Brand and business go hand in hand, but building a brand is very different from building your business. Once you are ready with your finance and necessary permits and have other resources lined up, you can go ahead with your business.
On the other hand, a brand is not just your company logo or the message; it is how people perceive your company; what they feel when they see your logo.
A Brand is the most powerful tool in marketing. Companies spend millions to establish brands because the success of a business depends on the brand value.
How to create brand value?
To understand, let us find out the meaning first.
- Simply put, brand value is the value (in terms of money) your brand may fetch if you decide to sell it off.
Present-day mergers and acquisitions have brought brand value in focus, and we keep reading how much a company has paid to acquire the brand of another company.
- Another way to understand the concept of brand value - is the replacement cost or the total cost a company may incur to promote a new brand to the current level (of brand equity and sales) of the previous one.
One can measure brand value; consider these important parameters:
- Brand Recognition (whether people know about your brand)
- Brand image (how do consumers perceive your brand)
- Brand loyalty (are customers preferring your product over competitors?)
- Brand Usage (whether regular sales are happening?)
- Customer feedbacks & Brand surveys: These elements indicate the customer’s perception of the brand.
- Brand analytics: Digital tools can measure awareness, recognition, popularity and loyalty among a specific audience.
How to know whether your brand is valuable?
- Consumers / general people easily recognise it.
- Perception: Whether people have a reasonable opinion of the brand.
- Sales (how many people buy and use the product/service Vis a Vis competition)
- Loyalty (whether customers show preference to the brand by the regular repurchase of the products and services)
Why do you need to build a brand?
The solution to an important issue, how to grow your business, is Brand building. Whether your company is dealing with consumers directly (B2C) or with other companies (B2B), your brand is the face of your business. In the crowded marketplace, a brand is the crucial differentiating factor that separates your product/service from your competitors.
Business gets credibility due to the brand. It encourages repurchase (of your products) and may even influence the pricing as customers willingly pay more for a brand they trust. That takes us to another important question:
How to create brand value?
1. Identify your audience
It is essential to identify the prospective target audience. All promotional strategies are worked out with the specific audience in mind.
2. Highlight differentiation
Monitoring competitors will indicate the positioning and the value proposition of other brands. Attempt a unique benefit to consumers.
In a saturated product category, it is pretty challenging for new brands to find a foothold. Customers will already be having loyalties to various brands. Finding your niche supplemented with pricing and distribution strategy may be the right solution.
3. Define the purpose
Consumers are comfortable when they know the objectives and the aim (of your business/product). For example, a company selling business improvement software may define its brand's purpose as helping customers do their job smoothly (by providing support).
Many companies have clearly defined mission statements. The purpose of the brand must be in unison with the stated mission.
4. A consistent brand voice
Once you know your target audience and the points of differentiation, the next task is to develop a brand voice for communication.
Decide what would go with your audience best – a formal voice, a casual one, or humorous? However, there must be consistency in communication across all media –online, offline, homepage, and social media. Most importantly, the voice must be in tune with your audience.
How to build brand value: action points
You now know the parameters of your branding strategy - it is time to put the plan into action.
1. Design of the visual elements: Logo, colour coordinates, typography – essential components to give your brand the first identity.
2. Create your website, and design your social media profiles.
3. Get into all planned channels.
It is imperative to add that the entire communication exercise across all channels should be as per your defined objectives – the brand voice, your mission, and your audience. Focus on your content's consistency.
4. Promoting your brand – The choice of media will depend on three critical criteria, your customer profile and the company’s budget and your product.
5. Generate positive word of mouth- Engage with customers and encourage reviews; think of creating customer loyalty programmes and reward referrals (of your brand by customers)
Marketing strategy is an evolving subject; therefore, be prepared to adapt and change your strategies with time. Be alive to market needs and industry trends, and these factors make it necessary for a brand to change the identity.
We now know how to create brand value; we also know how to grow business. We have discussed the fundamental parameters, and these may require fine-tuning depending on the type and category of business.
How to promote small business growth?
The scale of the turnover characterises a small business. The limited operations mean lesser complications, but the typical business issues and problems exist even in small businesses. We have understood how critical a brand is to the success of a business. But is there any difference in how brand value is created? Let us find out.
Digital marketing is a boon to small business and, when used intelligently, can help to boost your brand image cost-effectively. Consider the following few steps:
- Create a website for your company.
- Work out an effective content strategy to provide value to your audience. Focus on local issues and offer solutions.
- Start an e-mail campaign –these are low- cost channels of promotion.
- Engage actively with your prospective customers on social media.
- Create a reputation for excellent customer service, both offline and online. It would be best if you addressed queries on priority. Ask for reviews (from customers) and use the inputs for planning strategy.
- Increase community presence – Attend important local events make sure your brand has good visibility (local football match, a musical evening and more)
- Consistency – ensure that all your communication has consistency in design, style, voice, as we have analysed the importance earlier in the article.
- Use digital tools for tracking and evaluation of your strategy. Spending on measuring effectiveness can help you in focusing your plan better.
- Use limited offline to inform local customers of your brand (and business).
How to create brand value: the final word
Building a brand is difficult, time-consuming and borders on uncertainty. But then, it is not easy to do business either; to quote Jeff Bezos (founder of Amazon), “a brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well”.
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Q. For a B2B product, should a small business invest in brand building?
Ans. An established brand, irrespective of the category, adds value to a business. A brand can help in times of recession, enter new companies (in the same marketing segment), and give you a higher price. With long-term business objectives in mind, it is better to build your brand.
Q. How fast can I recover my additional cost of brand building?
Ans. The recovery time will depend on the effectiveness of your campaign and the penetration level. But, in general, it is measurable in terms of higher and faster sales and the price.
Q. My retail business is over 50 years old and is doing well. Why should I invest in brand building?
Ans. The marketplace is dynamic, and only a strong brand will survive the test of time. You have the advantage of building on a loyal customer base. But it is best to remember that customers' profiles change with time, availability, and even technology.