Branding is a word that’s thrown around frequently among entrepreneurs and other individuals in business. It’s one of those buzz words that people like to use even though they don’t completely understand its meaning. Many small business owners like to discuss their brand, but haven’t grasped the meaning and importance of depicting it to potential customers.
So what is it exactly?
Simply put, branding is the perception of your company that someone has when they hear of, think of or see your company’s name, products, and/or services. Your company’s brand is always evolving, just as your target audiences. That being said, your brand is that perception influenced by the audience’s environment. Make sense? If not, let’s try an example.
What comes to mind when you see the above logo?
McDonald’s…Happy Meal…24-hour drive thru…Chicken Nuggets…Family Friendly…Inexpensive…Dollar Menu…Big Mac…Breakfast…
I love to use McDonald’s as an example of branding because their brand is so strong. Love them or hate them, when someone sees those golden arches, they automatically know what it symbolizes. The McDonald’s brand is so powerful, small children can identify it just by seeing their logo. In today’s post, we’re sharing ways that your brand can do the same – or at least build a foundation to be able to do so in the future.
Customize your brand message.
This is the very first step in having a stand-out brand. Before you have a logo or website designed and even before you create official products and services, you must customize your message. What is your mission? Vision? How is your company different from others who offer similar services and products? What type of culture or personality does your brand have? All of these questions will help you construct messages that are unique to your brand.
Respond to clients immediately.
The customer experience is key to having a stand-out brand that your customers and clients will advocate for. If a customer or potential customer reaches out to you, don’t leave them waiting. Whether they make contact in person, online or through social media, be sure to address all questions and concerns in a timely manner. We recommend responding within 48 hours of the initial contact. Fast responses usually result in happy clients and potential clients will feel important and valued.
Be curious and continue to learn.
As mentioned earlier, your brand will continually evolve. There may be a time where you’ll need to reevaluate your message, update your logo or re-think your strategy. There is never a such thing as knowing it all. Smart brands look to their consumers for direction and by continuing to learn, you’ll receive valuable insight from others leading to new ideas. This promotes growth.
Protect your relationships.
In Public Relations, relationships are the name of the game. We place the highest emphasis on protecting our relationships – not just with our customers but with the media, our communities and any other stakeholders. Put a little effort into living your brand, not just promoting it. Send thank you notes, holiday cards, offer specials and discounts and put a plan in place to handle crises should they arise.
What are some of your favorite stand-out brands? Tell us who they are and why in the comments section below!