Maybe I am the only one who has noticed, but there is a lot of hype going around about branding and how branding influences your business. So I want to take some time and evaluate what comprises “successful” branding and how your business can stand out through its use.
1. Know your business
You cannot successfully advertise, or market, your brand until you establish who you are. What are your core values? Who is your target market? What makes you unique? Who is your competition? Know what makes your business successful before you start building your brand.
2. Positioning your brand
Once you have established what your brand is, there are three key steps to successful positioning:
- Be unique (be different)
“An over-abundance of look-alike products and me-too services is forcing customers to search for something, anything, to help them separate the winners from the clutter.” (Marty Neumeier, author of The Brand Gap and Zag)
You can’t be found if you’re blending in. This tags with the first point of knowing your business and what can, or does, set you apart. Focus on what you can do as a company to truly distinguish your brand from your competition.
- Be relevant
Any business can produce a quality product or service, have great marketing, yet still be unsuccessful. Study the market, where it is currently and where is it headed. Does your product or service offer your target market current and future options?
- Be consistent
Interbrand (world renowned branding consultant agency) ranked consistency as the most important aspect of successful branding, at 36%. From your management down to the front lines, consistency is vital in all areas of your business. Let’s say you run a clothing store and you sell retro clothing attire. Your branding consists of a “retro” look where all advertising and print material consists of retro clothing, colors, etc. Now someone walks into your store and sees an employee wearing jeans and a Hollister shirt, does this reflect your brand image? Silly example, but you get my point.
Successful branding is more than a logo or some business cards. True success stems from knowing your business, knowing what truly makes you unique (where is your niche), and successfully carrying that image throughout your company. Be unique, be relevant, and be consistent.