CHICAGO — If a brand is the key to business success, then what’s the best way to establish a brand and build its identity? Moreover, as your business grows, how do you expand the brand into new services and revenue streams? In this column, we’ll examine why a brand is important, and steps to create the brand identity that will resonate with your current and future customers.
Building Your Brand
- Brand and Brand Identity — Not only is your brand the foundation of your business, but it’s also the cornerstone of its future expansion. Brand identity, however, is how you want your target market to perceive your company, product, services and brand. Much like a value proposition, brand identity is continuously built upon as your business grows and expands. By continuously living your brand identity — internally and externally — your staff, procedures and communications stay aligned. This strengthens your brand and distinguishes it from the competition in the minds of your customers and team members.
- Spreading the Word — Once established, communicate your brand consistently — both verbally and graphically — to your target markets. All aspects of your marketing and public relations (website, news releases, social media, direct mail, advertising, etc.) should link back to your brand and brand identity.
- Expanding your Brand into New Revenue Streams — As your business grows, you might start new complementing companies or services, such as residential pick-up and delivery. One option is to use multi-branding, in which a different brand name is used for every service targeting a different market.
You need to brand because your brand becomes your business-enterprise foundation. Whatever you decide needs to work for you and your company.
Tips for Creating Your Brand
Your brand should come from who you are, who you want to be, and who your customers perceive you to be. It should also distinguish your company and services from your competition’s and create a customer expectation of quality.
When creating a brand:
- Carry out research to reveal how you fit into the competitive marketplace.
- Learn the needs and wants of your current and future customers.
- Determine what customers and prospects already think of your company.
- Write down the benefits and features of your products or services.
- Define your specialty. What do you do best?
- Define the qualities/values you want customers to associate with your company, products and services.
- Define your brand.