What is YOUR branding strategy? Your first goal should ALWAYS be to establish your name-brand. Branding success means having a loyal target audience. It means you’ve surpassed the customer confidence stage and achieved real customer loyalty. When your target audience is out there promoting your company with word-of-mouth marketing, and they feel disgust whenever viewing an ad from your competitor, you’ve successfully driven the value of your brand deep into their hearts!
So what is a brand? Is it your company name in combination with your logo and tagline? Maybe it’s your positioning statement or motto. How about your mission statement? The simple truth – these will all make up the content of your brand. But by definition, branding is a permanent mark. It’s something that sticks in the mind of your target audience.
Your brand is like an iron. You need to heat it up and press it in to leave a mark. This requires a sound branding strategy!
Successful branding strategy
So that’s the ticket to successful branding. Leave your mark, permanently, in the minds of your target audience by implementing a good branding strategy.
How can you achieve this?
A dramatic event is one way to get something branded into their memory. Repeat occurrences can also cause branding. If the dramatic event or the repeat occurrences are pleasing to your target audience, they’ll delightfully anticipate their next encounter with you.
So incorporate these into your branding strategy. Come up with a sound plan to get in front of your target audience repeatedly, but without bothering them. If your branding strategy can include a dramatic event, plan a good one. Innovate!
An epic example
Ever wonder how Steve Jobs achieved such great branding success with Apple Computer? Apple Inc. was founded as Apple Computer by Steve Jobs, Steve Wazniak, and Ronald Wayne back in 1976. What was his branding strategy?
Steve Jobs cared about quality, first and foremost. Of course, he also cared about differentiation and technical functionality. Without VisiCalc for spreadsheets and an open architecture platform, the Apple II wouldn’t have stood out at the West Coast Computer Faire where it was introduced to the market.
It was the Macintosh, launched in 1984, that really started the process of brand-building for Apple. The elegant shape combined with the far-reaching functionality started that public mental imprint process. And their ground-breaking television ad, which literally broke a stigma about computers, allowed regular folks to imagine a “home” computer.
The Macintosh was not only built to standards of high quality, it had quality architecture. It didn’t crash and it didn’t break down. And most of all, there were no compatibility issues like those which plagued the PC for so many years.
Unfortunately, Apple’s CEO at the time, John Sculley, removed Steve Jobs managerial duties causing him to resign.
On Steve Jobs’ return to Apple in 1997, the real branding strategy began. To start, Steve Jobs delivered design characteristics which caused the Apple name-brand to really pop.
The elegant modern shapes and styles of a product meant for functionality-only, really created an emotional connection to the Apple brand. It was almost a status symbol on a desk. People would display their MAC on a fancy desk in their living-rooms!
Then there were visual features, which were incorporated into the branding strategy. The use of white, which stands out, really separated them from the competition. Not only were the products white, but the cables too. This feature caused bystanders to know at first glance that you were listening to an iPod vs. another MP3 player. All other headphone cables were black.
Another feature was the placement of the Apple logo on their laptops. It’s large and well centered. But the best part – it’s upside-down. That way, when the laptop is open, bystanders will see the Apple logo right-side-up. Free advertising! And whenever Jimmy Fallon opens his laptop on the Tonight Show, you know exactly what it is.
I’m sure we can all agree that their successful products were completely ingenuous. But it was the quality, design, and features that came with the ground-breaking technology which created their brand.
One article I read recently compared the brand imprint of Apple to religion. That place in the brain reserved for religious beliefs is now occupied by Apple as well in many people. I don’t think you can have a stronger imprint than that!
The four branding strategy milestones
When you use a process in your branding strategy to gain brand recognition, you must successfully conquer the following milestones:
Understanding what the public finds important or appealing is usually an underestimated hurdle. What YOU think the public wants may not actually be the case. Unless you’re an extraordinary visionary like Elon Musk, don’t be stubborn about this. Do proper market research to refine your branding strategy. Then trust the data, even if it goes against your thinking. This will mitigate the risk, and ensure you provide appeal to your target audience.
2. Brand familiarity
Having a consistent theme and communication style throughout your web site and your organization is an imperative part of you branding strategy. It will cause customers to become accustomed to your environment. Familiarity can be achieved, and that is very powerful!
3. Customer confidence
Customer confidence comes from the assurance you provide them. Gain their trust. Your new business or web site won’t have brand recognition yet. Customers have no reason to trust you.
So show them how awesome you are! Provide stellar blog content as part of your branding strategy. Free, valuable content combined with a stellar product will cause your brand to stay on top of the minds of your target audience. Good memories don’t stick as well as bad ones do, so be honest and consistent and keep those good memories flowing!
4. Customer loyalty – branding achievement
There’s a strong bond that can be achieved with your target audience when you provide them with repeated good memories – customer loyalty. While customer confidence comes from the trust you establish with them, customer loyalty is the bond that keeps them coming back for more. The branding strategy that develops customer loyalty is the branding strategy that wins!
The majority of customers stop using companies due to poor customer service. Product problems and competitor offerings come in at a distant second and third place. Make customer service a top priority and you’ll gain customer loyalty. Branding achieved!
Thank you for reading:
BRANDING STRATEGY – What is branding, REALLY?
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