By Aschalew Tamiru
On the same newspaper I wrote about “Misconception about Branding”. In this article basics to successful branding will be presented in brief.
Branding is a way to differentiatea company and its product or service from the rest of market and create a perceived value in the mind of customers. Branding is important for all sizes of businesses that want to stand out from the crowed in the market. A brand is more than a marketing tool; it’s the way the world perceives the company. More than just using it to sell products or services, the most successful brands create a powerful and defined identity for companies.The goal of a brand is not just to be recognizable, but to be so closely identified with the company’s defining characteristic that become known for it. More importantly, the objective in crafting an identity is to define what sets the company apart from competitors.The keys to successful branding includes knowing the target customers of the company and making all the decisions with a focus on what’s important to the customers.
Identify and define the customers: the first basics to successful branding is to identify and define the types of customers the company wants to attract. Women with children/women without children? Men who like football or those who are passionate in nature? Health-conscious individuals? Make a list of all areas of customers the company wants to attract. For example, a bank would built its brand on attracting people concerned with quality customer service and the bank works seriously on customer service.
Exam the target customers: find out what is important to the customers the company wants to attract. If the company already have some customers, it can survey them. Otherwise, look at demographic information (such as in terms of age, sex etc.) and other studies done that provide information about the target customers. It’s important to develop a brand the company is proud of and is invested in, but if it doesn’t connect with the customers of the company, it may all be for nothing.Brands must always reflect their target market.Once the company knows what’s important to the target customers, choose basic outcomes that are the most important to the ideal customer.Forming important insights about the customers will greatly inform how the brand ends up appearing.
Be consistent with brand positioning: using the basic outcomes identified and defined by the company, a company can create a brand positioning that describes what the business does and for whom, the unique value the business offers and how this value is different from the competition, and the benefits the customer gets from the company’s product or service. Also, it gives the opportunity to let the company decides on the one most important thing that the business always promises to deliver to customers. Consistently the company makes all the decisions based on this brand promise and brand positioning.
It can be tough to be a truly consistent brand, especially when everything is changing around the environment where the company is operating in. It can be a lot easier to go with the flow, abandon the consistency, and hope things work out for the best. But a brand that remains consistent to its core values will succeed throughout the constantly changing environment. Customers who know they can rely on a brand to be there for them will reward that brand with their loyalty and positive word of mouth.
Create the elements of the brand:the company shall create a brand personality that is the attributes the company wants the business known for and, if the company has an established business, a brand story that shows how the business’ history adds value and credibility to the brand. Also, create the physical elements that make up the brand, including:
Logo-standardized logo shape, proportions, usage and variations of the corporate logo, agent’s logo and products logo if any.
Corporate colors-colors that comprises of primary colors, secondary colors, supporting colors as needed.
Typefaces-font family such as primary font type, in the working language/s of the company- for titles, for text writing, etc.
Tagline or motto-a tagline, also called a slogan or motto, is a phrase that accompanies the brand name of the company to quickly translate the positioning and brand statements into a few memorable words that provide an indication of the brand offerings, promise, and market position. Examples of local and international companies’ tagline-the choice for all, always one step ahead, think different, just do it.
Corporate communication and/or stationery: design and standardization of general template for corporate letter heads, envelops, inter-office memos, business cards, stamp, E-mail signature, identity cards, fax, etc.
Promotional items-design and standardization of branded giveaways that the company uses to promote itselfand its products as well; this includes pen, pencil, T-shirts, cap, umbrella, key holders, mug, sunshade, vas, wall watch, car decal (bolo sticker), flash disc, mouse pad, car mobile charger, watch, and the likes.
Administrative papers-layout design and standardization of templates for all administrative forms used by the company’s staff and customers. This includes designing of different formats, if commercial banks are taken as an example; deposit and withdrawal slips, account opening formats, and saving accounts passbooks, cheque, transfer request forms; loan application formats are among other.
Communication signage-design and standardization of internal and exterior signage and wall branding that the company would use for outdoor advertising.
Website-designing of a website, portal so as to make the company refreshed, friendly and informative, in order to promote visual identities online.
Presentation template-designing of a general template for PowerPoint presentation to be used in the company including PowerPoint intro, master grid, slides for inspiration/layout and design presentation.
Photography-the photography that the company uses for different communication (ranging from advertising to website). This includes people photography, products photography, choice of colors in photos, cropping choice of themes, and the likes.
Media release template-designing templates to be used for circulating media releases to various media houses in a professional way.
Events-this is designs for material that are used by the company for various events such as exhibition materials, podium front, and the likes. Besides, items listed abovethe company may include and create other elements of the brand which are believed relevant by the company.
The company shall create the physical elements for the above mentioned components that make up the brand and could consider other elements depending on the peculiar nature of the company.These physical brand associations should reflect the brand promise and all the brand’s personalities, and also support the brand positioning.
Brand explains the company’s activities and goals to customers. More than just logos, advertising, and even taglineof the company will tell customers about the company’s and what it represents.One of the surest ways to lose customers is to break promises or appear dishonest. The most successful brands pick their message and make promises carefully, aware that they are always able to keep them. If we are guaranteeing something and risking our brand’s reputation on it, breaking the public’s trust will do more damage than any physical loss could. Customers can be switching and rebuilding a company’s image is both expensive and difficult. Always stay on message and always deliver on the promises.
Market the brand:as most scholars recommend the key to branding is reminding the customer of what the company wants them to remember about the brand, and every contact (including marketing efforts) the company has with current or potential customers must reinforce the brand.
Creating a powerful brand is only the beginning of the journey to develop a strong corporate image for a company. It’salso important for companies to consider that branding is as an ongoing process instead of a one-and-done situation. It’s not uncommon for brands to evolve as they grow and form a better perception of what the public likes and dislikes about it.
The most successful brands are not those that find what works and stick to their guns no matter what. Instead, the best companies can fine-tune and continue to improve their brands to find the right balance and integrate the insights theyare visualizing.Great brands don’t have to work overtime to get a customer’s interest (or at least, it doesn’t look like hard work). A truly interesting brand will demand attention. We know this just by looking at the brands welike and even follow on media.
Various articles and books written on branding are used as a references.
Aschalew Tamiru was a full time lecturer at various universities, currently he is a Marketing and Customer Experience Director at Dashen Bank, holds MA in Marketing Management from Addis Ababa University.
Aschalew has published a practical book called “Make a Difference with Customer Service.” Couple of days before and the book is available at various book stores. He can be reached by firstname.lastname@example.org