10 Easy Steps to Building Brand Equity for Small Business
Creating a great brand name is almost half the battle in establishing your company or your product. But getting there involves the kind of creative thinking that might be outside a small-business owner’s purview. If you’re having trouble, branding experts say the first step is to pinpoint your strengths. Why are you the best? And what do you deliver that’s unique? Then, consider the customers whom you’re targeting and what they value most, such as social responsibility, authenticity or customization. Then, think about how you can best express these principles effectively through words.
Here are a few simple ways to maximize your resources to implement a successful brand strategy.
1. Build a solid brand image. Once again, consider your product’s special feature. Add to that the character of your company. Combine these two factors to reinforce an image of the product that reflects favorably on its manufacturer or provider.
Pick one or two characteristics of your company and emphasize those in every advertisement. Distinctive characteristics include excellent customer service, company executives who are renowned experts in a field or a commitment to social responsibility.
2. Reinforce the brand image within the company. Make sure employees at every level of your organization work and behave in a way that reinforces your brand image.
Design orientation programs that introduce new hires to your company’s brand image. Emphasize your brand image in all employee communications, such as brochures, employee manuals, a company intranet and corporate newsletters.
Create incentives for employees at all levels who successfully communicate your brand image to the public. For example, write an article in the company newsletter that showcases an employee who went beyond his stated job duties to assist a customer with an urgent request.
3. Find a Need and Fill It. You do not need a unique product or service to succeed. What you need to do is to create the perspective that your product is unique.
4. Align Your Communications. Seek for consistency in your messages, client interactions, product offerings and operating principles.
5. Rally the Troops. Make sure everyone from the person answering the phone to the person sending your invoices has a clear understanding of your brand and how to deliver on its promises.
6. Make It Easy to Do Business with You. A good website, good location, return calls promptly, have products ready, ship quickly, etc.
7. Give Your Ideal Customer a Name. Develop a customer care program to keep them loyal and seek to make them evangelists for your organization. Referrals are the best sales lead you can have, as an implied level of trust has already been established.
8. Have a Happy Hour. Give a little something away for free on a regular basis. It will give you the chance to talk about what you do and also create continual goodwill for you and your organization.
9. Listen and Learn. Talk to your customers and people in your industry about how they feel about the market, your competitors. No matter if your approach is formal or informal; you will be able to determine both tangible and emotional benefits that you can use to differentiate yourself.
10. Do a Little Detective Work. Check out your competition. Develop a “case file” for each of your key competitors. Fill it with information that you find out on the web, at tradeshows, in their marketing material, your contacts, from trade publications, etc.
We are living in the information age. It is relatively easy to find out most of the information you need. Remember the old saying, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer”.
If you want to learn more from the experts (not self-proclaimed experts) watch these essential videos on how to build your brand online. If you’re busy you can bookmark this page and watch it later. Good luck!
1. “Branding Basics: Making Your Business Stand Out“
2. “Brand Building in the Era of the Empowered Client“
3. “How to Create a Brand Experience“
4. “Display Builds Brands in a Hyperconnected World“
How to Coordinate Different Media to Build your Brand Name
If you’re like most successful marketing executives, you understand just how crucial it is to build brand equity. The emotional attachment that links consumers to your product, as opposed to any other, translates into steady cash flow and a fantastic public image, two key ingredients that solidify your company’s position as a market leader. While most advertisers would agree there are certain basic principles of product branding, each advertiser takes a slightly different approach when it comes to launching a marketing campaign. What follows here are the most widely used steps to build brand equity.
Brand equity is the result of a process which leads to a creation of a unique and distinct brand identity. These brand identifiers are referred to as brand identifiers. Brand identification can be done through various ways; for example, Unique Selling Proposition (USP), Logo, Style, Brand Ambassador, Etc. Brand elements facilitate the process of consumer brain mapping and play a key role in building brand equity. Consumers over period of time are able to identify the brand through brand elements. The idea is to develop brand elements, which can properly communicate about brand and its point of difference from competing brands.
To develop effective integrated marketing communications programs, marketers sometimes must explicitly tie marketing communications together to create or enhance brand equity.
A. Problem: Weak Brand Links
To build brand equity, communication effects created by advertising must be linked to the brand. Often, such links are difficult to create because of:
a) Competitive Clutter.Competing ads in the product category can create “interference” and consumer confusion as to which ad goes with which brand.When Eveready launched a clever ad campaign for Energizer batteries featuring a pink toy bunny that kept on “going … and going … and going,” 40 percent mistakenly attributed it to Eveready’s main competitor, Duracell.
b) Ad Content and Structure.Although “borrowed interest” tactics may grab consumers’ attention, the resulting processing may not create strong brand associations. Delaying brand identification or providing few brand mentions in an ad may raise processing intensity but result in attention directed away from thinking about the brand, contributing to weak brand links.
c) Consumer Involvement.Consumers may not have any inherent interest in the product or service category or may lack knowledge of the specific brand. The resulting decrease in consumer motivation and ability to process also translates to weaker brand links.
B. Solution: Strengthening Communication Effects
Advertising may “work” in the sense that communication effects are stored in memory. Yet advertising may “fail” in the sense that these communication effects are not accessible when consumers make critical brand-related decisions. To address this problem, one common tactic is to make the brand name and package information prominent in the ad. Unfortunately, although consumers are better able to recall the advertised brand with this tactic, there is less other information about the brand to actually recall. Three potentially more effective strategies are brand signatures, ad retrieval cues, and media interactions.
a) Brand Signatures.The brand signature is the manner by which the brand is identified at the conclusion of an internet, TV or radio ad or displayed within a print ad. An effective brand signature provides a seamless connection to the ad as a whole. For example, the famous “Got milk?” campaign always displayed that tagline or slogan in a manner fitting the ad (e.g., in flames for the “yuppie in hell” ad or in primary school print for the “school lunchroom bully” ad).
b) Ad Retrieval Cues.An advertising retrieval cue is a key visual, a catchy slogan, or any unique advertising element that serves as an effective reminder to consumers. Eveready featured a picture of the pink bunny character on the packages of Energizer batteries to reduce confusion with Duracell. Ad retrieval cues can be placed in the store (on the package or as part of a shelf-talker or some other point-of-purchase device), combined with a promotion (an FSI coupon), included as part of a yellow pages directory listing, or embedded in any marketing communication option where recall of communication effects can be advantageous.
c) Media Interactions.Print and radio reinforcement of TV ads— where the video and audio components of a TV ad serve as the basis for other types of ads—can be an effective means to leverage existing communication effects from TV ad exposure and more strongly link them to the brand. A potentially useful, although rarely employed, media strategy is to run explicitly linked print or radio ads prior to the accompanying TV ad. The print and radio ads increase consumer motivation to process the more “complete” TV ad.
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