Branding Your Business: 5 Steps to Success

This is a guest post by Davison Williams.

The modern world of business conducts so much of its affairs online these days, and marketing has changed beyond recognition as a result. Whether they like it or not, all businesses now have a brand, but not all businesses are controlling it.

A brand is actually a relatively simple concept; it involves delivering a consistent message to customers about the goods or services available, and communicating what makes them more desirable than those being offered by competitors.

An effective business brand will find a place in the psyche of a population; an excellent business brand will become synonymous with the goods or services it provides. Although there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to creating a successful brand, there are 5 very important steps which are usually essential.

1. Define the Brand

Although it may sound rather simplistic, it is essential that business-owners can fully define their brand. The process involves four key stages, and a great way to remember them is with the acronym, IDEA.

Identify – It is essential to get to the heart of what a company’s purpose is. What does the business sell? What makes the products or services of the company better than those of competitors?

Define – Some businesses have mission statements that put this into words, but it is a good idea to work with colleagues on putting the essence of your company into one sentence—this may become a slogan your business can use. It is also essential to identify your customers, as this information will dictate marketing and advertising strategies.

Empower – Communicate your findings with staff and customers alike. This can be done through direct advertising, social media and several other outlets.

Assess – By regularly soliciting feedback from your colleagues and customers, you can assess whether the description of your brand’s identity reflects reality.

2. Identify the Brand’s Attributes

Once a clear definition of the brand has been formulated, a list of attributes should be compiled with the help of potential customers and colleagues. What does your business do that is so much better than the competition? Is it efficient and effective? Does it concentrate on personal relationships with customers? Is it capable of dealing with huge orders, or does it pride itself on delivering bespoke quality, one customer at a time? This process should leave you with a list of ‘buzz’ words that can be included in all your communications and advertising. These words will often be used by creative design experts to create an eye-catching logo that is in line with your company’s ethos.

3. Embrace Social Media

The power of social media should not be underestimated, and it should be at the heart of any branding campaign. However, it is important to talk to customers with a consistent voice. Social media puts businesses in direct contact with their customers, and it can deliver invaluable feedback with which to move a business brand forward. From time to time, negative and aggressive comments will be made public, so it is important to be professional and courteous at all times—even in the face of severe provocation. A professional branding agency will help your business to find its voice, communicate effectively and avoid hard-selling.

4. Manage the Brand

It is essential that a brand is adapted in line with changing market conditions. In the old days, this would involve huge investment in market research, but social media is a far more cost-effective tool. Engage with your customers on a personal level, and try to discover their honest opinions about what your company is doing. It is also important to keep track of what people are saying about your brand across the wider Internet, and online tools such as Google’s Alerts will be invaluable in this respect.

5. Protect Your Brand

Too many business leaders react to negative feedback by making knee-jerk reactions. Instead of playing the long game by waiting for trends, they make changes to their brand image far too quickly, and that can disrupt the brand’s consistency—a particularly important factor during the early years of a business’s life. Stay on message, maintain your company’s voice and don’t let others knock your branding strategy off the rails!

Every company has a brand in this information age; whether they want one or not. The biggest mistake companies can make is to let their brand manage the business—a successful business will always be one that controls its own brand strategy.

Davison Williams is an award-winning branding agency based in London. We provide Innovative Online Digital Solutions, POS & Packaging for food, drink, lifestyle and leisure-related companies. For more information about branding, please visit: davisonwilliams.com

2 Responses to Branding Your Business: 5 Steps to Success

  1. Great advice, especially the starter step of defining the brand. So many times, entrepreneurs seem to skip that step.

    • Totally, Deborah! I find a lot of people who want to start a businesses choose their brand name and desired image in the very beginning. Unfortunately, without defining the brand and it’s target audience first, then those initial ideas become meaningless.

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