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2 min read

Branding 101: The Power of Branding

Key Takeaways

  • A company’s brand communicates a message about its personality and essence, which can work for or against it.
  • A strongly designed brand can create a positive, cohesive message for a company, attracting customers and suppliers alike.
  • To harness the power of branding, companies need to conduct brand audits, involve employees in the branding process, and define its core competencies and desired customer perceptions.

As soon as you start a com­pa­ny, it has a brand, which devel­ops over time and with expe­ri­ence. The trick is to get this brand work­ing for you. If you realise the pow­er of brand­ing you will nur­ture your brand in such a way that it has a per­son­al­i­ty and becomes the essence of your company.

Cus­tomers and sup­pli­ers will have an opin­ion of your com­pa­ny, based on sim­ple things such as tele­phone answer­ing style, how quick­ly you pay your bills, how your office appears, should they vis­it. All of these deep­er, often uncon­sid­ered lev­els of com­mu­ni­ca­tion are already work­ing for you, pos­i­tive­ly or negatively.

Part II: The power of branding

If you don’t have a plan in place, you should begin to take con­trol of your brand, in order to cre­ate a more cohe­sive and pos­i­tive mes­sage, com­pa­ny-wide. Part of this is obvi­ous­ly your visu­al iden­ti­ty. But first, let’s take a few steps back in the process.

Many com­pa­nies are real­is­ing how pow­er­ful­ly a brand can work in their favour. If I say ‘com­put­ers’, you may think ‘Microsoft’ or ‘Apple’; ‘cola’ and we’re onto Coke or Pep­si. Imag­ine your brand hav­ing that sort of pow­er, not just in your cho­sen mar­ket­place, but globally.

First­ly, a ‘brand review’ or ‘brand audit’ is nec­es­sary. Take a look at what you already have in place, planned or not, and see if you can work with that or if you need to replace cer­tain method­ol­o­gy with­in your company.

Hope­ful­ly, your busi­ness already has sev­er­al cus­tomers and sup­pli­ers, so a good first step would be to find out their opin­ions on your com­pa­ny and ‘brand’.

It’s impor­tant to under­stand how you are per­ceived from the peo­ple you’re hop­ing to attract to your busi­ness. You know what you want to achieve and with whom you’d like to do busi­ness – but do they want to do busi­ness with you?

It is also vital to get employ­ees involved ear­ly in the brand­ing process, as they must be ‘on mes­sage’, i.e. sell­ing your com­pa­ny and it’s prod­ucts or ser­vices in a uni­form man­ner, across the board. It’s no good hav­ing a grand scheme of how your com­pa­ny needs to present itself, but not telling the peo­ple who are actu­al­ly deal­ing with the pay­ing customers.

By involv­ing your staff, you offer them the chance to under­stand the process of the brand review, and increase the like­li­hood that they will buy into any changes that might result from your ini­tial audit.

Define your company

Some key ques­tions to ask yourself:

  1. What are your com­pa­ny’s core com­pe­tences? What are you good at, what can be improved?
  2. How do cus­tomers see you (ask them!) and what do they say about you? Reli­able, good val­ue, expen­sive, cus­tomer-focused, trust­ed, etc.? What words would you like your cus­tomers to asso­ciate with you now and in the future?
  3. Do you see a pat­tern in your client-base? Are you work­ing for organ­i­sa­tions, or sell­ing to cus­tomers, that you aspire to? If not, who would you like to be work­ing with?

Once you have some answers, you should be able to bet­ter define your com­pa­ny, and see if it dif­fers from your orig­i­nal perceptions.

Remain real­is­tic. Your small house fur­nish­ings busi­ness isn’t going to turn into Macy’s overnight! Remem­ber, you need to appeal to your iden­ti­fied mar­ket. As that mar­ket changes over time, your brand will devel­op and mature.

In part III – Brand Val­ues, we’ll look at the core brand val­ues, which define what your cus­tomers can expect from you.

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