Today, buyers of a business's products and services are searching for the authentic. That's why it's critical that the products and services a business provides are consistent with its image.
"Image" in today's culture is generally only important when it is steeped in reality. In other words, people are far more inclined to do business with an organization when they're certain that "what you see is what you get." The age of hype is over! Say what you are. Be what you are. And be very sure there is tight correlation between the two.
What does it mean to be authentic?
Authenticity is all about matching all of the elements of your brand's messaging to who you are as a company, showing your target audience the "real you" instead of a manufactured entity. Your prospects are much more visually sophisticated than ever before - and not just with television, but with all forms of visual media and communications.
If a business wants to have any hope of being relevant to those they are trying to reach, their brand needs to shout out a visual message that’s both meaningful and relevant.
If a brand's messaging is inauthentic or inconsistent, it may be time for a business to refine its message, update its logo, and redesign dated visual styles. Branding strategy is all about developing a coherent look, message, and plan for growth that is fully consistent with their vision, aspirations, and reality.
Developing a brand strategy solidifies and improves a business’s position in the marketplace. It conveys the values, benefits, and personality of a business.
A successful strategy comes as a result of communication between the marketing firm and key business personnel to clearly define what the business wants to accomplish, along with in-depth analysis.
The strongest brand strategies are the ones that set the business on a path to fulfilling its bigger vision - growth, greater market share, developing brand loyalty, and more.
Determining who your brand is
- Who are we?
- What are we?
- What makes us unique?
- What do people remember most about us?
These elements must focus on effective communication of how a business is perceived by those trying to be reached in an authentic and positive way. Positioning and branding statements are a huge part of this process. Once you've developed your strategy, you can consistently communicate the essence of the business to employees, demonstrating everything being done as a company to achieve success.
Once branding is developed, traction for growth moves forward by employing a new logo, visual elements, and message both online and in print communications.
Eight key points on branding:
- Branding is consistency in marketing communications that builds a bridge between your business and your prospects.
- A brand is the perception you create in the mind of those you are trying to connect with. It’s the act of developing that perception. The truth is, you are already branding your business whether you know it or not! Communication plays a part; design plays a part; and your target audience sets the direction.
- A successful branding program is based on singularity. It creates in the mind of the prospect the perception that there is no business quite like yours.
- Branding serves as the primary link between your business and all of your communications and marketing.
- A well-branded business is one that understands who they are and who they are trying to reach, and it communicates that effectively through all marketing messaging.
- "Branding" is not an elevated marketing term. Branding makes a business become strategic.
- Your people make the brand work. Your brand is more than a logo. It points to all your products and services, and the people inside your business have to deliver them.
- Branding is the glue that holds all of your communications and marketing functions together.