You cannot escape the power of the brand. Whether you’re the type that only buys “brand name” products or you simply don’t care, brands are everywhere. No matter where you go you and your family are reminded of, enticed by, and sold on brands. The brand is powerful because it tells a story. It tells the story of a company, its people, its products, and the why and the how it came to be. People love stories. This is to your advantage as a business, because people love to relate to stories. They want to be able to relate to you and your company. It provides them with the feeling of oneness with others. You may not know this, but your brand makes your consumer feel like they “fit in.” Cliff, our company President, gives a great example as to why brands are so powerful and proves that even a child can recognize a brand, in his blog http://ecallis.com/power-brandmark/.
Every company, large or small, should have a brand. Why? Because your brand is the impression you make. There is a responsibility that comes with having a brand, though, and that is the promise that there will be consistency with your message and that there won’t be confusion between your brand and the competition.
Brand confusion is very frustrating to your consumer. With the growth and addition of many new brands every day, differentiating yours can pose a challenge to companies. Strong branding is critical because it can mean a difference in profits. Competitors may focus more on offering discounts and coupons as a way to make brands seem less important. But, with a strong brand and a consistent message, your customers will stay with you and you will continue to attract new customers as well. Note the part about people wanting to relate to you and your company. This also applies to business growth. People want to relate to their friends as well. If your brand is strong enough, you can keep your customers through the long haul, while attracting new business at the same time. You don’t have to provide discounts or cut your prices, IF your brand and promise is consistent, and you follow through with your product or service. Without a clear brand and consistent message, the only way you can stand out from your competitors is by price.
When you’re ready for your brand to differentiate, there are steps to take to make sure your message is consistent. Consistency is important because your brand is what people know you for. You must maintain a static stream with your brand because essentially it is how people know you. Your brand is your image and your image is very important. With the many marketing methods today, it might feel difficult to you to make sure your message is consistent. Through print, TV, social media, and beyond, you need to make sure your brand is coming across in every avenue. Your visual message and image must be consistent. Keep in mind it is okay to change your brand over time, but it’s definitely something that takes a lot of work. For the present task of differentiating, your visuals are what bring your customer to you first. Every detail must be consistent (color, copy, images, etc.). Your communication and content must hold the same string of consistency. And it must coincide with your visuals. Once you’ve established your visuals and communication, set a standard and stick to it. As a company, each and every employee should quality check to make sure that each message you put out to the media measures up to the standards you’ve established for your brand. Having a checks and balances system within your company is helpful here. Your employees should be guided and taught to keep the brand in mind at all times.
With these steps, going from brand confusion to brand consistency can be a smooth process. Take a look at your own brand, the story behind it, and the standards it holds. If you feel you don’t stand out from the competition and you are using price cutting to get ahead, now is the time to think about empowering your brand.