Building Your Brand
Neil Bromage has run his own small business and is a freelance business writer working on a range of newspapers including The Times, Sunday Times, Telegraph and Financial Mail on Sunday. This book is based on a wide range of columns and Q&As written and answered by Neil for Business Link over a number of years. He is based near Preston, Lancs.
Convincing your customers that your brand is the best will help you command a stronger position in the marketplace. To do this you need to consider the underlying implications of successful branding.
Generally speaking, brands are either primary or secondary, which will affect how you market them. Primary brands are the main products or services marketed by your business and secondary brands are additions or extensions to the main product.
Paying attention to the following will help you to build a stronger brand:
- Image: look for qualities your customers appreciate and work hard to maintain your reputation – it’s always easier to lose a good reputation than it is to build one.
- Quality: customer satisfaction becomes self-perpetuating so be sure to maintain standards so that the customer has continued faith in your brand.
- Customer commitment: loyalty works both ways so be long-term and consistent in your planning.
- Pricing: this is part of a customer’s perception of value. Higher prices are often equated with higher value.
- High profile marketing: keep your brand in the public eye as much as possible, thereby maintaining customer awareness.
- Packaging: this can often have a significant impact on sales and unique packaging can be a part of the whole brand identity. The name of your brand can be crucial to its success. It should have universal appeal and be capable of crossing cultural barriers.
Be aware that your competitors will quickly copy and improve on your good ideas so focus on the competitive edge you can offer and maintain. If you succeed in making your brand synonymous with a product group or general service (as with the name ‘Hoover’, now used to describe all vacuum cleaners) you may be able to create a perceived value which remains constant, even in a fluctuating market.