Exerting Influence: Create your Brand Strategy for Startups
Standing out amid a massive chorus of competitors is a challenge for many companies today. Want evidence? Look at any newspaper, magazine, TV show or surf the Internet. The number of offers and sales pitches one receives on a daily basis is simply staggering…and yet increasingly ineffective. It’s no wonder, then, why small businesses are seeking new and more effective ways of increasing the influence of their brand management in the marketplace. A strong branding can increase the awareness of a company and its offerings in such a way that establishes strong feelings and reactions and a favourable view towards your product, service and the company as a whole. To create this sort of “brand awareness” in your market, it takes skillful brand strategy know-how.
Your target: successfully out-branding your competitors. This is a continuous battle for the hearts and minds of your customers. The proposition your brand strategy makes should be very compelling, relevant, and unique compared to other competitive offerings. The proposition should be consistently and continuously reinforced throughout all phases of an organisation.
So what entails a comprehensive and effective “brand strategy process?” The answer is that it varies from industry to industry. But here are some very basic guidelines about what makes a good Brand Strategy.
> Build on the inherent values of your brand. This should be the core of any branding strategy. If they’re not clear, get a clear picture of this first. Is your brand about quality? How about excellent communication and customer satisfaction? When you know your company’s values, it becomes evident to everyone in contact with the company: existing customers and prospective customers to B2B relationships and employee relations.
> Create your brand objectives and start a comprehensive branding research. At a minimum, both must be done to establish clarity on the brand’s strengths and weaknesses, the target audience and the competition.
> Discover as much as possible about your target customer. Find out who they are and what their needs and desires are. Make it your mission to get as detailed information as possible on their age, gender, income, shopping habits (online and off). This will give you an idea for what communication medium and content would work to engage your market.
> Create your brand statement, often called the brand promise or proposition. This will state the benefit of buying and use your company’s products or services. It must be clear, engaging and presented in a context relevant to the customer.
> Create your brand promise. Your brand promise is your deliverable and should follow through on the promise—in fact, it would be best if it actually over-delivered. Don’t reuse something a competitor has already promised even if it works for your product or service.
> Create your brand positioning – one that has a positive emotional association in your market for your product or service. This will create want and desire by the mere mention of your brand, product or service name. The result is an improved relationship with your customers which is based on trust, understanding and support.
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