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Build a strong brand

  • Blog
  • 04 October 2016

A strong and recognisable brand is a cornerstone of any business. It encapsulates the experiences that clients and potential clients will have with the business. An effective brand does a lot of work communicating information about the business: its values, what it stands for, the quality of its services, and its reputation.

A business's brand is interwoven with the activities of that business, from its presence on social media and the kind of website it has, to the tone and content of marketing materials and how they are deployed. Brand building is a serious undertaking.

Build a strong brand

Companies should aim to be unique in brand building. It’s important to think about what makes your business different, what makes it special, what the story is behind your personnel or your creations or what you can do for people. Consider how the brand came into being, and what drives moving it forward.

If you are clear about what you offer as a business, and what your mission is, then this makes it much more straightforward to create a brand that is meaningful and memorable. Think about what the brand will stand for, and make this a core element of generating marketing materials and tactics to support this.

Reaching out to people, or creating a community, can be a vital part of brand building. Communities can be built online and offline. Get involved in local projects and organisations, focusing on where maximum effectiveness can take place. Also, take advantage of social media platforms such as Facebook, where businesses can create their own page, and Twitter, where updates of great work can be posted. If the business is photogenic, consider an Instagram account and regularly update it with images of wonderful work.

Of course, blogging is a great way to keep customers informed and also to allow them to interact with you, by posting comments and asking questions. Remember that consistency is important. Find a direction for social media and then stick with it. Whenever you doubt that material is not in line with your brand, you should drop it. If in doubt, leave it out. It is easier to find new material than deal with the fallout of inappropriate material that will live on the web forever.

Firms shouldn't neglect printed items either. We all still need business cards, catalogues and pamphlets for different occasions, and for those clients who don't conduct their lives on a computer. Business cards in particular are still a fundamental aspect of meeting potential clients or colleagues face to face. When designing a business card, examine ways it can enhance the brand visually, and what information it presents to underpin your business offerings. In today's fast-moving digital world, a street address may not be as important as a mobile number, email address or website. Direct your customers to the most productive way of making contact.

A strong logo is also a must, so employ a graphic designer if necessary. Put your logo on everything when you have it: cards, website, emails and all communications. A really effective logo can stand alone in identifying a business, and its design should say something about the business, including what it stands for and the people behind it.

A good logo is an extremely powerful part of a brand. It is worth taking some time to develop the right logo, and you shouldn't forget to ask other people what they think of it, or what images it evokes for them. People respond to logos in different ways. Sometimes they will have a strong emotional response to a particular logo. By asking around, you get a good idea of how people will react to your logo generally. Then we need to consider if what the logo projects is consistent with the brand and what it stands for. A good logo is part of building trust with customers, so discovering how people feel about it can avoid problems later.

Consistency is important. Before launching a brand we should consider that this is an image that will be projected to the general public. Significantly changing it later will only confuse them. It is therefore worth taking some time to plan your brand and think about how it will appear, and what it will communicate. It is better to take a bit longer and have a fully thought out, congruent brand to display to the world, than put something out there and realise that it's half-baked, or even worse, wrong.

Changing your brand disorients people and undermines trust and reliability. To create and maintain an effective brand, every aspect of it must be as excellent as the goods or services you are offering. Consistency in presentation is vital. This applies to use of the business's name, the logo, and the colours and the way visual marketing identifiers are applied. The name and logo should always be presented immaculately and you should have clear parameters for the use of them.

There are other ways in which a business can be represented too, such as appearances at conferences, trade shows and exhibitions. The materials, the products, the staff - all communicate with your intended audience or customer base and need to embody the values and aesthetics of your brand.

Customers who are delighted with your products and services are great sources of referrals and word-of-mouth advertising. It’s vital to respect your clients and what they think, so aim to exceed their expectations. Even more critically, you must keep your promises to them. If you say you are going to do something, then you must do it. If you don't remember this, your customers certainly will, and they will hold broken promises against you.

Happy customers will help with building a brand, as they will not hesitate to recommend a business that they find reliable. Being accountable with goods or delivery helps to build credibility. Be good to customers and they in turn will be good to you. You should, in fact, do more to find out who your customers are, and how you can help them succeed. When they succeed with your help, then they will help you too.

Delivering value is a huge part of connecting with customers and reinforcing your brand. Value doesn't always mean the lowest price, it is part of having great products, dependable service, providing convenience and reliability. Giving customers more than what they needed or expected is part of delivering exceptional value, and this will ensure that these customers will return to you time and time again.