Branding has always been important. Large companies such as Tiffany & Co., Rolex, Links of London etc. have been perfecting and developing their brands for years, but now the time has come for everyone running a business to take advantage and harness the power that branding yields.

Branding is the force that compels us to shop in a certain supermarket and when in that supermarket makes us walk past rows of biscuits and completely ignore the own name packets and choose the higher profile luxury makes that cost three times more.

Branding involves building a compelling association between your company image and getting your customers to see your company as the only one that provides a solution to their problem. Effective branding instils an emotional response that creates a ferocious loyalty to your product that leaves customers immune to the marketing tactics of your competition.

To embed your brand in the minds or your customers, your message needs to be repeated constantly. Your stationary, website logo, design and graphics, wherever possible, need to emphasize your message, even the way that you answer the phone should be standardised.

However, branding is not just about applying a logo in a consistent manner, and using the right colours. It's about ensuring that all the messaging of all communications materials is pointing in the same direction and that it all looks and sounds consistent. Even the way your website and printed  copy is written should be considered in the light of the brand messaging, the way the website is coded and the quality of paper used in printed materials – all of these points should be considered because, if they're not, it will cause consumers to lose trust in the brand and it’s messaging.

Some of the common pitfalls that can ruin a companys brand image are:

  • Poor attenshun too detayl wiv reegard too speling nad gramma, you know wat ise mean fella? No matter how much you spend on developing a trendy logo or a snappy catchline for your adverts, if they're riddled with mistakes and poor grammar, you will ruin your brands credibility.
  • Boasting about your speedy deliveries and constantly being late with orders will ruin your brands credibility.
  • Emphasizing the high quality of your product in your text but displaying shoddily photgraphed work that doesn't show it in it's true light will also ruin your brands credibility. 

Try to think of your brand as your character and personal reputation. Constantly telling people how honest you are won't carry any weight if you aren't actually honest.

 

Be unique

 

Try to imagine being in an interview with a potential customer. In one sentence describe how he or she will benefit from buying your product. Keep the sentence short and to the point, your language must be uncomplicated and clear and your message easy to remember. This will be the image that your target market will identify you with. For example, if you're selling Titanium rings, your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) could be, "We offer the largest choice of quality, original designs, with the ability to customise further and no size restrictions, on the internet." This sets you apart from all the other sellers of Titanium rings who only offer a limited range of standard designs and from discount sites that offer mass produced cheap rings.

 

Target your market

 

Unlike large organisations, it's more than likely that you won't have the resources to flood the world with your marketing message. Fortunately, if you've targetted and identified your market, you won't need to. The advantage of running an online business is that you have access to thousands of potential customers from the comfort of your own living room or office through mediums such as Google, facebook and Twitter for little or no monetary cost. The internet is a huge resource of potential customers, however, it would be a mistake to try and spread yourself too thin by attempting to sell to everybody instead of just the people who want to buy from you. Therefore it is essential to realise that you must focus your attention and target your market.

If you can encourage people to absorb and repeat your marketing message, then the more it will spread. Twitter and facebook are excellent examples of sites where your message can be virally spread by likes and tweets, another less obvious method would be to have an 'Email a friend' feature on your website which makes it easier for visitors to your site to spread the word.

 

Where's your next sale coming from?

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