Branding is a new term for an old collection of principles that have been part of successful business building for years. By branding your business, you are increasing the public’s knowledge of your company and creating a “personality” for your business that will earn your credibility and loyalty.
If you don’t have a brand, or don’t feel your brand is strong enough, here are seven easy steps to get the process going. Gather together any key members of your company, or spend some time with a notepad if you’re a solo-preneur, and create a brand that is memorable and trustworthy.
- Begin with brainstorming
Brainstorming is the start of the branding process. Write down ways that you want to be perceived by different groups of people that your company is working with. For example, you may have different approach to branding for customers than you are for investors.
- Think about a unique value proposition that is an honest reflection of what your company stands for.
Unique value propositions are what makes your company stand out in your market. It’s what makes you different, and it has to be genuine. As you’re considering your unique value proposition, think of ways that a competitor might attack or counter this.
- Make a list of positions that you want to avoid.
There may be some value propositions that seem like outsiders to be a natural fit, but you want to avoid them. For example, if you own a bonsai garden shop do you want to avoid being labeled as a florist?
- Evaluate the competition.
How does your business differ from the other major competitors in your market? Are you different enough in ways that customers would care about. For example, two construction companies can have different truck colors…but if everything else is equal that alone won’t be enough to sway a customer in one way or another. But if one company has a full time architect, and the other doesn’t, then there is a difference that can be used in branding.
- Bring together your responses from the first four parts.
After looking at your brainstorming list, value propositions you like, value propositions you want to avoid and your competition, you should be able to pull together a branding statement that you can begin to work with.
- Test out your new branding statement on your target markets.
See how customers, employees and investors respond to your new branding statement. If you’ve done your homework and taken time to come up with a good branding statement, this should be a positive experience.
- Start spreading your branding to your business processes.
Once you’ve hit the nail on the head for your branding message, it’s time to make sure it permeates throughout your business. Advertising collateral, customer service, public relations…all of these elements of your business can be affected by your brand. For more on building your brand through design, see our article from Simone Chapman.
Research Analyst, Pacific Business Centers (rebranded as Pacific Workplaces)
Courtney’s research for Pacific Workplaces focuses on tracking emerging business trends and best practices – with an emphasis on how they affect business operations, technology, and office space infrastructure.