digital asset management tool to keep everything consistent. The design you use must speak to your audience, drive recognition and trust in your services. Uniting great design with customer research, the right messages and a great set of core values will be the winning recipe to make you stand out from the competition.

Create A Feedback Loop

No successful company operates in a vacuum – finding the winning formula for success is a complex interplay of macroeconomic circumstance, market opportunity and customer response. So you should always be adapting your marketing strategy to reflect this. The most important thing is to make sure you are constantly listening to your customers. Use any and every opportunity to get their feedback, from in-person surveys after a service has been completed to trialling new ideas via your social channels and asking for feedback with short, web-based surveys. Let your decisions be guided by the feedback you receive, as if you end up moving away from what customers want, you will end up losing out.

The Power of Consistency

If you walk into a McDonalds, anywhere in the world, you know what to expect. Same if you pick up a Coke or order an iPhone. The biggest global brands know that consistency makes them what they are. If your end –game is to develop a business that’s truly sustainable, consistency is what you need to focus on, too. It becomes more than just being known for a product or service – you want to make people feel a certain way. There’s a level at which our purchasing decisions are rational – when its cost-driven for example. But there is also a deeper, emotional dimension, even to why we choose one coffee chain over another.

When you play onto both fronts, you create loyal customers who become advocates for your brand and provide valuable word-of-mouth marketing. We choose brands because we like the way they make us feel. This approach has to extend across all areas – from the service level you give when they come into your shop, to the tone and content of your email communications, to the holding message on your telephone service to how you present your website.So spend time immersing yourself in what you want your customers to think, what you want them to do, and what you what them to feel, across each part of their transaction with you.

Staff Writer; George Brown

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