This is a guest post by Nick Simpson of Echo Pacific.
In an online age where social media informs marketing and vice versa, businesses no longer operate in a state of competition; they operate in a state of hyper-competition. But while the means to reach customers may have changed, the principals of effective branding have not.
Those who spend their time in the world of marketing understand that branding is more than a popular name. At its core, branding is linking a product or service to the customer via a promise. It is the building of trust that leads to customer loyalty that pays dividends in the long term.
The goal for any marketer should always be to build a better business brand. The short answer to the question of how to do this involves creating a solid business strategy around whatever advantages the product or service may have in the marketplace.
There are also a number of other things marketers should keep in mind when trying to build this ever-elusive better brand.
Know the customer
There’s no point in throwing the full weight of a business’ marketing might at the wall and seeing if anything sticks, as this strategy almost always fails. The key is targeted demographics. That means identifying an ideal customer base and defining that market via segmentation. Once the customer has been identified, it’s up to the marketer to position their brand as superior to the competition.
Know the competition
While building customer trust is one aspect to successful brand marketing, so is understanding the dynamics and goals of competiting brands. Understanding the competition will help to build a more distinctive brand. That means knowing the competitor’s strengths and weaknesses as well as understanding how customers view the competition. This information ultimately helps marketers to figure out their “differentiator” — the thing that sets them apart from the competition.
Focus on compatibility
While knowing the customer is crucial to deciding who exactly to spend marketing money on, brand compatibility is vital to understanding how to speak to customers in a way that addresses their wants and needs. Simply put: understanding brand compatibility means understanding the customer. Everything from the customers lifestyle and attitude to their media and purchase behavior comes into play when figuring out brand compatibility.
In the end, compatibility often boils down to how effective the match is between the brand’s differentiation and the customer’s purchase behavior.
Create effective brand positioning
How an organization communicates their brand message to the customer is of paramount importance. This is where stellar brand positioning comes in. It is more than simply a way to tell the customer about a product or service; it defines the relationship with the customer. And good positioning is always based on solid market research and, most importantly, extensive planning.
Merge brand and business processes
The business should represent the brand and vice versa. That means a quality brand image is only half the battle. If the organization is going to talk the talk, they should be prepared to walk the walk. Everything from business practices to customer attitudes should represent the brand.
Customers who constantly hear about “service with a smile” should see this reflected in the employees and customer service reps. Likewise a business that touts “quick service” should never keep customers waiting.
These are some crucial tips to keep in mind when deciding how to build an effective brand. More important than anything else is to deliver on a brand’s promise. Nothing is more effective at building customer trust than authentic claims that are always fulfilled.
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