Bolstering Up Your Brand

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Everything your company does, and sometimes what it doesn’t do can make or break your brand in the business world today. Now, that sounds pretty intimidating doesn’t it? Well don’t fret – because I’m going to share with you, step by step, secrets which will allow you to develop your brand name into something much more valuable than the product itself. So let’s get the ball rolling shall we?

Step 1. Set Apart your brand form the ‘herd’

With all of the choice consumers have on the market these days, it comes as no surprise that we hear so much talk about operating in a “niche market” or as a ‘Purple Cow’. Now, what about those businesses who have really similar products competing against them – how do they profit? Well, they set themselves apart from the competition. This can be done by having a competitive advantage – or having something of value which is hard for competitors to imitate. So, how can a marketer do this? For starters, you can position it away from your competitors using four different ways:

  • By Image: If you happen to own a small restaurant in a more lively suburb, you might decide to give your brand the image that it’s an extremely valuable and open place to go – just like Starbucks. This will allow you to attract more people of your targeted audience to your business.
  • By Category: An example of this might be if you are a personal coach, you might be “THE personal coach to see”, if you are a young entrepreneur. Whilst this may disregard any older entrepreneurs, it will create a much stronger relationship between young entrepreneurs and your brand.
  • By Features: Say that you own a VoIP telephone company like Engin, Skype or Vonage, you could differentiate your brand by offering a unique feature with your service – like an informational product which tells you the news over the phone. This will give your brand the identity of being an informative, business-like brand which is more likely to attract those sorts of customers.
  • By Benefits: A good webmaster might differentiate their product by the benefits their visitors receive by going to the website or signing up for their product. Like, how signing up to learn about Real Estate will improve their quality of life. This will target people who would like a job where they can relax and enjoy life.

These basic types of positioning differentiate your brand from rivals and offer a counter-intuitive way for you to increase consumer trust and their perceived value of your brand. I would highly recommend that you sit down and analyse your strengths and weaknesses within your business then identify your opportunities and threats outside of your business for developing this step. Then you will be able to brainstorm a lot of valuable ideas and use those ideas to help position you away from your competition. Once you’ve got this sorted, you can then move on to reap the benefits of communicating more effectively with your target market – or in other words, get more business.

Step 2. Give your brand it’s very own identity.

Think of your brand like it is a person. What characteristics do you want people to associate with your brand? Here are some ideas to get your mind going…

  • Use Symbolism and imagery to show your product effectively.
    • Take Google for example, their multi-coloured logo is symbolic of their fun-filled organisation, meanwhile the name Google (derived from googolplex) suggests the calculating and complex nature of the search engine’s job is ultimately to simplify information for its customers’ consumption.
  • Identify values which your target market share and then incorporate them into your brand.
    • Coke did a fantastic Job with this when they launched the Coke Zero brand. With their slogan, “Why can’t life have a whole lot more Zero…”, they effectively outlined what the brand’s values were and marketed it to consumers with similar values in a unique and creative way.
    • If you can get in touch with what your customers value, then you have a good chance of communicating with them on a similar level. Try and develop advertisements and products based around what your consumers value, for more on targeting consumers by their values, check out these Roy Morgan Values Segments.
  • Get an effective brand name which is simple, distinctive and uses symbolism to help convey meaning about the brand itself. Otherwise stating the brand’s benefits in the name also works well – especially in the case of Email Cash.
    • The Popular TV Series ‘Big Brother’ is a simple and effective name which implies that there is always someone watching you no matter where you go.

This step is very subjective, and you may want to do some research before putting your foot down. Find out what people associate with your particular industry or niche. If you’re in doubt, look at your competitors to see what else you can do, but be careful trying to imitate them – Although your competitor’s brand attributes may rub off onto your brand, your customers may be confused between your brand and that of your competitor’s.

Step 3. Create and maintain your Brand’s image.

As I said above, EVERYTHING a brand does and doesn’t do can have an effect on what your customers think of you – and this final step is the most crucial step for bolstering your brand in the business world. So by this stage you should have set your brand away from competitors and given it an identity. Now you have to put everything together and give it an image which you will use for everything in your business that your customers come into contact with.

Just think about this for a moment – You’re walking through the city and brands are looking to grab your eye but none of them do… Suddenly there is one which commands your attention. It has everything together, everything matches, it sends the same message in every part of it and it is exactly the type of brand you like. As you keep going to the city, you may even keep seeing the same brands which didn’t get your attention, however when you see that clearly defined brand once again, you recognize it instantly and you begin to trust them more. Just like that old proverb – Familiarity breeds trust.

So if you’re able to coordinate your advertising, your product packaging, your corporate values and anything else a customer might come into contact with, with your brand on it, not only will it be ‘bolstered up’ in their minds, but they will like it more, out of increased trust and similar values to their own. If you haven’t got a powerful brand, then maybe this might be the trick for you…

I hope you find this post insightful and helpful for building up your Brand in business, please feel free to leave comments.

Best of Luck,
Robert Kingston.

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Comments

  1. Great post Robert. I think the hardest part to building a brand is being too close to it though. Sometimes it’s hard to be objective about it (forest for the trees syndrome) that it’s actually harder to define who you are than if you’re an outsider.

  2. Robert Kingston says

    Yeah, I think its difficult because of our perception and how we want to feel that our brand is achieving our desired image – even when it’s not. I think you make a good point in that it’s easier to define a brand as an outsider. Due to that, by asking people their oppinions, you can obtain extremely valuable feedback with regards to your brand. However, I still believe that everything must be taken with a grain of salt.

  3. Good insightful post, Robert.

    Lots of food for thought there. This is definately going into my “Brand Folder” for future reference.

    From a personal reflection, I’m still amazed by how many people think of branding as simply having a cool logo. Such a post deserves to be read by many.

  4. Robert Kingston says

    Thanks Martin, your brand, ePublishingDaily looks like it does an effective job already. I hope to post more articles like this in the future…

  5. Thanks for that Robert, branding is a topic I’m really getting into lately – it could be the difference between you and your competition – especially online.

    Keep writing those kind of posts and you’ll have a long-term fan here. 🙂

  6. What an awesome article thanks so much for your insight, it is so true one really have to market and make something different out of their brand for it to stand out from the rest of the crowd, exactly like how you mentioned Cake and their new product Coke Zero, for me it was like they were marketing it towards the male market and that Coke Light was more for the female.