Creating an effective branding strategy is essential when looking at long term growth for your business. Having a brand people recognise and respect is almost as important as the product or service you offer. But before you begin to build your brand, there are a number of questions you need to ask yourself. The answers to these questions will determine whether or not you have a viable business concept. If you don’t take the time to ask and answer the appropriate questions, you can waste your time, energy, and resources on a product or service with very little chance for success. The following are a few questions you should ask before beginning to building your brand.
1. Who are my customers?
Before you seriously begin to invest your time and resources into creating a product or service and developing your brand, you have to identify who your potential customers are. You also have to understand the size of your market. While many businesses are created to capture a small percentage of a large market it can be viable to aim for a large percentage of a small market.
2. What customers do I need and want?
Understanding what customers you need to be successful is crucial. Depending on your product or service, you may not need millions of customers in order to be a success. Your brand can be designed to meet the needs of a specific market. They could be consumers in a specific geographic region, in a particular income bracket, or fitting some other demographic profile. This will impact your product or service and importantly your branding and marketing efforts.
3. Who are my competitors?
Once you know the product or service you want to offer and the people you want to offer it to, you must then begin to look at your potential competitors. Successful products and services are often created in response to a real or perceived need. Often more than one individual or company is attempting to meet that need. You have to identify the number and quality of your competitors in order to know how to brand and position your company.
4. What is my competitors’ brand position?
Understanding the brand position of your competition is vital. You will be better able to create your own effective marketing campaign and position your brand for success.
5. What’s my value proposition? Is my brand distinctive and relevant to potential customers?
Understanding what gives your brand value and its relevancy to your customer base will help you to know whether or not your brand has a chance for success. It’s also crucial to know if it closely resembles another brand already in the marketplace or if it’s completely unique and easy to distinguish from the competition. This will help to determine the type of marketing campaign on which you will have to embark and what will distinguish your brand from competitors.
6. What comes to mind when people think about my brand?
In order to make a name for yourself in the marketplace, your company, product, or brand must evoke the right feelings and associations in customers. They must trust you and associate you with quality, effectiveness, or efficiency. Some companies aim to evoke nostalgic images in their customers. You must decide what your angle will be and market your brand accordingly. It helps if your brand is the only one people think of in that manner.
7. What functional benefits does my brand deliver to my customers?
In order for your brand to carve out and maintain a solid position in the minds and hearts of your proposed customer base and position itself for growth, it must provide customers with specific benefit they cannot find anywhere else. Also, your brand must offer more benefits. It helps if your company can offer one or more benefits that your competitors cannot match. Those benefits can be incorporated into your branding.
8. What emotional benefits are there that only my brand delivers to customers?
Buying products and services also has an emotional component. Consumers get a particular feeling when they make a purchase. For some it’s simply a sense of satisfaction of find the product or service to meet a specific need. For other purchasing a particular brand may make them feel empowered, patriotic, wealthy, joyful, or have some other emotion. If you understand the emotion your brand evokes you will better be able to market it.
9. What type of personality will my brand project?
A brand is not an image or a selection of colours. It is a living breathing, entity. It is endowed with a particular personality in the eyes of consumers. You help to shape the personality your brand projects. Taking the time to consider what personality you want it to project is essential. A brand which projects the wrong personality may be rejected by consumers not because of what it has to offer, but because of people’s perception of the brand. The personality a brand projects can make or break your business.
Creating the right branding strategy is an important key to success in modern business. You must come up with the appropriate brand development strategy with an eye to both immediate and long-term success. Many a company with a quality product or service offering have failed because they didn’t employ the appropriate brand building strategy.
Building a branding strategy is an ongoing process and successful companies never stop working on their brand strategy. If you are unable to create an effective branding strategy, you will be well-served to find a company which can provide you with a winning brand strategy template. The success of your business depends on it.