I talk to many business people every week, and one of the recurring topics I get asked about all the time is: why businesses (no matter how small) need to spend money and time developing a brand strategy?
My initial response is to find out what a brand means to them, and typically most tell me they think it’s about designing logos, colours, and snazzy brochures. Which of course it is in one aspect, but it’s so much more than just the visual representation of your business.
Your brand is the very essence of your business values from which a visual identity grows. Most people approach this exercise from the opposite direction than they should. They try to establish a fancy logo, or choose their business’s colours first. Establishing a strong brand is much more about aligning your businesses values with those of your customers and communicating this with them in order to establish a positive relationship.
The visual assets within your brand should act as tangible reinforcements of your business values. The power of these assets comes directly from the beliefs, values and the standards that you set for your business.
Some Benefits of a Strong Brand Strategy:
- Sets you apart from your competition
It’s pretty tough out there and if you want to be competitive its important to ensure that you stand out from the crowd.
- Promotes recognition
In today’s crowded marketplace, your customers have become more brand aware than ever. Ensuring that your brand is instantly recognisable helps your customers feel confident purchasing your products or services.
- Tells people about you business values and beliefs
Everything about your business is part of your brand; the way you answer the phone, your marketing materials and the level of customer service you or your staff provide to your customers is all part and parcel of your brand identity.
- Generates referrals
With a strong brand identity, happy customers tell their friends about their positive brand experiences. However they can only do this if the brand is recognisable, and memorable.
- Your customers will know what to expect
Brand strategy done well enables you to provide consistency across your business and customers like consistency. It puts them at ease and gives them confidence to buy your products.
- Helps you make positive emotional connections with your customers
An effective brand strategy enables you to make positive emotional connections with your customers. Making a purchase of any kind is much more an emotional experience than a rational one. Aligning your values with theirs, and reflecting this through your brand helps your customers feel happy and confident about buying from you.
- Creates a road map to stay focused
Having a clear strategy helps you stay focussed and keep to your goals. A strong brand can guide your marketing efforts, keeping a consistent message and saving you time and money.
- Provides your business with value
A strong brand can add value to your business well beyond it’s physical assets. There are plenty of examples of this, companies like Nike, Coca-Cola and Apple whose brand value greatly outstrips that of their physical assets, very powerful stuff!
So to conclude, having a strong brand is essential in todays marketplace if you want to be successful. Its really no longer a choice, but a necessity. A strong brand provides a backbone and substance for your business as it forces you to think about your customers: their wants and needs and how you can align your brand with their values. It creates a positive platform from which your customers can have confidence in your products and services and keep coming back to you for more.