Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Why building your brand is good for business

A lot of small and medium-sized businesses have at their core a fantastic service or solid product offering. Success can certainly be had by getting in front of the right people and into the right hands, resulting in sales. That is, afterall, what drives the bottom line. Or is it?

Sure, a product, can sell itself if is in the right place, at the right time and the right person is there, but what happens if one of those factors is not present? The precarious balance between right time, right place and right customer is thrown out of whack, and subsequently the likelihood of a sale declines. Going even further, what if that was your only opportunity to be in front of this potential customer? Now it becomes obvious that most of the sale is left to chance.

So how do you eliminate some of that uncertainty? By building your brand and implementing a strong marketing communications framework that builds touchpoints for potential customers to have contact with your product or service long before a purchase is made.

How does building my brand help?
By building your brand, you are building a relationship with your potential consumers beyond the brief window in time that the purchase is made (or service is acquired, etc.). The purchase transaction really represents only a fraction of the decision-making process: the end result. Building your brand ensures your presence with consumers is ongoing throughout that process, and helps you avoid being lumped together among many other choices in the marketplace. It’s not enough to simply be present in the marketplace: your brand needs to be the only choice for your customers, and to do this, it must stand out well ahead of purchase decision time.

How do I build my brand?
I mentioned ‘touchpoints’ above. These are each opportunity a potential customer has to interact with your brand be it via your Facebook page or group, Twitter account, blog, website or customer service centre, etc.. One of the best ways to build your brand is to capitalize on each touchpoint with a consumer. This can be accomplished by ensuring the messaging and visual representation of your brand (or company, depending on the goals) is consistent and communicates a clear message, usually built around what your brand represents. For example, ensuring consistent use of a tagline, logo and even customer service policies at various retailers are all ways that contribute to the relationship you are building with your potential and existing customers. This reinforces your brand at each and every touchpoint, helping to keep your brand top-of-mind outside the moment of purchase, setting yourself apart from competitors and leaving less to chance when it comes to generating sales.

Summary: Building your brand helps to differentiate your product or service in the mind of potential and existing customers well before a purchase decision is made. This can be accomplished by utilizing touchpoints to communicate your brand’s message consistently, thereby building a relationship and top-of-mind awareness with your target audience.

I will cover essentials to deciding on your branding strategy and messaging in separate post very soon! Stay tuned…