CEOs, entrepreneurs and other leaders in the business world talk a lot about ‘building a brand’, but less often about why it’s important. What does your brand do for you that it deserves this emphasis, and just how do you go about building or strengthening one? Is it just another word for advertising?
Today we’re taking a dive into the subject and finding out how you can build a brand that works for you.
What is a Brand?
A brand is so much more than just advertising. Your advertising is the most direct means you have to build and develop your brand, but the actual work of creating one is done inside consumers heads. A brand is made up of every interaction a customer has with your business, from huge purchases to the smallest, glancing contact.
It means you have a lot of chances to influence customers – with direct advertising, with the attitude of the people who work in customer-facing roles, with the feel of your products or the phrasing of your website – but it also means a lot of work. Putting in the work to express your brand at every level and through every decision in your business means customers have all the ingredients they need to create a strong, consistent image of your business that makes it easy to choose you to spend their money with. It’s also time and resource consuming – but it’s work that needs doing.
You need to be constantly measuring the impact of the decisions you make on your brand – canvassing the public to be sure your ideas about what will resonate with them, and create the impression you want to create are reflected in reality.
Working with a market research firm increases the reach of the research you can do – it’s as important to find out why people who’ve not chosen to spend money with you went elsewhere as it is to reassure yourself why your loyal customers are so loyal. Brand tracker surveys ask consumers how they rate your brand across what you decide are the key metrics for your niche, and then compare them with your competitors so you can see where you fit into the overall brand index for your industry. This is a vital health check: it tells you what you’re doing right, where you’re falling behind and what success looks like for you – who you have to chase!