Archive for May, 2009

Principles of Brand Development

Saturday, May 16th, 2009

You may not have given much thought to brand development, but you should. Brand development involves the evaluation, construction and maintenance of your company’s brand. Your brand is the vital component in differentiating your company from your competitors in the marketplace. Ultimately, your goal is to build customer loyalty through branding.

Standing out among your many competitors in the teeming, crowded modern marketplace is an intimidating challenge, but one that is essential to meet in order for your business to thrive. It is vital to focus on developing an effective brand strategy, or you risk disappearing, becoming invisible in the marketplace.
In order to successfully position your company’s brand above that of your competitors, you must develop your brand to provide an engaging, relevant and unique message directed at clearly identified potential customers. The key elements of successful brand development include several components.

The starting point is aligning your brand with the company’s core values. In order to do this, you need to know what your company’s core values are. Do you have a mission statement for your business? You might find the crafting of mission statements to be innately corny, but it is crucial to branding. How can you expect to align your brand with your company’s core values if you don’t know what your company’s core values are, or at least have not yet articulated those values? You cannot communicate a message if you don’t know what the message is.

The next step is to make whatever message emanates from your company engaging, relevant and unique. This applies to all aspects of your brand, ranging from your company’s logo, to the design of your website, to your advertising, and your descriptions of your products, to just about anything that emanates from your business.

Once you know what your message is, and your company is on message, you must hone that message to incorporate an element of positive emotional attachment in your customers and potential customers. Your goal here is to build loyalty through building customer trust in you and your product or service. Branding needs to be viewed as a long-term process. This message must be consistently echoed throughout within your company, not only in the face that your company shows to the world, but internally within your company.

Once your brand and message are established, you must continually reinforce the message within the organization so that you and your employees clearly and consistently deliver on the clear and consistent promises your brand development have made, both explicitly and implicitly.

You must choose your strategic partners carefully. Your strategic partners, and their message, should echo your message as well. There is no better example of the effectiveness of this approach than a successful election campaign in politics. All the surrogates are clear on what the politician’s brand is, what they have to offer, and they are disciplined about staying on message.

Lastly, yet no less importantly, you must be able to adapt to a changing marketplace. In this information-driven, hyper-speed world, the marketplace changes constantly. If you don’t change with it, you’re a goner