Think of the hardest working person you know. Or perhaps, the most disciplined person you’ve met. Who comes to mind? How did they build that reputation? It may be in their attitude to work – arriving on time, finishing assigned tasks and supporting other team members, or in their attitude to life – having a program of exercise, eating healthy and demonstrating healthy boundaries. Whatever the case, these individuals have built a certain reputation to you and that is why you attribute certain qualities to their personality. The same is true of your brand. Your brand is the voice of your business, your messaging. It is the promise of what you will deliver communicated to your customers. In communicating your brand, you need to be consistent with your brand messaging or promise, so that your customers will connect this to the product or service you provide.
At this point, you know your brand is more than just a fancy word attached to your business. It should be a message that inspires action. In addition, like a person’s reputation, your brand will not be built overnight. It requires consistent effort to communicate your brand attributes and values to your audience to remain valuable to them. Bear in mind though that you are not for everyone and no matter how well-crafted your message is, it won’t satisfy all audiences. So, how do you get started on branding?
First, know your audience. Branding is more about how your customers see you than how you see your business. This means you need to know who you want to sell to, the problems they face and how your business can solve that challenge. Knowing your customer needs means talking to them. You can’t assume on needs. Use surveys and polls to collect responses from potential customers. Then, collate and categorize similar interests to create segments from your customer pool. If you do this exercise right, you will have a clear picture of your varying customer segments in order to create tailored marketing to address their common challenges.
Once you know your audience and are clear on the product or service you are selling, it is time to define your brand and communicate your deliverables to your audience in a promise. For example Voltic, a bottled water company in Ghana (now a coca-cola subsidiary) has as its brand promise: to provide clean, safe, quality drinking water to consumers. It is safe to assume that Voltic communicated this clearly to its customers and have made good on their promise. Why do we say so? Voltic is now a household name in Ghana. It is used in reference, not just to the brand but also to other bottled water brands. The point? In communicating your brand, your messaging needs to be clear and aligned to customer needs and preferences. By doing this, you will build a high staying power for your business.
Have you employed these tactics and want more? Read how you can reposition your brand for profitable growth. The next post will describe actionable strategies you can employ now to creating a lasting brand.