What’s in a brand?

2 April 2013

Whether you have a small online shop or are a multinational corporation, your brand identity is one of the most important sales tools you have. So how do you make your brand work harder for your business?

There is only one place to start: take a good look at your product or service and figure out what it means to your customers. This knowledge gives you the ability to improve how your customers perceive your brand.

A great way to start this process is to use the four pillars of branding:

Differentiation – How is your brand different from your competitors?

Finding the difference can be a tough task. There are few examples of being totally unique. If you’re the only person in the world who can write a particular kind of software, you are unique.

However, if you are selling a bar of chocolate you have to create the difference. That could be achieved through using high quality ingredients, rare ingredients, making a healthier bar, or through a compelling back-story. Quite simply you have to find the difference.

Relevance – Do your customers find your product or service relevant in their lives?

Even squirrels have got the Malteser message...

If your product or service is something your customers can get anywhere you have find a way to make your customers think of you first. Using the chocolate bar as an example, why is it more relevant to someone? The Malteser’s slogan is ‘Let your lighter side out’. They’re telling their customers that they can enjoy their chocolate guilt free because it’s not a heavy indulgence.

Esteem ­– Is there a high level of respect for what you do or sell?

It’s important that your customers respect your brand. You have to be authentic with people because if you say you can do something and fail, you’ll lose respect. If you are selling your chocolate on the back of high quality ingredients, you must be able to support that claim.

Knowledge – Do your customer know what you stand for?

An educated customer base is more loyal. Give them the information to understand what your core values and beliefs are, what your products are and what you can do for them. Looking at the chocolate bar again, you have to ensure that people choose your bar because they know the ingredients are good. You can tell them through a mix of package design, and website information.

Armed with this new knowledge about your business, you can start to turn your brand into something bigger and stronger. Here are some simple ways to start the process:

  • Take the time to have a good logo designed because that will become synonymous with your brand.
  • Write a great slogan because this will help people quickly understand what makes you different from your competitors.
  • Make your packaging, marketing literature and website look great – everyone responds more positively to quality presentation.
  • If you’re using social media be active – a quiet Twitter account and empty Facebook page make you look like you don’t care about your customers.
  • Respond quickly to complaints because you’ll garner greater respect for being nice than for ignoring people.
  • Use your website – this is the perfect space for educating people about your brand and by making it a great space for people to visit, your brand will be able to grow in your customers minds.



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