What’s in a brand?
A trademark or distinctive name identifying a product or a manufacturer.
A product line so identified: a popular brand of soap.
A distinctive category; a particular kind: a brand of comedy that I do not care for.
A mark indicating identity or ownership, burned on the hide of an animal with a hot iron.
A mark burned into the flesh of criminals.
A mark of disgrace or notoriety; a stigma. See Synonyms at stain.
A branding iron.
A piece of burning or charred wood.
A sword: “So flashed and fell the brand Excalibur” (Tennyson).
Marketing is about what every part of what your business does for its customers.
Branding is more emotional and is, in the mind of the customer about everything you deliver, from your logo, colour, words, product, service, quality, (etc) in a nutshell it is your promise, a promise which is built up over time and one which is not about money.
From the moment you get up in the morning to going to bed at night we are bombarded with brands.
Kellogs, Colgate, Imperial Leather, Nike, BMW, HP, Dell, Microsoft, MacDonalds, Coca Cola, Virgin, First Direct, Egg, Body Shop, Disney, Nescafe
Do you remember the cornflakes ad about remembering how good they tasted, well I fell for it and you know what, I remembered that I hated them on first taste.
Why is it important to develop a strong brand?
Simple. You need to get your prospects to see you as the only one that provides a solution to their problem.
Your brand needs a personality which evokes good feelings in your customer, which when they think about buying a particular product or service only yours springs to mind.
To begin the development of your brands strategy you must have an understanding of these marketing components:
Target market – who are they, and when you know understand their wants and needs, their views and opinions, including their feelings, habits, motivations, insecurities, prejudices, and desires
Competition, who are they, where are they and what do they do?
Product and service mix
Price, high or low, value for money?
Unique selling proposition – what makes you different
You need to set clear objectives for your brand. What do you want people to think and feel about it?
Once you have done this you can start to develop your strategy.
One of your strategies should be to get some good technology to help you stay on track.
Of course you need a computer, that goes without saying, Outlook to manage your email and diary and Office for letters, proposals, pricing & presentations are just some the essentials.
After that a really good CRM (customer relationship management) solution. Information to my mind is king. And if you keep good clean up to date data, which can be analysed, it will enable you to target your target market more effectively and provide consistent customer service.
An integrated online strategy with a good website, possibly with e-commerce for taking orders which can be integrated into your sales order processing system, newsletters, a blog, a forum, ebooks, banner ads, Really Simple Syndication (RSS), web analytics, Google adwords and online customer service (etc) will add to your marketing arsenal.
If you plan to use email marketing then there are an abundance of tools available which will help you to get the right content out in the right format to the right people at the right time and control your subscriptions.
SMS can be used for voting, prize notifications, updates, special offers, delivery advice, results etc.
A PDA will enable you to stay in touch on the road, have your calendar and contacts to hand, may even let you take orders and help you to find your way with GPS.
And last but not least CD’s and DVD’s.
Technology for technologies sake is not the answer, remember technology should be deployed in a company to enhance marketing activities, if you use it well, it will help you to understand and serve your customer better. Which all adds to the magic of the brand.