In an environment where competition is tougher, it has become increasingly important to keep up. How can this be done and who needs to do this?
The answer is quite simple: BRANDING
Branding has not only become necessary for businesses to remain profitable, but for individuals who want to be a cut above the rest. Branding can be done in various ways, but the underlying fact remains: in order to be the difference, you need to brand!
WHAT EXACTLY IS BRANDING?
Initially, branding was viewed as a tool for just businesses that is used to create a unique image in the mind of the consumer. However, branding is more than that and involves any attempt by anyone, be it individual or corporate, to leave an indelible image in the minds of anyone they encounter, be it a customer, an employer (potential or actual), a competitor or even a passerby. What opinion will be formed about you or your business after just a five minute encounter?
WHO NEEDS TO BRAND?
You and your business or organization cannot be different from the rest without an extra branding effort. No one can take themselves out of the branding equation for long without paying for it later. Be it a school, church, political party, catering company or individual, branding is the way to go!
Before you can even market yourself or your product, you need to brand. Branding serves as an attracting element or pull factor to whichever group of people you seek to attract. Branding enables you to come up with clear marketing strategies that are in line with the image you want to create. When done effectively, branding makes you the preferred choice in your field of expertise, till your name is always associated with your area of work. Branding is very beneficial to your success (or the success of your business) and in effect, it will be almost detrimental not to involve yourself in branding, especially in the long run.
HOW CAN WE BRAND?
Every little action contributes to your brand. In a hospitality business for example, every smile, every greeting and every well-dressed employee is a plus to the image created in the mind of the customer after his or her stay, and will determine whether he or she wants to come back.
Some steps that can be taken in branding include:
- Having a long term plan. This guides you and gives you direction as to what to do in the first place. What is your purpose?
- Sticking to that plan. Make sure every little thing you do contributes to the kind of brand you want to have. It is all about being consistent.
- Considering competition. Constantly watch your competition and learn from them. You could end up coming up with something new they have not even thought of.
- Getting active on social media. You need to know what exactly is running through your target group’s mind, and what they are looking for. Not only do social media help in doing that, it also helps you to build a powerful relationship and network.
- Being adaptable to change. Do not always insist in doing things the old way. If you are comfortable with advertising through billboards only for instance, you may have to adapt a bit with the times and explore more options such as e-fliers and call cards. That by no means implies that you should lose your core identity, but you could stick to your old tradition whilst spicing it up with the new. It gives you or your business a consistently contemporary image.
- Being nice. This is one of the oldest and simplest ways of branding, but still remains one of the best. Anything tangible you give someone could eventually be discarded, but a kind act, word or just a smile goes a long way and speaks volumes, leaving a lasting impression.
In what other ways do you think you can uniquely brand?
What label is attached to you? What image do you want people to have of you? What makes you stand out?
If you were able to answer these questions in about five minutes (a positive answer of course), then you are already on a successful branding journey!
Author: Nana Boatemaa Amoah – Marketing Blogger