Branding is a unique art that is essential for all companies, especially in a crowded competitive marketplace. Creating a brand enables a company to set itself apart from every other competitor by creating a perception of its goods or services beforehand.
The branding journal defines branding as the process of giving meaning to a specific organization, company, product, or service by creating and shaping a brand in consumers' minds.The objective is to attract and retain loyal customers and other stakeholders by delivering a product that is always aligned with what the brand promises.
Branding is a very powerful tool that can make the most mundane things outstanding. Water, for instance, is one of the most consumed items in the world. It is also one of the most accessible things in the world. However, through branding, we have seen water bottlers differentiate themselves and charge a premium price for a readily available resource.
Despite its uncanny ability to make the existence of a company stick in the heart of the audience, there have been questions regarding the importance of branding to SMEs. People often ask, "Is having a good brand important for an SME business?"
The answer is yes! Branding matters regardless of the size of the business. Why does branding matter to SMEs? As earlier stated, a strong brand allows a company to be differentiated from its competitors in the market. Here are more reasons for you to invest in branding: Strong brands enhance business performance primarily through their influence on current and prospective customers, employees, and investors· Branding has been a part of the marketing strategies that have affected an amazing push and growth on the performance of businesses around the world·
It provides an opportunity for businesses to build trust by delivering on the promises of their brand. With branding, SMEs can attract top-quality talents by demonstrating what their company offers which a larger corporation might not offer. Note however that branding is one thing, maintaining a strong brand that will keep your company glued to the heart of your customers is another.
Building your brand when a business is set up, it builds a reputation, whether good or bad. It is at this point that the initiation of branding should come in, to control what the reputation will look like. Hence, it is recommended for businesses, especially SMEs to start branding the moment a business is being set up.
Here are some key considerations for building the right brand for your business:
Embarking in the branding process is impossible without a branding strategy. This should form part of your overall business strategy.
The purpose and mission of the business must be clear. When this is well defined, the core values to be communicated to the entire world will be well structured and stated. It is necessary to choose a suitable voice that is understood by the audience to register the brand in their minds, thus making yours the preferred brand for your target market. When a company is set to build its brand, some inevitable questions must be asked to carry on. Questions like; who am I? How do I want my customers to feel? How am I different? How do I come across? What do I want to achieve?
Who am I?
This is the kind of impression and picture created in the heart of the customers about the company.
What do I want to achieve?
The question of what to achieve can be derived from your vision, mission, purpose, and values.
These three things must therefore be well defined.
How do I come across? The techniques to be adopted while communicating your values need to be defined as well. As a business owner, you must be able to pinpoint words and terminologies to be used to describe your industry, products, and services to your customers.
How am I different? Here, any entrepreneur or business owner should know what uniquely stands the business out. This is where a conclusion on how the customer sees the business distinctively is made. It's essential to identify and develop the key differentiators. These differentiators become a robust set of unique features and benefits that will form the basis for establishing and maintaining the business’ competitive advantage.
How do I want my customers to feel? This is also a vital aspect of branding; knowing the feeling your company will evoke while customers interact with you. Right now your brand is making the people important to its success feel one thing or another. The question is, are those feelings helpful or a hindrance? Actions need to be taken to make sure that these feelings are positive.
What makes a strong brand? In deploying your brand strategy, below are some of the factors with which to measure its strength: An ability to condense the peak performances of your company, thereby making them tangible over a long period.
Clear brand core values, an unambiguous positioning, and a long-term brand strategy, a consistent voice creates a memory in the heart of your audience. This voice can be professional, informal, sophisticated, simple, conservative, a bit sketchy, etc., and must be consistent on blogs, sites, social media platforms, emails and even ads.
Branding is a critical success tool for all businesses. If well deployed, it can be the difference between a struggling business and a successful business. Business owners must therefore dedicate resources to building and maintaining a strong brand.
Beyond just building the brand, Business owners must believe in their brand and what it represents regardless of what competition is doing. The company culture must also reflect the brand as staff are the company’s biggest brand ambassadors.
Do these, and your company just might take over the market!
Author- Gbolahan Owoeye