While you probably already know it’s important to establish a brand, you may be making a common mistake by assuming branding and marketing are largely synonymous. In fact, marketing is a tool that helps establish your brand, and branding goes much deeper.
Consider marketing as a communication device that helps echo your business’s voice, personality and values. Together, those areas encompass branding. Below, you’ll learn more about some other frequent misconceptions that could be adversely impacting how you promote your business to a target audience.
Responsibility for Defining the Brand
As the person who’s more than likely at the helm of your small business, it makes sense why you’d assume your goal is to develop the brand so customers can notice and embrace it. That’s true to some extent, because you will need to lay the groundwork. However, it’ll ultimately be your customers who are the biggest influencers when it comes to helping the brand take shape. Sometimes you can encourage them to speak up by engaging in market research, especially by reaching out via social media and other informal methods.
Following a Set Formula
If you’ve ever incredulously watched as some of the world’s top brands seemed to grow stronger by the day while remaining immune to challenges in the marketplace, you may be under the impression it’s necessary to follow some sort of magic formula that’s apparently worked well for those entities. Although there are some best practices that are helpful to know, every business is different. By trying to fit yours into preconceived ideals, you could unwittingly be hampering its growth.
Branding should always be customized to meet your needs and those of your customers. The good news is, no matter which techniques you use, it’s fairly easy to measure most of them to gauge success or decide whether it’s time to take a different approach. If you have the budget, you can also enlist help from top branding agencies to get expert advice.
Your Brand and Its Culture
Culture is an essential part of your brand. When your company has a strong internal culture, anyone working for you can help promote the business naturally just because your environment is a rewarding place to work.
Being properly informed about products or services is a crucial part of company culture. If your company specializes in custom swimming pool designs, it’s helpful if all or most of the employees you hire either have their own swimming pools or have been involved in all aspects of designing them. Then, when customers come to you, it’ll be easier for them to see you care about having people on your team who possess working understandings of your industry’s foundational principles.
Early in your branding process, make a list of characteristics you’d like to define within the brand. After that, it should be much easier to determine how company culture can highlight those components to customers as well as employees. Once you’ve ironed out the specifics and implemented cultural values, your business should gain momentum, allowing the culture to get more established within your brand, often with minimal effort from you.
The Customer is Always Right
In addition to not getting steered in the wrong direction by believing branding myths, it’s important to not become overly dependent on what customers recommend. Earlier, it was mentioned how customers can help your brand form. However, there may be times where something they recommend goes directly against what feels right in your gut.
Don’t risk compromising your brand by being too quick to think customers understand the business better than you do. The key is to step back and evaluate the situation with a clear head, carefully using a combination of your own knowledge and customer suggestions.
Thanks to these revelations about branding, you now may have a much different perspective about which steps to take to help your business’s brand become more defined and valuable. Remember, there’s no single way to find branding success, but if you’re willing to be flexible, that kind of attitude could go a long way while you find out what works best.
Published: February 27, 2014