If you’re wondering how your business can stand out in today’s increasingly competitive marketplace, then you need to start branding your company.
With today’s technology and innovation, society is becoming dominated by information and speed. Thus, products and services are no longer protected against imitation, and being “unique” is no longer a sustainable competitive advantage; as soon as a new product is launched, a competitor will put a similar product on the market at a lower price.
A corporate brand – made up of components that define who the company is, what it does, how, and why it matters – is not so easy to copy. It is one of the most valuable assets of a business and needs to be carefully crafted to ensure it properly and authentically represents the business.
No matter what stage of growth your business is at, it’s important to perfect your branding from top to bottom, but knowing how, and where to start can be tricky.
So, you want your business to stand out from the competition? Here’s what you need to know to start building your brand today:
nWhat is corporate branding?
Corporate brand-building is the art and science of building awareness, loyalty, preference and value for companies directly, as opposed to the product brands they manage and market.
A corporate brand exists to express the company’s mission, vision and business strategy, simply put, your brand is your promise to your customer. It tells them what they can expect from your products and services, and it differentiates your offering from your competitors.
Why does this matter?
You must give people a reason to choose your business over the competition. Branding is the strategic process of establishing both the tangible and intangible attributes, which give it its own identity and differentiate your offer from competitors.
First, it is important to define your brand.
Defining your brand is like a journey of business self-discovery. It can be difficult, time-consuming and uncomfortable. It requires, at the very least, that you answer the questions below:
What is your company's mission?
What are the benefits and features of your products or services?
What do your customers and prospects already think of your company?
What qualities do you want them to associate with your company?
Do your research. Learn the needs, habits and desires of your current and prospective customers. Understanding those things helps determine what kind of media your potential customers are consuming, what motivates them, and where they “live” online.
Having that information helps develop a compelling, effective brand because it helps you reach the right people.
nOnce you've defined your brand, how do you get the word out? Here are a few tips:
Get a great logo. Place it everywhere.
Write down your brand messaging. What are the key messages you want to communicate about your brand? Every employee should be aware of your brand attributes.
Integrate your brand. Branding extends to every aspect of your business – how you answer your phones, what you or your salespeople wear on sales calls, your e-mail signature, everything.
Create a “voice” for your company that reflects your brand. This voice should be applied to all written communication and incorporated in the visual imagery of all materials, online and off.
Develop your elevator pitch. Write a memorable, meaningful and concise statement that captures the essence of your brand in 2-3 sentences.
Design templates and create brand standards for your marketing materials. Use the same color scheme, logo placement, look and feel throughout. You don't need to be fancy, just consistent.
Be true to your brand. Customers won't return to you – or refer you to someone else – if you don't deliver on your brand promise.
Be consistent. This involves all the above and is the most important thing to remember. If you can't do this, your attempts at establishing a brand will fail.
Because defining your brand and developing a brand strategy can be complex, consider seeking expert help to ensure the long-term success of your company.
About Stingray Advisory Group LLC: Stingray Advisory Group LLC is based in Grand Rapids, Michigan and a proud Local First member. By creating dynamic customized solutions for business growth, we empower businesses and entrepreneurs with the tools to further their development. To learn more or schedule a consultation, visit www.stingrayadvisorygroup.com. Follow us today on Facebook, LinkedIN, Google+ and Twitter for more helpful tips!
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