Never underestimate the power and importance of branding. It’s perhaps the most important aspect of any business. It goes beyond product, distribution, pricing, or location. The brand defines the business in the world. It’s the name that identifies the business to itself and the wider marketplace.
A model may be beautiful, but without a name (her own personal brand), she will be “the girl in that picture”. Think about it; where would Norma Jean be without Marilyn Monroe, or who would think of Coca-Cola as just a manufacturer of soft drinks?
The Importance Of Branding: Identifying Your Brand.
Identifying your own brand will provides an obvious sign to customers and competitors alike, a name that is linked to product or service that distinguishes it from anything else. Harry may have a hobby shop, but advertising this as “The hobby shop run by Harry just down the road a bit” is not really very effective is it? People will have trouble connecting with something that’s vague like this and are less likely to visit and therefore not recommend the hobby shop. It may well be the best hobby shop around, but who would know it? A customer looking up Harry’s hobby shop on the internet will find it easier and more memorable if had a short name that could be Harry’s particular brand name too. Something like “Harry’s Hobby House” for example. Any potential customer can then refer others to Harry’s shop by name, exponentially increasing the potential advertising opportunities to referrals too.
Developing Your Brand.
Developing your brand takes a lot more than choosing a catchy and memorable name and placing ads all over the place. A brand is far more than a sequence of words attached to a particular product. A successful brand is a psychological “trigger” that needs to make a consumer react in a specific way when they think of that brand.
Returning to the soft drink scenario a second. Let’s think of someone who enjoys a cola, which they consider refreshing on a hot day; would the think of a cold cola, or an ice-cold Coke? The Coca-Cola Company has spent 100 years developing their brand of cola as a refreshing beverage and a formative representation of a market segment. Coca-Cola has taken advantage of a mix of direct marketing, give-away techniques, and multi-product cross-branding to achieve maximum brand recognition and visibility. It has expanded outside its immediate competitive market into sponsoring sporting events and many other things. These are outside their direct market, but cleverly people could be encouraged to buy a coke as a means of refreshment when watching or taking part in such events.
Importance Of Branding: Brand Loyalty.
Brand loyalty is an important part of developing a brand. Consumers usually have a choice of products in a specific niche market, so a successful company will find ways to have consumers returning to them. This may be to buy more of the product or using the services rather than going to a competitor.
The brand loyalty can be built up by offering money off coupons or other incentives in the same way the large supermarket chains do to draw consumers into the store. This potential “loss leader” technique is designed to entice the person in where they will buy more products alongside the discounted offers at a higher profit margin. Sometimes, in exchange for discounts and grocery coupons, you may be asked to fill in a short survey on your own buying habits and average spending amounts. You will be asked to provide contact information so they can market directly to you if you have no objection to this. This information helps tailor advertisements and better-focus future promotional efforts.
When the customer has been “drawn in”, a successful brand loyalty campaign will result in higher sales volume. Loyal customers tend to be less sensitive to price changes (within reason, of course) and less sensitive to competitors’ incentives.
Studies have shown that 5 times as much is spent to gain a customer than to retain one. That’s 5 times as much you could spend on other things.
If you work in your own home business, in network marketing or as a coach for example, your brand will be YOU. A brand is the identification of your business and what it does. With the importance of branding, you should put in some effort to develop it, which if done well, can mature into a successful and profitable asset for you.