Friday, March 6, 2009

Build a brand, not a slogan.

– Establish your brand and set yourself apart from the competition.

Why is building a brand important? When all other things are equal (or viewed as equal), your brand is the differentiator. Building a distinct brand that resonates in the consumer’s mind should be one of your company’s main objectives.

Here are five basic ways you can begin to build a brand that makes a difference:

1. Think long-term
Building a brand begins with a consistent approach to communicating who your company is and what you stand for. The words that you select to use to describe your company will be used by the consumer to form your brand image, so they should be selected carefully. Your companies brand or slogan of the moment will not become recognizable overnight, over several months or even over several years. You need to expect and commit to use them over a long period of time. Once you’ve committed to brand building.

2. Use Research
The best way to find how your company is perceived is to conduct research. Start your research with your customers. Find out why they selected your company over your competitors. What are the attributes you possess that elevate your company in the mind of the consumer? You need to also talk to potential customers to find out what are they looking from companies in your space. You’ll garner just as much if not more insight from the people who aren’t doing business with you and you do from those who are. Use this research to help you identify your companies, strengths and weaknesses.

3. Recognize your Faults
Now that you’ve used research to find out what your strengths and weaknesses are, take a hard look in the mirror and see your company through the eyes of your customer. Are you really delivering on your promise of outstanding service or huge selection or whatever? If you are great, but chances are your customers will tell you that your not as cool as you thought you were. That’s a good thing. One of the best ways to overcome objections is to know what the issues are. Once you know where the issues are, you can be prepared to overcome them and you’ll also know what things your company is really good at.

4. Play Up your Strengths
Hopefully, the research and review have shown you that your customers view you differently, than you view yourself. The next step in build a brand is to take the things you do well -- customer service, high quality materials, low price, whatever -- and

5. Don’t over-promise and under-deliver.
This one’s pretty simple: Your brand and brand promise will be built on your companies ability to give the customer exactly what you say your going to give them. If you don’t, then customers will discount your brand to the benefit of your competitors who are or are perceived to be delivering on their promises.

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