It is a somewhat daunting task to stay afloat in the drowning waters of product competition. This is where the success or otherwise of your brand gets tested. People in the course of their lives have developed loyalty to particular brands at the expense of others. It is basic knowledge that certain tastes, scents, and sounds are linked to feelings of comfort, happiness, and ultimately, home. This is why customers would be willing to spend more to purchase a Coca-Cola product, Nivea, Colgate or Blackberry. These companies have succeeded in leaving a positive mark on the hearts of their customers that their competition have being unable to. In addition to relating these brands with high quality, customers also identify the brands for other reasons, including ease and security. As a result, businesses are now seeking new and more effective ways of improving brand awareness and more importantly, creating brand loyalty.
One of the most important tasks involved in ensuring a brand’s success, is developing an effective branding strategy. And, until you’ve infiltrated your brand into every level of your organization and developed the mastery of consistency into all behaviour, action, or communication- both internally and externally- you are not yet on the path to a successful brand strategy. What then are some of the strategies that can set your company on the part to becoming a successful brand?
Define your brand: This involves outlining the brand’s meaning—or how it should live in the minds of customers. Issues of brand positioning (the part of the brand that describes what your organization does, for whom, your peculiar values and how a customer profits from working with you or your product/service), and what key differentiation you have from your competition should reflect here. Think about specific qualities you want prospects, clients, employees and partners to use in describing your organization. The outcome of an effective differentiation strategy is a simple and unique message that is easy to communicate and reinforce over time.
Research: Subsequent to defining your core values is carrying out research to bring these values into reality. No successful brand made it without targeted research. This involves finding out what other hitherto successful brands did to get where they are, research into what makes your target customers tick, research into innovations that can give your company an edge over competition. If the resources are available, research should also involve extensive observation into the brand’s industry, its history, the current market picture, and potential growth and direction.
Keep it short and simple: The attention span of today’s consumer is shrinking. Any competitive advantage that takes time or too much effort to explain and communicate is not worth pursuing. Use simple words, in plain language, to explain quickly why your offer is better. Take cues from brands like Apple (Think Different), Connectnigeria.com (need it? search it, find it) MTN (Everywhere you go), Coca-Cola (Open happiness) and the likes.
Consistency: A promise is a promise. Begin building the brand with employees, customers, prospects, partners, etc. through consistent execution. Repetition is key to the success of the branding process. If the company’s products, services, and customer support didn’t support these promises, the initial surge of new customers would quickly come to a screeching halt and the brand would fade into insignificance along with the company. Following through with an excellent product/service and customer support will put an indelible mark in the memory of your existing customers; one that will create brand loyalty through good and bad times; a sure sign of a brand’s strength.
Blow the mind of your customers: Never let your brand’s promise be one that is already expected; this is a sure way to NOT stand out from your competitors. Marketing efforts that utilize adjectives like “good”, or “nice” are sure to fail when seeking to be both engaging and unique. Remember, you must convey an engaging, unique, relevant, and consistent message to your target audience. Consumers already expect “good service” from you. This isn’t an engaging message nor is it unique. This message doesn’t lead towards a strong positive responsive relationship.
Though brand improvement is by no means a new notion, these days, consumers have more access to information and more alternatives than ever before. The result is higher expectations, thus making it imperative for the brand’s message to captivate the consumer immediately. Consequently, companies seeking to experience lasting success will have to create the most enthralling, relevant, and consistent brand experiences for their customers.