This article explains how a strong branding strategy can help your business compete in the crowded, cutthroat market.
It is not uncommon for small business owners to overlook the importance of a strong brand, thinking that this is only for well-established companies with a budget to spare.
But take note that your brand is the entire experience, expectation, and hope of your target audience after their contact with your company, product, and/or service.
While a brand is often associated with visual representation, the truth is that it extends far beyond your logo, name, slogan, or trademarks.
In essence, the sum of all your customers’ experiences, their perception of your business, and anything associated with it defines your brand.
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On the other hand, your brand strategy encompasses your business’s long-term goals. To make this strategy “work,” it should grow and reflect the evolution of your brand.
First, you must describe your company’s vision, mission, purpose, and personality with accuracy to clearly define your brand strategy.
While your brand strategy includes the creative aspects that convey your brand, note that the images you show, the messages you deliver, and the ways your employees interact with customers are also its reflection.
Now, let’s discuss the importance of brand strategy to your long-term success, especially in brand awareness and recognition.
The Importance Of Brand Strategy To Your Long-Term Success
Brand Strategy Creates Top-Of-Mind Awareness.
Your brand will help your customers develop a better understanding and familiarity with your products or services. Your brand comes up on their mind immediately when they think about making a purchase.
It Separates Your Company From The Competition.
To find success in this saturated, competitive market, you must create a distinct identity that separates you from your competitors.
Your Brand Generates Repeat Business
If your brand is distinct from the rest of the competition, it will be easier for your customers to find your products if they want to purchase them again.
It Determines Your Focus
You cannot create a great brand strategy without defining your company’s core values, i.e., why it exists, what pain points it needs to resolve, and who is its target consumer.
This core value allows you to channel your time and money towards brand development and management that reflects your company.
To highlight the importance of having meticulously curated branding strategies, David Aaker, known as the father of modern branding, once said that “a brilliant marketing idea with a small budget is worth much more than a big-budget but mediocre idea.”
Aaker believes that the success of branding strategy boils down to meticulous planning and not on the budget itself.
How Branding Brings More Value to Your Business
Let’s imagine that you own a coffee shop, and you spend about 2% of your annual revenue on advertising and marketing each year.
An average coffee shop generates about $215,000 of sales per year. Thus, your advertising and marketing budget is around $360 a month.
You use this budget on flyers, signage, and brochures, billboards, etc.
Then, let’s say you also hire a freelancer who can work on your new marketing campaign for three hours.
In total, you spent 12 hours and $440 worth of budget as part of your monthly marketing campaign, which in the back of your mind is an investment that is supposed to provide a long-term return on investment.
A Strong Brand Makes Marketing Campaigns Cost Effective
If you’re shooting blindly with your marketing campaign and hoping that customers will flock into your shop, you may not recoup your expenses.
Without a strong brand, your coffee shop will be just like an ordinary, “forgettable” one. As a result, the customers who might visit your business only do so out of convenience.
You can spend money on paid ads which might help, but it’s not going to last.
Your 12 hours and $440 a month will vanish without bringing any real value to your business.
However, if you focus that amount of time and money on your business’s unique product or service, you will get the results you are expecting, or possibly even more.
Here are some examples of how people can identify your coffee shop’s brand:
- You only serve locally-grown beans.
- You brewed coffee using an old-fashioned technique.
- A world champion barista runs your shop.
- Your shop employs people from the homeless community.
- Your coffee shop sells books.
- You commission art from local artists to decorate your shop.
- Your shop offers unique souvenirs from your town.
- You serve seasonal flavors.
Let’s use the seasonal flavors “focus.” If you highlight this aspect of your coffee shop in all of your advertisements and social media posts, your audience will eventually remember you because of your “unique” offer.
People will start to become more curious about the seasonal drinks you offer. Then, as you continue focusing your resources on crafting new seasonal drinks and improving the best-sellers, your business will start getting positive word of mouth.
Your customers will never get tired of the same flavor, and they will recognize your shop for its continuous innovation and relevance. This may eventually earn you a spot in local magazines or newspapers, which can further amplify your marketing campaign without having to spend a single dime.
While branding doesn’t directly cut your expenses, it allows you to earn more money over time. In essence, a well-planned, well-executed branding makes it easier and cheaper for you to attract new customers and retain patrons.
Be Real And Sincere With Your Brand
Howard Schultz, who is the former chairman and CEO of Starbucks, highlights the importance of knowing the core values of your business. As opposed to looking for external inspiration (such as your more established competitors) when developing your brand.
To recap, your company’s brand is a message, a perception, an experience, and above all, the experience you offer to your customers.