Every organisation has a reputation. Everyone you meet will form an opinion about your organisation, even if they have not done business with you yet. The challenge is to manage your reputation so that the opinion that people have of you is positive. This is what creates a good brand. And yes there are indeed bad brands – A lot of them
Brands have a number of strategic functions, enabling you to:
– Differentiate yourself from your competition
– Position your focused message in the hearts and minds of your target segments
– Be consistent in your marketing efforts
– Customise your services to reflect your brand
– Deliver your message clearly and quickly
– Project credibility
– Create strong user loyalty
Branding is not all about slick advertisements. Branding is essentially about getting your target segment to see you as the preferred choice. Building a famous brand is not just about what you do; it’s about what you do differently from everyone else.
Building Your Brand
A brand is a promise of the value your clients will receive. In an amazingly complex and competing world–where it is increasingly hard to know what is real and what is not–having your customers not only acknowledge but support the promise of your brand is the key to building a thriving business.
Good Marketing is about adding value – as opposed to apparently good accounting which seems focused on lowering costs. To build a brand, you’ve got to become focused on what you do that adds value for customers. Do you deliver on the promise of your value offer – on time, every time? Do your clients get value by investing in you?
Branding integrates quality, customer service, marketing communication and value to present a unified message about the organisation, its products.
Your brand will integrate all your marketing around a core idea and vision. As a result, you will find it easier to sell yourself, because your message will be uniform and powerful. Every business needs to evaluate its brand identity against the following criteria:
Relevance to the Market
A brand must stand for something that is meaningful to members of a target market. Your brand encompasses the total experience of doing business with you.
Consistency of Behaviour
Customers must be able to depend on the brand to deliver the same experience every time. Because your market experiences your values through your brand, the only way they will truly become loyal to your brand is through your dedication and consistency.
A brand is not a logo or an advertising strategy. “The strength of any brand is in the relationship it has between a organisation and its customers. The stronger the relationship, the more business they will do, and the more likely it is that customers will refer them to their friends and business associates.
Loyalty to the Customer Is Returned
The test of a brand is, in fact, the strength of loyalty it generates. If you have a strong relationship with your target audience, then you have a strong brand and a strong business.