How to Effectively Brand Your Business

How to Effectively Brand Your Business

Whether a business or a non-profit entity, a sole-proprietorship or a large corporation, your brand is at the foundation of successful marketing efforts. But your brand doesn’t start with your logo because it is much more than that. You have to know your business identity before you can select fonts or logo elements. Your brand is what people know and feel about your business. Reputation is as much a part of your brand as the quality of the products and services you promote. Reflecting on these 5 areas of brand development, take another look at your current strategy and see what needs to change in more completely establishing your brand.

The Emotions. What you sell isn’t your brand. When customers purchase your products, they are left with feelings of satisfaction, contentment…and sometimes buyers’ remorse. If what goes home with your customers doesn’t leave them with a positive feeling in the long run, they probably won’t be back to repeat the purchase. Consumers are usually driven by emotion when making purchases.

The Experience. Closely related to the emotional side of buying, the experience of buying is significant in establishing your brand. While your brand isn’t your product, the experience of making a purchase is an aspect of your brand. The music playing in a store, the lighting, the merchandising, and the greeting are all integral to the experience of your customers. They will remember if the shelves were messy, if the music was too loud or if they were ignored. The point is, we remember great shopping experiences, and we remember those not so great. We remember if the store environment makes us feel old, if the store was busy due to mismanagement or if it didn’t meet our expectations. Do all you can to ensure customers have an enjoyable, memorable shopping journey.

The Truth. People are not usually taken in by shallow marketing efforts. When they learn they have been taken, they react by taking their business elsewhere. There are plenty of lessons to be learned from the unethical business and marketing tactics we’ve seen over the years from popular national brands. While its easy to want to overstate the quality of our product or service, the bottom line is that the best approach to marketing is an honest approach.

The Visual. Your logo and your tagline aren’t your entire brand, but obviously they play a crucial role in becoming established in the minds of your customers. You know your favorite brands because their logos vividly come to mind when you think about the experience with their products. You’re drawn in by the quality and your experience with it. As people have an experience with your business, make sure your logo represents what you do in style and quality. Keep it where it can be seen to help people to remember who you are. And while a lot more can and should go into your brand scheme, your logo is the gateway to your brand because it opens doors to more opportunity.

The Difference. Positioning is the key element of branding. What makes your product or service different from the competition? When traveling, I prefer to stop at gas stations like Kwik Trip or Casey’s because of what makes them so different from their competition: clean bathrooms and the availability of affordable food options. The consistency is apparently in each of their locations, a part of their marketing strategy that can’t be ignored. Clearly communicating your brand’s personality – what makes it unique – is key to growing your business.

Branding your business doesn’t need to be an overly complicated process, but these 5 areas of branding will help you to better define who you are and stand out in an among the businesses around you.

Stand Out: What is Your Unique Selling Proposition?

Stand Out: What is Your Unique Selling Proposition?

When you start a business you expect to be successful, so you need a plan. A business plan is really a rational strategy that will help you meet your short and long term goals. It includes a few key areas including: business goals, mission statement, target market, competitive analysis, pricing strategy, promotional plan, marketing budget, action list, and a way to determine if you have met your goals. Key to this plan is your unique selling proposition. In other words, what sets you apart from your competition? What makes your product or service the best available to your target market?

Start formulating your unique selling proposition by answering these four questions:

  • What is my product? (i.e. “skin care cream”)
  • Who is my audience? (i.e. “women over 40”)
  • What do I do well? (i.e. “demonstrating the skin improvements in past and current customers”)
  • What is the problem my customer needs solved? (i.e. “aging skin”)

Answering these four questions will lead inevitably to your unique selling proposition. What is it that differentiates my business and my product from my competitors? What makes my product unique? (i.e. “my product is demonstrably effective for women over 40”)

If you’re not entirely sure that your product is unique, that your service isn’t distinguishable from that of your competition, you likely need to revisit your preliminary questions. Take a few minutes to answer these questions for yourself and see if you need to make any changes to your overall business plan or if you’re on the right track!