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Branding Hints for the Uninitiated

The notion of branding is apparent to most businesses seeking to build value through the establishment of long term stable customers. The idea of establishing a brand, by definition, means that the company is seeking to create a series of associations with either the company or its products so that customers can freely establish a relationship with the brand. It is this relationship that draws customers back. It is the loyalty of the customer that builds the value.

Establishing a brand is a process that can take a significant period of time. It can also be expensive. Since we know that Tudog’s readers want results quickly (and don’t like to spend money needlessly), we thought an article detailing some aspects of branding would be helpful.

 

The branding process is guided by concepts that serve to eliminate error and accelerate results. Some of these concepts are:

Own a Thought

There is the notion in marketing that no two companies can own the same claim in the minds of consumers. From a positioning perspective, companies are encouraged to pick their point of difference, their differentiating factor, and stick with it. Similarly, in building and maintaining a brand, it is useful, and even perhaps necessary, to own a word or phrase that communicates some intrinsic value the company delivers. Owning a thought reinforces the brand and focuses on what the brand stands for. Make sure that the phrase you seek to own represents an accurate representation of what you sell. Consumers will spot misrepresentations and they will serve to damage your brand. Keep it honest.

Have a Defined Focus

Brands are best created and endure longer when they revolve around a focused product or service. Too often businesses try to expand their offering by moving away from their core competency. This creates confusion in the mind of the consumer and dilutes the brand because, rather than standing for one great product, the brand is meant to signify many products. Generally, the brand winds up losing its focus and therefore its power.

Select a Great Name

Some people seem to think that the name of their product or service is not central to their brand. It is one of the most important elements in defining and advancing the brand. This doesn’t mean that you need to go crazy with unforgettable names derived from words made up or foreign languages. But it does mean you need to know that what you call your product will affect to what extent you succeed in branding it.

Put PR Before Advertising

The notion that you can build a brand through advertising represents a misunderstanding of what a brand is. When a new company splashes onto the television screens and billboards they are raising awareness of their name….perhaps, but they are not building a brand. A brand has character and represents ideas. Advertising can serve to communicate these…perhaps, but it can’t instill them in the mind of the public. Advertising is useful in maintaining a brand. PR, because it is backed by the power of opinion and influencers, is more useful in building the brand.

Pay Attention to Branding Elements

Many companies fall short on their branding goals because they minimize the value that needs to be placed on branding elements like company logo and company colors. While these will not be the sole reason your brand succeeds, they could be the only reasons it does not. Branding elements serve to enhance the consumer association with the brand, serve as identifying components, and become part of what the brand stands for and communicates. Without them, or with poor execution of them, you have a weaker brand image.

Take Your Time

Although during the internet boom it was thought that brands could be built in a matter of months as long as the budget was there for high profile advertising, the truth is that real brand equity takes years to build. This means that the mistakes that come with trying to hurry things along might as well be avoided because there is no way to accelerate how the public absorbs a brand message. The notion that the public will catch on quicker if they are exposed to it more often is erroneous. Branding is a form of relationship development and that means it takes time.

Branding is a process that, when undertaken and stuck to, allows for a company to capture consumer loyalty because of an inherent agreement that reads; “we, the consumer will continue to buy your product as long as you, the company, continue to adhere to the ideals and characteristics you proclaim to be aspects of your product”. Stick with the ideals and characteristics, and your company will grow.

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