In order for a company to be successful, it’s important that they take the appropriate steps to build their brand up so that it functions at a professional level. For this to happen, companies need to create a plan of action to put in place that will allow them to grow and appeal to their target market. This plan of action can be referred to as a brand strategy. Throughout the course of this blog, I’m going to talk about 5 different tips that aren’t necessary for every company to use, but is recommended to be helpful in creating a brand layout strategy.
So let’s start out by asking the question of what is branding? Branding is the promotion of a particular product or company by means of advertising or distinctive design. In simpler terms, it is the process of making your company or products unique and distinctive to the market. In creating this uniquiness, you develop what’s known as the companies identity, which helps consumers to tell you apart from your competition. Once you have developed a strong branding technique, the rest of the branding strategy is a little bit like putting together a puzzle, each individual section of the strategy offers it’s own special feature complied of the value, advertising and marketing, design and other aspects, which fit toegther to build a branding layout strategy that is exclusive to your company.
So now let’s get into the focus point of this blog post, and start talking about the 5 tips on how a company can develop a branding strategy that will display them as reputable and eccentric to their target market.
#1 Discover Your Niche!
Rule number one of course has to be that you need to find what makes you so great as a company. Once you find this, you can develop your companies purpose that will help you distinctify to your target market what makes you stand out from your competitors. This will allow you to draw in customers more easily. Carly Stec from Hubspot talks about the importance behind having a purpose in her article Branding Strategy 101: 7 Essentials for Strong Company Branding. After reading the article, I found her statement about having a purpose to be really compelling, especially the section where she says “While understanding what your business promises is necessary when defining your brand positioning, knowing why you wake up every day and go to work carries more weight. In other words, your purpose is more specific, in that it serves as a differentiator between you and your competitors”. A great example of a company who thrives off the idea of having purpose is Patagonia.
The company follows the intentional concept that Carly discusses in her article. While they look to make a profit off of their products, they are also are passionate about their commitment to sustainability and are super supportive of many evironmental and non-profit organizations to help encourage their consumers to buy products that encourage people to reduce, reuse and repair items.
#2 Consistency is Key!
My second tip is to simply keep it consistent. Consumers like things that are consistent, especially the consumers who are brand loyal to your company. Consistency however does not necessarily mean that your products need to look the same of do the same things, but when it comes to the marketing aspect of the company, consistency is appealing to the buyer. The way you market your company and products is what helps buyers to associate your catchy slogans or creative commericals with the products you make. A review that was conducted by Forbes talks about 6 different companies that are doing everything right when it comes to advertising consistency. One of the companies that they touch on that does a great job at keeping their ads consistent is Capital One.
Althought Capital One uses different celebrities to be featured in their advertisements, they keep everything consistent with their very well known slogan of “what’s in your wallet?”, and people naturally know to associate that slogan with Captial One.
#3 Bring Value to Your Brand!
Understanding the true value of your company and your core product is key when placing a value on your brand. A buyers willingness to pay is one of the most important things to take into consideration when setting your prices for you products. Another thing you need to take into consideration is how much your competitors are charging for their version of the same product. If you feel that your product has a high value, then you might feel comfortable with charging a higher amount for it and not worrying about your competitor. The customers that you are probably targeting with that mind set are going to be your brand loyal consumers who are willing to pay whatever to get the product or brand name that they prefer the most. If you are a company such as Apple, you know that people who love Apple products will pay whatever price you charge since they know they are getting a premium product from a luxury based company, so they don’t have to worry as much of what their competitors will charge since they know their products are of high value.
In an article by Brand Extract, a buyer’s willingness to pay is the main focus of their view on value. Johnathan Fisher states that “The value of perception is very measurable when it comes to product pricing. When two companies sell a near-indistinguishable product, the one with a stronger brand will be able to preserve or even elevate the price point”. The value that is put on a product by a consumer all cycles back to how strong the brand’s awareness is to those consumers, the more well known your company is, the more likely you are be someone who is a price setter for the market and the more profit you will make over your competitors.
#4 Loop in Your Loyal Customers
Sometimes the most effective marketing isn’t something that a company pays lots of money for, but comes from the people who adore your brand and it’s products the most. WOM or word of mouth advertising comes from the consumers who are known as brand loyal. Sometimes when you are constructing a brand layout strategy for your company, gaining loyal customers is one of the strongest aspects to increasing your brand awareness. Believe it or not, in the process of obtaining loyal customers, companies utlize ALL of the tips that I have recommended so far throughout my blog. After reading another article from Forbes about how to increase brand loyalty, some of the first items on the list are to focus on purpose, value and consistency. The article goes into detail explaining all the ways to make and keep your loyal consumers happy with doing things from not spamming them with advertisements to rewarding them for being such good customers. A great example of a company who recognizes their customers for being so loyal would be Starbucks.
Starbucks is very well known for their speciality coffees, however, to their customers, they are well known for their loyalty program. I myself am guilty of being a member of the Starbucks Gold membership program, but being apart of the program is what honestly keeps me going back because I get points for every dollar that I spend at any given store and almost every other time I go to Starbucks I have some kind of reward whether that be a free drink or and certain percentage off.
#5 Embrace Your Competitors!
Competition happens in every single market, no matter what. But competition isn’t always necessarily a bad thing, competition allows companies to rise to the occasion and challenge what other companies are doing in the market. In chapter 9 of our textbook “Marketing Management” by Greg Marshall and Mark Johnston, they talk about the many roles that brands play, especially competitor brand roles. In one section, it states that “in industries with strong market-leading brands, competitors design and build products targeted specifically at the market leader”(Marshall & Johnston, p.248). In most cases of other brands going against the market leader, they tend to focus on leveraging their strengths as well as exploiting their competitors weaknesses. An example of a company in a competitive market would be Ford.
Ford focuses on being considered a tough and manly brand for the every day blue collar American worker. One particular commercial that recently was released for Ford where they talk about all the quality strengths behind a Ford truck, and if that’s what consumers were looking for then that’s the vehicle they should purchase, but if they were looking for a car that had a list of weaknesses they named off that they should buy any other brand except for a Ford. Car brands, especially in the pick-up truck industry are constantly trying to out due all the other companies to show who has the biggest and badest truck on the market.
Overall to recap, the 5 main tips that I want my readers to take away from this blog is #1: discover your niche and purpose for what makes your brand so unique. #2: consistency is key so keep your marketing clean and catchy to draw in an audience. #3: bring value to your brand and show why you have the best products/services to offer. #4: loop in your loyal customers to maintain your public brand ambassadors. Finally, #5: embrace your competitiors because a little competition can be healthy to challenge your brand. Most importantly, I want to know what you would suggest is the most important of the 5 tips I’ve talked about!