A brand is a distinguishing symbol, logo, mark, name, word, sentence, slogan or a combination of all these attributes that companies use to distinguish their products or services from that of their competitors. The fact that it creates a distinction from other products and/or services means that some customers would be willing to pay a premium for your goods or services because of the brand. This premium represents the value of the brand to the company in present value terms. The distinction created by branding aids business marketing.
A strategy is a plan of action. It simply crafts the course from the beginning to the end with reviews in between. Therefore, a brand strategy would mean all actions cumulatively geared towards the development and or sustenance of a successful brand with the aim of maximizing returns to the business.There are branding strategies that are almost universal and can fit a majority of businesses today. They include:
1. Total Quality Management
Branding involves all aspects of business management from the arrival of raw materials to the final sale.Throughout the value chain, the business must ensure that high quality is maintained. With a relevant culture this will form part of the brand value of the company and its products or services. A company that delivers quality products and services will obviously have a stronger brand.Emphasis should be placed on:
Quality of the company’s human resource
The company should ensure to recruit competent employees with the highest standards of integrity. This ensures that output generated is of the best possible quality and distractions are minimized.
Quality of suppliers and raw materials
The company should engage with reputable suppliers in order to make sure that inputs are of great quality and therefore minimize wastage and cost of reworks.
Quality of distributors
In business marketing, each company must have a way of delivering its products to the market place.The company must ensure that it enlists the services of reliable distributors in order to ensure that goods are delivered to the customers in a timely manner and there are no stock-outs occasioned by delays.
2. Embrace Story Telling
Story-telling is a very potent way of breathing life to a brand. By giving the company’s products and services an identity through sharing stories they really are, you can take your current or potential customers through a journey they really yearn for. In order for the targeted audience to form a lasting bond with the brand, the story must be authentic, creative and inspirational.
This is part of emotional branding, whose aim is to make customers fall for your products or services.How a person feels about your product typically determines whether they purchase it or not.The aim of story-telling is to create an experience that resonates with your customers.
3. Community Engagement
Since the ultimate aim of branding is to ensure maximization of the value of the organization through improved returns. It therefore means that success can only be guaranteed when the community is involved. The community is the only source of customers, current or potential. The best way to win future customers is to introduce them to your brand when they are still young or before they actually need the product.
For example a young boy is more likely to fall for his father’s type of car, for no particular reason.A company therefore can engage the community through charity and other forms of Corporate Social responsibility. This ensures brand longevity.
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4. Reward Loyalty
If you have customers who are loyal to your products, you have to reward them. These are the customers who have gone to an extent of giving you referrals and often act as your brand ambassadors. It may just be a simple thank you note or a robust loyalty scheme or even a discounted rate for certain products or services.
As anything in the business management cycle, a brand also has a life span. Over time strong brands lose value and if not invigorated may die and be forgotten completely. It is therefore in order for the company to constantly check on the health of their brand and give them a new lease of life when there is need. Re-branding would involve a sustained campaign either through advertising or promotions to ensure that a brand regains lost value or takes a new course. It may involve changing the slogan, symbol or logo to signal a change in business management or strategy.