We have been doing some research on 'Branding' this week. One of the best articles I found is listed below- I hope it helps you with your business!
Branding: Creating and Maintaining Your Company's Image
Make no mistake. The process of developing, implementing, and maintaining a brand is a full-time job and an important one for the success of your business. "Branding" means a great deal more than simply choosing a name for your company or service. When you brand your business you create an emotional connection with your clients and customers. You must be prepared to literally live the brand in order to preserve the reputation that is its life blood. The process doesn't occur over night and may require the sacrifice of short-term profits to cultivate. In the long-term, however, the highest market share and profitability accrue to brands that consistently deliver core benefits with which customers emotionally connect.
Major Factors in Building Successful Brands
Seven main factors are involved in building a successful brand:
- Quality - If your customers know that your brand will consistently deliver benefits and services, they will respond to that positive reputation. Athletic shoes that fall apart when they get wet won't sell. Shoes that can stand up to any condition and have added benefits like style and a good price will sell.
- Positioning - To a large degree positioning is a matter of customer perception and refers to the niche the brand occupies not just in the market but in the minds of the customer. Positioning is achieved through a combination of name, image, service standards, guarantees, packaging, and method of delivery.
- Repositioning - Repositioning is an aspect of brand management and refers to changes in a brand's presentation relative to a change in consumers' taste or the maturing of an audience. Entertainers, for instance, must reposition themselves as they grow older. A teenage idol can't play to teenagers forever.
- Communications - As an aspect of marketing, brand communication refers to the tailoring of all aspects of the company's promotional mix toward creating and sustaining customer perceptions. This includes creating awareness, developing personality, and constantly reinforcing these images.
- First mover Advantage - In terms of brand development the phrase "first-mover advantage" refers to the advantage of defining the market. The first successful brand in a market creates a clear position in the minds of the target audience before the competition comes into play. Brands that have literally defined markets include Gillette razors and Coca Cola.
- Long term Perspective - This is a mindset the business owner must develop. You must be as loyal to your brand as you wish your customers and clients to be. Good branding takes time but in the long run is one of the strongest assets you will ever have.
- Internal Marketing - Each individual who is involved in your business must clearly understand the brand's basic values and the manner in which it is positioned in the market. This is especially true of service industries. Think about your favorite restaurant or motel brand and the things that set the service in these establishments apart from the competition. You can bet those companies have invested heavily in staff training to ensure the maintenance of their service standards.
For the rest of the article, follow this link! Branding Article