Building a brand is not a gimmick or fluke, marketing for deep positive branding is a necessary part of business. If marketing with integrity is at the core of your business, you can develop branding strategies that are customer focused built on your values.
Branding Strategy #1 - Branding through top notch customer service
A major aspect of branding for any business is the customer's experience from first learning about the company to actually using the product. Competitive pricing, quality return policy and programs to generate customer loyalty all add up to effective customer service. Running a business with integrity includes asking for customer feedback, efficiently handing customer complaints and truth in advertising, your brand's essence is based on the promises made with the initial branding. From the onset, give your potential customers your brand's promise in the simplest terms possible THEN live up that promise - that IS customer service!
Branding Strategy #2 - Consistent visual branding
Visual branding is very powerful. Both online and offline branding is built on your use of logos, banners, tag lines, packaging, business cards, advertising and direct marketing tools. Even if funds are limited, you can strive to be consistent AND creative with your visual branding efforts. As your business grows, invest in creating a visual logo that can be built into all aspects of your business. Remember that your brand's promise and personality is most effective if your customers can mentally CONNECT your logo with your business.
The use of a trademark is an integral part long term visual branding. A trademark also protects your business in the long run. Building your brand with a trademark occurs when you convey you are a serious contender for their business. When your potential customer is on the fence between two companies seemingly equal companies, a trademark can influence their choice. Your customer service from sale to repeat sale will help keep them loyal customers but getting that initial foothold will either make or break your business.
Branding Strategy #3 - Branding through relationships with your customers.
Through building relationships with your visitors and customers, you will create deep connections that compel them to return to you for future business. Granted many customers buy based on price or brand names regardless of the environment or customer relations BUT if your business is built on customers rather than sales ~ you will learn the power of branding through relationships. Essentially, it comes down to what your business offers. A service business can only thrive when you are able to develop strong professional relationships with your customers. If you run a website that offers digital products with little human interaction then you may discount the relationship aspect. Smart business? I don't think so. Customer loyalty and word of mouth recommendations come from customers impressed with your product, service and the way they were treated by you and your team. That's the bottom line. The long term benefit of connecting with your customers definitely outweighs any short team business success.
Branding Strategy #4 - Choose your branding and marketing strategies based on your potential customers.
Personality branding lifts a business apart from the competition and above similar business with the human element of the business. Your brand's "personality" is made up of the human aspect of your brand. What human attributes do you WANT you're branding to project? Think of the customers you seek. Consider the human traits that will draw them toward your brand. Does your brand project warmth, fun, wit, efficiency, imagination, maturity or thriftiness? The human elements you convey in your marketing and branding will be key to reaching your target market. Investment bankers often use branding strategies that convey steady, mature, serious and bottom line thinking because those are what their potential customers seek.
On the other hand, viral branding works best with businesses that tote themselves as cutting edge, trendy, hip and fresh like Apple computers, cell phone companies and even credit cards.
While sensory branding is built on the full experience of the customer, you may make the sale but the customer's TOTAL experience is what provides the branding you seek. Although sensory branding occurs after you make the sale, sharing customer testimonials that relate their own total experience with your product or services will help get the first sale. When their own experience closely matches the testimonials, the branding will be further deepened for them. Because branding helps customers make a choice, deep positive branding is your goal.
Branding and marketing your business is a big venture. Spend time each week on building your brand. Your brand consists of the qualities others assign to your business. Your business offers something - but starting a business alone does not mean success. Success comes when others look at your business in its entirety as VALUABLE and DELIVERS.
How will you know when your branding efforts have succeeded? When the experience of doing business with you fulfills the Brand Identity you set out to develop. Essentially, it comes down to the customer's experience. When your business is living up to your brand's essence, consistently and with honest business practices...you will know you have succeeded in building your brand! Profit margins aside, you will know you ARE a successful business owner.