This post will discuss the steps one must take to brand a business, product or service.
A successful long term branding effort can really be the catalyst that drives a small business to a large corporate entity that dominates it's industry and thus the competition.
Below I have outlined the basic steps one must effectively take to successfully build a brand.
The Branding Process
Determine Product, Service, and or Business
Before you can brand something you need to have and know what that something is.
This may seem simple enough but it can be a bit more complicated then it seems.
Branding efforts are long tedious and expensive and never so much so as they are in the beginning during your initial efforts. To make matters worst it is during this period of large upfront costs that you typically see the least amount of benefits in the short term.
It is for this reason that you want to be absolutely sure that you have made sure that you have thought out which products or services you wish to include in the branding effort.
If you include a product that you should not have then it can bring down the whole boat.
For instance lets say you sell baby bottles and baby formula as well as some other related products. Let us also assume that the baby formula is your bread and butter and is what people come to you for ultimately. Just the same it makes sense at the time to brand the baby bottle along with the formula that you are so well known for.
then all starts off well until a year down the road you switch manufacturers and the new one cuts a corner in the process that pertains to the baby bottle. Further it turns out that this attempt to save a few bucks ends up killing a few babies.wow that sounds bad to write. Your whole brand name will undoubtedly go down the drain.
Now If you were to of sold that product under a generic brand or a different company then your bread and butter business would still be in high gear.
These type of scenarios need to be considered very carefully before you decide what to include under the brand umbrella.
Market research is absolutely essential. Before you brand a product or service you need to become intimate with your competition, your future customers, and anything and everything that has anything to do with selling your product.
What is your customers current frustration. What value can you add that your competitor can not. Why will some one remember your name over some other brand.
Develop Brand Message and the Brand Positioning
This is where you really draw out what your overall message and essence of your brand will be. This is what you want your brand to make people think of.
For instance if there is a lot of annoying delays that current consumers must deal with and your product offers a quicker and more reliable alternative then you want to position your brand as such in the minds of your customer.
For example the energizer bunny that keeps going and going. Energizer was capitalizing on the frustration people feel when the battery goes dead in their camera or flash light or what ever.
Even if you have no real physical way to change the consumer experience when using the product or service that you will be selling you can still position your brand in such a way that gives you a big edge over the competition.
For instance a credit card is a credit card all day long but each credit card company typically tries to separate themselves from the rest of the competition in one way or another. Visa is accepted everywhere, Discover is funny because they have pirates and vikings who destroy every day life and they always ask what is in your wallet. American express is exclusive and prestigious.
Develop Brand Identity
Brand identity is the physical pitch of your brand.
Your logo, your creative and promotional materials, the slogan or tag line. It is the means to achieving the position that you want.
before you launch your brand t the public launch it internally. get people pumped with in your organization. Position your brand internally before you attempt to do so externally.
This will help create a sturdy branding base.
After you have the internal support and base strong and sturdy you are ready for the big moment. Your brand's external launch is the start of a long term investment that can pay off in incredible multiples of the actual investment originally made.
Manage Monitor and Monetize
After the launch you are and will continuously support and shape the awareness via tweaks, advertising, and analyzing the branding efforts for as long as the brand is active.
You should continuously and slowly expand the way you use your brand so that you are able to maximize the benefits of your branding efforts.