This may come as a surprise... to you, but Branding is more than just Logo and Business or Product Name recognition.
Branding is "The total emotional and intellectual involvement your prospects and customers have with your business and products."
This article addresses 5 basic problems and questions about Branding:
How Are Brands Created ?
=> Branding by "Personal Experience"
This creates the strongest bond between your customers and your business and products.
Your customer service, front and back end offers must be of high quality, in order to create exceptional "Personal Experience". This starts a virtuous cycle.
Exceptional "Personal Experiences" lead to general public and market acclaim spread by word of mouth and other publicity. In turn, this feeds into a still stronger Brand, starting the cycle all over again.
However, always remember it is easier to create a negative Brand than it is to create a positive one, by offering low or poor quality and value products, services and customer support.
=> Branding by "Indirect Experience"
For many direct marketers, "Personal Experience" Branding is difficult and not easily achieved because sales that lead to "Personal Experience" are not easily made !
The "Indirect Experience" strategy relies on creating a consistent, repeating association to the product in your prospects mind.
Marketers use a variety of tactics to achieve this aim.
* Jingles in audio visual media
* Using Slogans
* Advertising through classifieds, display, press releases, and give away products and information.
* Sponsorship of media, cultural, sporting and other events
Brand Building On The Internet - The Issues
The Internet has re-defined Branding models of the past because it has levelled the playing field, for both consumers and businesses.
Prospects and customers are more involved with businesses and products than they were in the past.
Research of products and services, before purchase is easier.
Consumers have so much choice now they are no longer easily "taught" loyalty to a particular Brand.
Consumers are less willing to form bonds or create "loyal" associations with products and businesses.
On the other side of the coin, businesses have much more competition and must be more customer focussed than ever before.
Companies that thrive and stay in business recognise building lasting relationships with existing customers is more profitable, than always trying to find new customers.
A World of stronger consumers who by-pass your direct and indirect experiences with a click of the mouse, is difficult for Brand builders.
On the Internet those that succeed make profits, the rest fail.
The Cost And Value Of A Brand.
Brand building has a cost in time, money and effort.
The cost of Brand building is easily quantified in Dollar terms.
The value of a Brand is harder to establish because it involves measuring emotional and intellectual associations that might not necessarily translate into cash sales.
Not understanding the value, but clearly understanding the cost of Branding, some marketers decide to get round this problem by competing solely on price.
This is a short sighted tactic because it invites "price wars", and if you get involved in a "price war" against an opponent with deeper pockets you are bound to loose.
A better strategy is to compete on high product value and build quality Brand recognition over time.
Brands Are Not Eternal
Brand building is an ongoing Business strategy.
The emotional and intellectual associations and recognition that together make up Brand loyalty wear off if not re-energised frequently.
Brands are subject to fashion, fads and change, and understand recognition is not the same as popularity.
Your market may recognise your Brand, but that may not translate into sales if the association is unfashionable.
The temptation, in such circumstances, is to spend less on Branding, cut prices, or , drop the business line altogether.
These are knee jerk reactions to uncontrollable events when taken in the short term. A measured initial response is to re-invent the Brand, freshen it up and market it to a new generation of consumers.
Many businesses re-invent, and re-brand themselves and go on to achieve new consumer acclaim.
Strategies For Brand Building
Here are a few short to medium term tactical measures you can start using today to kick start your Brand building program.
* Get a professional web site with customised headers, footers and logos - Make your "visitor experiences" happy ones.
* Advertise regularly using paid channels where you can. If money is a problem, use f'ree advertising, but advertise regularly !
* Write useful articles and publish regularly. Invite visits to your site through your resource box.
* Syndicate your articles and build personal name recognition using a tool such as Name Branding Syndicator available from highprofitsoftware.com/syndicator/
Visit simplyeasier.com/mbd to see how you can get this tool for F'ree as part of a product bundle.
* Brand your business by associating and complimenting other succesful products - Develop a quality reciprocal link and partnership strategy.
Try products like Zeus (cyber-robotics.com/) and Arelis (axandra.com/index.htm) for this tactic.
* Use a good autoresponder service and communicate frequently with your customers and prospects giving useful, and personal information.
There are many good tools for this tactic, but try Getresponse (getresponse.com) or Aweber (aweber.com) for a start.
* Use Zip Brander available from Russell Brunson of zipBrander.com/ to put your products, affiliate programs and other offers in front of your purchasers easily and frequently.
Branding your business and products is a key part of your success strategy.
You want people to associate your business name and products with high quality, and high value.
Successful Brands make money - just ask Microsoft, Levi, Ford, Coke.
Start Branding your business and products today, and generate maximum lifetime customer values.
(c) 2004 Charles Kangethe
About The Author
Charles Kangethe of simplyeasier.com is a leading new wave Netpreneur and a published author from England. The "Simply Easier" brand name is your guarantee of high value, quality Marketing Products, Services and Resources.