Building a brand is not about creating a logo, crafting a tagline, developing a "voice" for your communication materials and adhering to brand guidelines. It is a collective of these and much more.
It is imperative for all employees to know that building a brand is not the responsibility of the Branding and Marketing departments. Whatever role an employee holds in the company, he or she contributes to the building of the company’s brand.
Why? Because there is no point in the Branding department crafting a distinct look for the brand and Marketing department delivering a strong advertising programme, when a customer’s experience is thwarted by poor service delivery.
A brand is strong and sustainable only when customers believe in its promise and know that they can count on the delivery of promise time and again. Hence, when building a brand, use the three missions below as guidelines in developing an action plan.
1. Let your customers know you (the brand)
To let others know you, you need to have an identity. What is your identity? What do you stand for? What is the unique thing about you? Who are you here for? Who are you, really?
Dig deep into these questions because they will lay a strong foundation for the brand to be built on.
An identity may be intrinsic in nature, but it definitely has its extrinsic characteristics, and that is where developing a brand’s image comes in. Once you have figured out the answers to the questions above, they will guide you in the creating of logo, crafting of tagline, developing a “voice” for your communication materials and setting of brand guidelines. As these extrinsic characteristics are visual extensions of your identity, they need to be congruent with your intrinsic qualities.
Once you have your identity figured out, it is time to introduce yourself to your target market. This is when your advertising efforts come in. Depending on your target market, your advertising efforts may be solely digital, press and print focused, events-centric or multi-platform integrated. There is no bad advertising channel, just wrong advertising channel. So, make sure you do your research and advertise only where your potential customers are.
2. Let your customers remember you
You have started advertising, but sales are not coming in as fast as desired. Wondering if you should cut expenses by stopping advertisements altogether? Absolutely not.
You should analyse to see if you are advertising at the right places and at the right time, so
that appropriate refinements can be made. However, you should never advertise for a short burst, and then stop and keep quiet.
When it comes to getting into your customers’ minds and staying there, repetition is key. No one is going to remember you if you just advertised on the radio for one week.
And, you definitely want to be at the top of your customers’ mind, because owning that top-of- mind-awareness usually means the biggest market share. Just look at Coca-Cola. Through the years, Coca-Cola made sure it has constant exposure to its target market so that even if someone does not purchase Coca-Cola instantly after seeing a Coca-Cola advertisement, he or she will when a need for a fizzy drink arises.
3. Let your customers choose you repeatedly
Now, you may have made a sale but to be sustainable, you need this sale to become repeated transactions. To get that, you have to ensure every touch point that a customer may come in contact with is on point. Only when everything meets or exceeds a customer’s expectation, will the customer feel the brand’s promise has been delivered and turn to the brand to fulfill his or her need again.
Consistency is also critical because when a customer is disappointed during the second purchase, there may not be another purchase in the future. This is where regular internal and external mystery audits come into play, so that any issue may be nipped in the bud.
As all these go beyond branding and marketing efforts, the responsibility of building a strong and sustainable brand lies in the hands of the business owner, or in the case of a large company, a cross-functional task force led by a top management personnel.
ABOUT THE ARTICLE CONTRIBUTOR
About Vivien Ooi
Vivien Ooi is a content contributor and copy writer, backed with more than 10 years of experience in marketing, branding, events and sales. During her free time, she waxes lyrical about her travels on her blog and Instagram as @chocolate.and.marshmallow.
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