Generally this blog focuses on branding advice for startups, but today I'd like to talk about three things that every organisation can and should do to add value to their brand, be they a startup, small business or multinational corporation. Consider making them your brand resolutions for the new year.
Identify What Makes You Unique
Developing a successful brand is all about identifying what makes your product or service offering unique. It might be the nature of the product itself, the way it's packaged or the way it's delivered. It might be the shopping experience that your customer has in store or whilst browsing your website. It might be the unrivaled expertise of your staff, or the lifestyle choice you offer your customers. Whatever it is, put it at the heart of your brand activations and communications. Build a strong and proactive brand around your one unique thing, and everything you do will help cement and enhance your position in the market.
Listen To Your Customers
As I mentioned in an earlier article on branding definitions, your brand is never entirely your own. In fact, it's an understanding between your organisation and your customers - it's a promise on your part, and an expectation on theirs. Make sure that your brand promise is meeting (and possibly exceeding) your customers' expectations. Get information and feedback from them in any way you can, and determine whether there are ways in which your brand can better align with your customers. You don't have to be the biggest or the best to succeed, but you do need to intimately understand your customer's needs, expectations and aspirations, and ensure that your brand is serving them to the best of your ability.
Put Your Brand First
In the 21st century, being a good business or even a great business isn't good enough. There are other great businesses vying to take your place, and in the unlikely event that there aren't, there soon will be. How does the customer decide between two or more great businesses delivering near-identical products or services? They decide based on brand identity and brand experiences. Regardless of the size or scope of your business, effective brand identity, well executed, is no longer a luxury - it's a necessity. Make sure that your organisation devotes appropriate time and resources to developing and managing your brand if you want to get anywhere near the top spot and stay there.
What are your brand resolutions for 2015? Please leave your comments below. If you've enjoyed this article, you can subscribe at the top of the page.