There are elements of branding that can be expanded upon at all levels of business management, from simple things like designing a logo and printing it on your shopping bags if you are a retail store, to establishing a sophisticated online presence to dialogue with consumers.
There is one thing that all of the most successful businesses have in common (well, actually, there are a few billion things a lot of them have in common, but that’s another story…) and that thing is that they are all recognisable brands. They’re recognisable in part because they have been so successful and widely used that we’ve become familiar with them, but it is also largely due to clever branding and marketing on their part. Think of Google, Apple, Microsoft and Virgin, just to name a few. Not only are these names we’re all familiar with, they are companies that, if asked, we could describe facts about their ‘personality’. The fact is, the majority of the population knows very little about what goes on inside their boardrooms, but we still make assumptions (mostly fed to us by the companies themselves) about the ‘feel’ of the brand.
For example, we think of Google as powerful, creative, trendy and a little bit cheeky. We think of Apple as creative, innovative, cutting-edge in terms of technology and very hot in terms of popular culture. With companies like Microsoft and Virgin we are more likely to identify the brand with its founder, because they have received so much press–Microsoft is seen as powerful, intelligent, wealthy and sophisticated like its owner, Bill Gates, whereas Virgin is seen as fun, fresh, cheeky and a little quirky. These are all very successful examples of how branding has been used to cultivate a relationship with the public, therefore improving trust and familiarity as well as a position in the front of people’s minds. There are elements of branding that can be expanded upon at all levels of business management, from simple things like designing a logo and printing it on your shopping bags if you are a retail store, to establishing a sophisticated online presence to dialogue with consumers.
Branding can take hundreds of different forms, but the best way to approach it is to think of your business as a separate entity with a personality of its own. The first step is to establish what kind of personality your business has, based on your industry, your strategies and your target market. A big part of branding is often evaluating where you’d like your target market to be, and striving towards cultivating that kind of image. Branding is primarily about relationship management with the consumer, so things like exposure (things like custom packaging that will have customers remembering you), reputation management (dealing professionally and swiftly with consumer complaints so that you build a trustworthy reputation) and market analysis and response (identifying growth areas or things you could improve upon and acting on this intel) all contribute to building your business’s brand, and with it, your success.