Businesses are set up to cater for the needs of customers, yield profits and invariable contribute to the growth of the society.
However, the growth of your enterprise is primarily hinged on the customer and their perception of your brand. The reason is because, what your customers say about your product or service is the reality.
What is Branding?
It is the impression that pops into the consumers mind when they hear your business’ name. It is based on a feeling they have, that is based on the experiences they have had with your brand, which could be good or bad.
Over the years, some brands like Coca-Cola, Pampers, Indomie, Google, Microsoft and even Alabukun (one of the oldest Nigerian brands) have stood the test of time and distinguished themselves by endearing themselves to the heart of consumers, resulting in millions of dollars annual profit.
Only a few days ago, did the internet and world go haywire due to the buzz created by Nike’s Just do it campaign and Apple’s release of iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR. These are examples of branding strategies employed by big-wig companies to stay relevant.
The world’s most valuable brands of 2018
- Samsung Group
Source: Brand Directory
These are the first noticeable features that grabs the attention of consumer to your brand
- Product quality
- Brand message
- Customer service
- Business environment
- Website and Social media presence
- Logo and corporate colors
- Customer loyalty rewards
NB: Price is placed least not because it is not relevant but because if all or some of the above is checked, a happy and satisfied client might turn a blind eye to it.
In 2017, Apple thanks to its hard-core fan base, got away with pricing a phone at $999 and proceeded to sell 29 million of them in less than two months.
Building a Brand
When picking a name for a brand, put into consideration that it should be:
- arbitrary (distinct)
A great name goes a long way to save clients from mistaking your brand for another and eliminating trademark battles. Facebook, iPhone, Nike and the likes have stories behind their names.
Customers are more “emotional” in their buying choices than you might think
Customers are more likely to remember and purchase products and services that make them feel good and proud.
Apple, Rolex, Louis Vuitton, Mercedes, GtBank etc. have successful mastered this craft. This brands make their consumer feel powerful and on top of the world.
Customer is King
Customer is king, treat them as such- this is a ground rule that isn’t toyed with in the business world
“Our focus is on customer obsession rather than competitor obsession, eagerness to invent and pioneer…” – Jeff Bezos (Amazon)
Know your customer and build according to their needs not according to what you think you they want.
Consistency is not synonymous with rigidity; world’s famous brands have been flexible with their brand strategies but not compromising on consistency.
Coca-Cola has created a niche for its self and so far being consistent with its refreshing taste signature.
“Now people in more than 200 countries drink 1.9 billion servings every day”
– The Coca-Cola Company.
A great way to improve your chances of consistency is to create some ‘brand guidelines’
KFC has conquered the fast food business in China by not only selling Finger-Lickin’ Chicken but also delivering local cuisines with a global touch and connecting with the younger consumers (millennials) through technology and creativity
When it comes to brand visibility, no one does it better than Apple, Nike and Coca-Cola. Advertisement and brand visibility goes beyond normal posters and jingles. Companies invest time and resources to roll out adverts that entertains, captivates and communicates the core of their brand message to clients.
An example is MTN Nigeria’s Man-In-The-Box campaign that left Lagosian amazed.
The power of social media and the internet is unparalleled. Famous brands have huge online followers making it easy to sell, interact, understand and reward clients.
“If your business is not on the internet, then your business will be out of business.”
– Bill Gates
By constantly being innovative and understanding customer needs, your brand is at vantage point to lead competition. Microsoft is always concerned with improved User experience thereby staying ahead of its competitors
Nike also tries to stay ahead with various brand strategies formulation, Social media campaign, advancements in the technology of their products (e.g. auto-lacing shoes) this culminated in a whopping 44 Gold medals for their USA athletes at the Rio 2016 Olympics.
Unique Selling Point
This unique standpoint helps your customers understand what you offer and how you are different.
Apple for instance has been focusing on the profitable upper end of the smartphone market, introducing ever more sophisticated and expensive smartphones. The latest ones- iPhone XR starts sales at $749, while iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max start at $999 and $1,099. That’s how Apple has managed to stay highly profitable.
On the other hand, Samsung and the Chinese smartphone makers after understanding their strengths and comparative advantage have been focusing on the mid & low-end of the smartphone market by producing cheaper and relatively affordable gadgets.
While smaller brands are still battling for relevance and recognition, the top guns are always reinventing and have started exploring newer terrains by embracing Blockchain, AI, Big data analytics etc. Examples include Google’s Waymo, Tesla’s Electric cars, Microsoft’s Azure Blockchain.
So instead of trying to play catch up, why not go ahead and be front-runner before others wake up to that side of the world.
In essence, to achieve the status of being a globally recognized brand you have to establish an indelible image of your company in your customers’ eyes & mind.
“Your brand is your story. It’s your logo. It’s your foundation. It’s the feeling your customers get when they walk through your doors. It’s the personality and cornerstone of your business.”