We all come across phrases like "I only use branded products" or "I only trust so and so brand when it comes to buying such products" or "I am not happy with the product I bought; maybe I should try using your brand's items." We use the term "brand" in our everyday lives, almost for everything!
But what is a brand? Is it the logo? Is it about the colors that are used? Or is it all about the different types of marketing materials and strategies a company offers! Perhaps, it is how the business is being showcased to the people through social media. There are many thoughts about the same. In reality, 'branding' is all of these things and much more than that.
Branding is about getting people to accept, trust, or believe that the product/service a company provides is the best for them. Basically, it's about doing everything you can do as a brand to make sure that the relevant people think about business in the right way. I have put forth the 3C strategy for business branding. We will go through each of these in detail.
Here are the three core steps you can follow to build a brand for your business:
• Building a long-term and long-lasting relationship with the customers
• Communicating your brand strategy effectively
• Consistently trying for your brand awareness
The 3C's of brand building
One of the first things one needs to understand is that just because they own a brand, it doesn't mean that they are the only ones in charge of it. In today's two way society, customers have as much impact on the brand as a company does. They are the ones that consume the products/services a business is offering. So, creating a successful brand is mainly dependent on the ability of a company to build a loyal customer base.
The starting point for a company to create a loyal customer base is to define their target audience and identify their unmet needs. Thus, you should do thorough market research through effective communication with the customers to gain their understanding. Once you know what you want, you will be better equipped to shape and offer a value proposition in response to the customers' needs.
Just in case you don't have an idea of what a "Value Proposition" is, let me tell you that it can be defined as a statement of functional and emotional benefits that provides value to the target customer. Having a value proposition will help you to build and maintain a relation between the brand and the customers. It will also drive the customers to take their purchasing decisions.
Once the data is collected through extensive market research, and the value proposition is formed through it, the next important aspect of branding the business is to communicate it and create brand awareness effectively. Through active brand communication, companies can inform, persuade, enlighten, teach, remind, and enrich the knowledge of their stakeholders about their core values, fundamentals, strengths and offerings of their products/ services.
Today, as there are several devices through which communication is transmitted, any brand must be easily accessible and easily shareable. Not only that, but the content that is created for branding should be relevant and up to the mark to get desired results. Give your consumers something to talk about! People love to discuss their brand experience, but only if it is fantastic or out of the box.
There are multiple tools you can use to communicate and increase brand awareness. Websites, blogs, social media, direct mails, trade shows, print, TV, and online advertising are some of the examples. Nowadays, as multiple means of communication are available, it is significant to identify which tool should be leveraged to attain a practical impact.
To be consistent is to be reliable, and being reliable means that you are also recognizable. Brand consistency is the process of delivering the same brand message, voice, and visual elements in every graphic and piece of content. It ensures visibility and recognition within the target audience groups and helps to solidify the brand position.
As mentioned above, there are multiple ways with which a business can carry out brand communication. However, the brand must not be left open to a variety of interpretations and customizations. A continually changing brand personality cannot help to develop a loyal and trustworthy customer base.
To achieve consistency in your branding, you should develop brand guidelines. Such guidelines are a set of rules of how and when a company can use its brand assets to portray their brand. Brand assets are visible parts of brand identity like logos, colors, fonts, tone, and voices.
Creating a brand style and usage of guidelines will ensure all the messaging put across is on-point and consistent.
The brand style and directions can be referred to at the time of planning all the content and creating marketing efforts. It will help not only the marketing department but also other sections during communication with the stakeholders.
The Bottom Line
To conclude, I would like to reiterate that a brand is what people will remember most about your company. So it must be representative, reliable, consistent, and instantly memorable if you want to make a lasting impression. Also, "branding" is not a one-step system. It is an ongoing process, and of course, is not going to substitute your company's core work. So, the quality of products or services you produce is what is going to decide the success, but the correct branding will help to amplify the efforts and aid in the growth of the company.