Company Branding and Knowing Your Business
Successful company branding is more about knowing what makes the customer tick and less about a huge advertising budget. Once you know what piques the interest of the target market, plan a strategy to best engage them.
To engage the target market effectively however, you will have to know the business inside and out. Knowing the business—every aspect of it, from the unique value proposition and market size to how to get market loyalty—is the key to communicating the unique company brand.
Do One Thing Great
Every product or service has a unique value proposition—what the customer will get from buying a particular brand or service. Some call it USP—unique selling proposition, what sets you apart from the competition and the only reason why customers should choose you.
However, many businesses can’t nail their unique value proposition because they want to be everything to everyone. Or at least, they want to win as wide a swathe of their target market as possible.
The result of such an unfocused marketing is ambiguous company branding that does not communicate any value to the market. On the other hand, if the message is laser-focused on a single benefit, you are 60% more likely to succeed on getting the market to “buy” whatever product or service you are selling.
Plus, think what it can do to the company branding. You can create a compelling position in the market’s mind as the go-to provider in a particular product or service, like Kleenex is to tissue and Xerox to photocopying.
Know What Your Brand Stands For
Much like the consumer that thinks of lower prices when they see Wal-Mart’s logo or social media when Chris Brogran’s name is mentioned, you would want customers to immediately think of the offering when they hear the brand or see the logo.
The one way to know what the brand stands for—besides knowing every aspect of the product or service, the market, the competition and the industry—is to ask the employees, customers (old and new) and even the man on the street what you do best.
The responses will be a gauge of how well you have branded the company. If they can easily respond to the question, then you have aced the branding. If there’s not one unified theme running through their responses, then it is time to re-think how you are presenting the business, and re-tool the company branding.
A basic springboard for re-imaging the company branding is to understand the specific challenges that the customers or clients are facing, and then have the product or service solve it.
A neat trick is to come up with an elevator speech—a 30-second to 2-minute summary of what the product or service is and the unique way it will solve the customer’s problems (unique value proposition).
Honing in On Your Business
- So what sets you apart from the competition?
- What is it exactly that your brand stands for?
- What’s the itch that you scratch most effectively?
- What’s the pain that you’re taking away?
- What’s the unique value proposition?
To some businesses, these questions are the easiest to answer. They’re so highly niched that they know everything about their business inside out and can explain what they do in under 30 seconds.
For those who have several product lines or service segments, branding may have to go to the molecular level. That is to say, to individual products or services. Nike is to athletic gear as Sony is to…what? Laptops? Movies? Digital games?
Sony’s offerings are so dynamic and so diversified that there’s a different branding for their individual products. They do have a company branding strategy that marries technology with imagination and creativity but you’d expect this to be a very expensive effort to communicate.
For small and medium-scale businesses that don’t have a bottomless marketing budget, laser-focused company branding is your best bet to connecting with your audience.