A brand is a perception associated with a business’s service or product. This perception cuts across the whole spectrum of the business. It extends to customer service, customer experience, visuals, values, mission statement and feelings or emotions derived from using a service. A good brand enjoys customer loyalty. It enjoys repeat sales and has a good relationship with customers.One unique feature of a brand is that whether created intentionally or not, every business possesses one. Some small businesses and start-ups pay little or no attention to their brand, while others take their destiny into their own hands. Consequently, big companies work very hard to edge their brand into the minds of customers.Rather than leave your brand to the mercy of the market, why not take action to position your business today? Here are 5 branding tips to help you do exactly that.
Brand identityBrand identity is associating a startup or small business with a particular image that becomes the face of the business. The logo does a good job at this and so do tag lines. Whatever the image of choice, it should appear on all your products. Newsletter, letterhead, banners, business cards, and promotional items like pens, t-shirts and mugs should all carry the image.Deliver on promiseCustomers place high demands on brands. They expect businesses, small business and start-ups to deliver on value. If for instance, customer refund is one of your values and you fail to honour that promise, you are damaging your brand and you are hurting your reputation. And in this day of social media, it wouldn’t take long before a ‘#hashtag’ is created. It wouldn’t take long before one little bad seed pollutes the rest of your harvest.Care for your customersCare for your customers because care breeds loyalty. Once you have repeat purchases, create a system that rewards loyalty. Provide some kind of incentive for introducing new customers. Introduce offers for first time buyers. If a customer does not get the required attention from you, they would go next door. Treat them well. Honour your word. Be quick to accept responsibility. Calm agitated customers down. Be nice to them and you would be on your way to creating a good brand. After all, branding revolves around perception.
Go the extra mileIf you are a small business or most probably a start-up business, and it’s within your means, throw in that extra gift. Meet customers halfway, stay the extra five minutes to accommodate their schedule. Give customers an experience they would cherish. An experience they would find hard to get somewhere else, one that would differentiate your product, and one that would trigger repeat service or sale.Conduct a surveyConduct a survey to find out what customers think of your business. You don’t have to make the research formal but be honest with yourself. Put in place measures to correct defects. Reward those who bothered to comply with the research. Use the intelligence gathered to make strategic decisions that would take your start-up or small business forward.