DEFINING YOUR BRAND

Branding is much more than a logo. Whether you sell products or services, your brand is as much about a customer experience as it is about corporate colours.

So, now that we have entered 2014, why not take a look at your brand. Can you write down, in a few lines, what your brand is and what it represents? If not then it is time to look at building a brand for your business.

If you run a business you probably spent a huge amount of time thinking about your brand when you started out. That would have equated to spending hours with a graphic designer to come up with a cool-looking logo. Once that was done, your next job was to find a web designer and begin work to create a nice website that had all the latest functionality. Your logo was inserted into the header and there you go, your business was launched.

So you have a logo and website but you do not have a brand. You must now focus on the attributes that you wish to attach to your brand. Regardless of the industry you operate in, your brand should focus on differentiating your business from the competition. You cannot afford to be the same as everyone else – otherwise why would any customer choose to do business with you instead of a competitor?

Think about your unique selling point (USP). For example, your business can be the fastest, the cheapest, the best, the highest quality, the most prestigious, etc. It cannot be all of these but it can be one or two – for example, high quality, low price or high price and best customer service.

Once you realise the complexity of your brand you can start to work on your image and that of your business to project a uniform message. This can then be reflected in your pitches, your marketing, your brochures and the ethos of your staff. Your brand is ultimately what your customers say about your business when somebody asks them to describe your firm. If you want to be the “fastest”, “the cheapest” or “the best service ever” then you better start delivering these values to your customers and have your team start to live your brand.