Corporate Branding is the most effective form of advertising because it conveys meanings and feelings, not just a brand name, quantity, or price.
A strong brand creates customer loyalty and generates higher profit margins.
The goal of any good business is to win a customer for life – this is only possible by constantly striving to maintain the value and reputation of the business by ensuring that products and services are delivered in an effective manner. With a series of guidelines, his article will help you formulate your branding.
Why Company Branding Is Important
Branding allows you to stand out from the competition. It’s a way to remind customers who you’re and what you offer and to make them feel good about buying from you.
In this context, it’s easy to see that branding isn’t only important, but absolutely essential.
In today’s highly competitive marketplace, having a brand that sets you apart from your competitors is essential.
Your brand represents who you are and what you stand for. It’s important that your brand is consistent so people can recognize you and trust your offerings.
10 Important Guidelines In Branding
Brand communication involves many aspects before brand design and the creation of marketing materials. A successful brand should provide the best possible brand experience. As Simon Sinek puts it:
People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe.SIMON SINEK
1. Brand Awareness
The main purpose of branding is to create a lasting relationship between a customer and your business, whether they buy your product or service or just know and trust your name.
Good branding helps people remember the products and services offered by a company, what they look like, and how they’re delivered. It helps customers see the brand value and tells them how it benefits them.
A strong brand builds an emotional connection with customers, leading to customer loyalty.
By building brand awareness, companies gain a reputation for providing excellent products and services that meet their customers’ needs, and they tend to attract more highly qualified employees.
If you look at big companies like Coca-Cola, Walmart, or Apple, they all have one thing in common: their message is consistent.
It’s no secret that companies with high brand recognition have a competitive advantage over smaller, less well-known companies because people are more likely to buy from a company they know and trust. That’s why it’s so important to get your company’s branding in order.
2. Corporate Identity
If you’re planning to start your own business, or if you already have one, branding is a very important aspect. Many entrepreneurs overlook the importance of strong branding and focus only on their products or services. You need to learn how to create a memorable and recognizable corporate identity so that people can remember your brand years from now.
To create your brand identity, it’s important to be clear about who you’re as a company, what your mission and vision are, what values you stand for, how you want your customers to perceive you, and why they should buy from you. Once you know all that, you know your brand personality – then it’s time to translate all that into visual images and brand communication that represent your business.
Your brand personality can be interpreted in different ways by different people, and that’s where the fun begins! It’s up to you to decide if you want people to perceive your brand as fun, conservative, quirky, professional, etc. This is where brand design comes in – it’s used everywhere, such as on business cards, websites, social media pages, public appearances, etc., but most importantly, it represents what your brand purpose stands for.
3. Brand Purpose
One of the biggest challenges is determining your brand purpose.
Many of my clients start out thinking they are clear on this, and then when we dig deeper into it, we often find that the brand purpose hasn’t really been defined in a way that the target audience can understand.
That’s a problem because people need to understand why they should buy from you and how your product can solve their problems.
Brand purpose is why you exist as a company. Your brand purpose determines what you stand for and what you want to give back to society.
It’s important to define a brand purpose because it helps align all the other building blocks of your brand in a meaningful way. If you’re still confused, don’t worry. You can start by asking yourself the following questions:
- What do you stand for?
- What are your core values?
- What are your beliefs?
- Who is your target audience?
- Why do they need your help? Do they really need it?
- How do you want them to feel about your brand?
Once you’ve answered these questions, create a brand statement that embodies the answers to these questions and represents your true brand purpose.
Write it down and keep it in a place where you can easily refer to it when creating content or making decisions about your brand. It may take you longer than you expect, and that’s normal. It can even be a good sign because it means you’re giving it serious thought and likely coming out stronger.
4. Brand Story
If you don’t see the value of brand stories, it’s because you’re not looking at them from the right angle. Many entrepreneurs think that the most important thing is what they sell. This is a misconception.
When other companies are selling the same products you are, it’s your brand story that helps you stand out from your competitors and attract loyal customers who’re willing to pay more for your products and services.
The story you tell needs to be consistent across all your marketing channels, including your website, SEO, social media, and emails.
Your brand story is also an asset you can use to get money from investors or venture capitalists. With a strong brand story, you can find funders for the next phase of your business, whether it’s opening new stores or hiring new employees.
The most important thing about a brand story isn’t only the content, but also how it makes people feel when they hear it. Your company’s story should evoke positive emotions.
A solid and authentic brand story gives people an idea of your brand purpose and what they can expect from your products or services. This makes it easier for them to envision themselves as customers, which in turn attracts them to your business.
During this process, you’ll be asking yourself questions you haven’t thought of before. You’ll find plenty of time to think about your goals because the answers aren’t always easy. Even though we like to think of our business as part of ourselves, it’s important not to confuse the two.
That’s not to say it’s wrong to “follow your dreams”; in fact, it would be better for all of us if more people did just that. But it’s helpful to remember that there are two parts to our lives: the part that directly involves how we make money, and the part that doesn’t.
As you think about your brand goals, take some time to distinguish between these two parts. It’s not only important to know what your goals are for your business, but also what they aren’t.
Your brand goals will reflect your short- and long-term needs. Let’s break this down into a few actionable items:
- Conduct an SWOT analysis of your business, product or service. What are its strengths and weaknesses? What opportunities does it offer? What threats does it face?
- Create a brand personality profile. What do you want your brand to be known for? Are you edgy, fun or professional? How would your customers describe your brand personality?
- Define further your target audience. It’s important to think about who you want to target. Do they live in a certain city? Do they belong to a certain age group? What’s their income level or education level?
- Determine the goals of your business. Ask yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing and what you want to achieve in the long run. Write them down and review them regularly as your business evolves and changes.
- Create an ideal customer persona. This can be a mix of different people who represent your company’s target audience, but it should include all the details about what makes this particular group of people tick and how you best interact with them.
6. Brand Positioning
Many brands simply don’t think about their positioning. They’re too busy being everything to everyone to understand who they’re and what they stand for.
If you try to appeal to everyone, you’ll end up appealing to no one. The result is a brand that lacks focus and clear direction, which in turn means your business likely lacks focus and direction.
Positioning helps you make decisions about your marketing mix and helps new customers find you. If you don’t know where you fit in the marketplace, or if people have trouble categorizing you as a company they already know, how can you expect them to buy from you?
Differentiation is a very effective way to position yourself in the marketplace.
You differentiate yourself by highlighting a unique selling proposition (USP) or a key advantage that your business offers over others. These are things that set you apart from your competitors and help people remember why they should buy from you and not your competitors.
- Apple = elegant design, luxury, high-end technology.
- Disney = family fun, magic and a good time for all.
- Barbie = girls become strong, regardless of ethnicity or style.
Many companies fail to effectively plan their marketing strategy because they don’t consider the role of positioning.
Positioning is a critical aspect of any marketing strategy and helps you identify your target audience and effectively communicate your brand values. It gives you a competitive advantage and helps you promote your brand to the right consumers.
7. Brand Strategy
A brand strategy encapsulates all the things that make up a brand and turns them into an actionable plan. It’s an agreement between the company, its executives, and its customers. It links the brand to your vision, mission, and goals. And it defines how you’re going to achieve those goals.
The goal of a brand strategy is to gain a competitive advantage by giving consumers what they need or want in a way that resonates with them. So before you start developing your marketing materials, you need to think about what makes your brand different from other similar brands out there.
There are four main dimensions to your brand strategy:
- Brand personality: as mentioned earlier, a strong personality helps sell the product more easily because it creates an emotional connection between a person and their perception of the brand purpose. A strong personality, expressed through advertising campaigns and other marketing activities, makes your company more memorable and easily recognizable compared to the competition.
- Brand positioning: In a competitive environment, each product has its own position in the market. The brand’s position is the position it occupies in the minds of customers. It can be leading, running with or occupying an extreme niche.
- Target customers: Again – who’re they, what do they think, what do they expect from your product and why should they buy it?
- Brand Story: How you want to be addressed by customers, how you want to be perceived in the market.
8. Brand Marketing
Once you’ve identified your core brand attributes, it’s time to pull them together into a workable marketing plan to boost your brand image.
Your brand’s visibility and your brand communication need to be built on a foundation of quality content that engages your target audience where they’re looking for information about products and services like yours.
The most effective way to do this is to create original content – blog posts, videos, public speaking, podcasts, social media advertising, etc. -that speaks to the needs of your target audience.
Once your brand is established and has found an audience, consider how you can leverage that value to retain customers and prospects. Remember, a strong brand alone doesn’t guarantee success, but it does increase your chances of making a difference.
9. Brand Advocacy
Brand advocacy is the positive word-of-mouth that occurs when customers and other stakeholders, such as employees, partners, or investors, talk about your brand. It’s what they say when they like or dislike something about your company, product, or service.
Because today’s consumers are more informed than ever, they want to be sure that what you’re selling them is of the highest possible quality. That means brand advocacy is more important than ever.
Brand advocacy can take many forms – from a satisfied customer telling their friends about their experience to a team member praising their employer for their good performance, to an investor sharing their excitement about how well the company is doing.
Brand advocates can also be valuable sources of information for the company, not only about areas where the product needs improvement but also about where it stands out from the competition.
It’s important to identify brand advocates because they’ll always have something good to say about you that can help improve your business. The following steps will help you identify these advocates:
Step 1 – Identify Your Brand Advocates
Step 2 – Thank them when they point out your weaknesses.
Step 3 – Thank them when they point out your strengths.
Step 4 – Ask them what else they’d like you to do.
After you’ve done the first three steps, it’s time to listen to your brand reps’ suggestions.
Don’t be surprised if they ask for more of something they really like, or if they’re not happy with something you’re doing. Constructive feedback will help you improve your brand strategy and brand image.
Whatever the situation, you should definitely address it so they know their opinion is important and you’re listening.
10. Brand Loyalty
In today’s fast-paced, highly competitive marketplace, brand loyalty is more important than ever. A loyal customer is more likely to spend more money at your business and less likely to switch businesses.
As a business owner, you should continually strive to build this loyalty by offering excellent products and services while developing a strong, recognizable brand voice in your community.
To build good brand loyalty, you need to be organized in your corporate branding:
Strong Brand Management
Make sure you have a good brand book with all your research that your team can refer to when developing brand awareness campaigns.
Some examples of what a brand book includes:
- Brand Personality
- Brand Identity
- Brand Story
- Brand Voice
- Brand Value
- Brand Positioning
- General Brand Guidelines
- Company Branding Guidelines
- Product Branding Guidelines
- Brand Standards
- Brand Assets
- Brand Equity
- Target Audience
- Brand Design Guidelines
Effective brand management is the root of building a successful brand.
Effective Brand Communication
It may sound trite, but most people have a strong attachment to products or companies they really like.
When people feel connected to something or someone, they’re willing to do whatever it takes to not only support that company but also defend it against criticism and attacks.
That kind of customer loyalty and support can be hard to earn, but once it’s there, it will last a long time!
Brand Experience Consistency
A potential customer will measure your brand promise by the fact that you offer the right prices for the right quality.
A strong brand promise isn’t the only factor contributing to brand loyalty. The consistency of your advertising tagline is just as important as the consistency of your customers’ brand experience.