There are 3 types of brand; a manufacturing brand such as Honda, an own-label brand such as Sainsbury’s own brand food and a generic brand which doesn’t have any identifying, consistent features such as a logo. Building a brand takes years and can be lost in a heartbeat through bad PR, poor customer service or an unsuccessful product launch.
The first step to building a successful brand is to set a clear brand vision and set of objectives, which should be aimed at the 6 key criteria for a successful brand, as identified by De Pelsmacker et al, 2004:
Your brand must be different, if you offer the same value at the same price why would a consumer choose you over your established competitor? Your brand must clearly communicate this.
2. Added value
Your brand must add additional value to the customer. �?Me too’ products are ok as part of an extended product portfolio, but if your customers are to part with their cash, they need added value and this should extend right through to the augmented product level e.g. to include services, or finance deals.
If your brand and products are of low quality, you can forget brand loyalty. Unfortunately there are a number of competitors waiting to take your market share, and brand loyalty is becoming less common as competitors use all sorts of tricks to win over your customers; don’t let poor quality be a reason for lost business.
4. Integrated communications
With markets becoming saturated, being memorable for the right reasons is key to any brand’s success. Your promotional strategy must be tight, sending one marketing email a month isn’t enough; you need a blended, ‘through the line‘ communications strategy which retains the momentum of your brand.
5. Management and employee support
People are the key to your business and internal marketing should be a top priority for any marketing manager. You can spend 10’s of thousands on your brand all to be lost when a customer phones up and your staff haven’t heard of the deal on offer! Invest time and money in internal marketing and ensure you have a strong set of brand guidelines to support your staff.
As discussed in our Innovation In Marketing post, innovation is more than just an idea, it is about innovating products, processes, structure and your brand! Your customer’s needs are always changing and your brand must react to this; the product life cycle is an indication that it won’t sell forever, so keep your brand moving.
I think there is one key point missing here and that’s creating an emotional connection with your customers, but I will save that for another article.
The next step is to create a brand strategy which sets out how you will achieve your vision and objectives.