Introduction: What’s in a Brand?
Your brand defines who you are and what you do, while also setting you apart from others like you. It emphasizes the unique value that you offer your customers. It’s the reason they buy from you and not from someone else. Your brand is communicated through everything your company does, from its design motifs and logo to the products, services and promotions it offers.
Who Is Your Company?
In order to formulate your brand, you have to see how your company is viewed by the public. Who do they see you as? What are your values as they perceive them?
It’s useful to think in terms of personal characteristics, even if you’re considering the personality of a company. Just like a person, a company can be brash and bold, or it can be gentle and unassuming. It can be smart, strong, athletic, youthful or conservative. If your company were a person, who would it be?
Know Your Customers
The most important part of developing your brand is getting to know your customers. Brands don’t actually exist in the objective world. They exist inside the minds of customers. So, you need to get inside your customers’ heads and understand what they think and how they feel about you.
You need to understand the demographic you cater to, as well as psychological factors such as how they see themselves and how they think about money. You should know their buying habits, which brands they buy from, and how they feel about these brands.
Consistency Is Key
A good brand is consistent. The public should get the same message every time they come into contact with you. Consistency is especially important online where you have many more touch points with your market than offline. Image plays a bigger part online, so consistency across all media is key.
Your brand should also provide a seamless user experience. The user experience should be in harmony with the image your brand projects. Apple is a company that does this well. Their brand communicates that they produce the trendiest, high tech products that improve our lives, and that are clean, simple and easy to use. Their marketing, their products, and their customer service all strive to communicate this message.
All in the Mind
Always remember that brand is in your customers’ mind, not in the real world. It’s not necessarily something about your company, but what your market perceives it to be. Aim to make associations in people’s minds with your company.
This is why people pay so much money for Swiss watches, even today when we all have cell phones that tell time for us. There is still something about a Swiss watch in the buyer’s mind that conveys much more than a timepiece. It communicates luxury, craftsmanship, and even the culture and history behind the Swiss watch. This is its brand.
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