Building a brand takes time and costs money. There are shortcuts, however, thanks to the development of social media marketing, which can be easier and cheaper than print media and offline initiatives.
Building a brand often brings four commonly perceived pillars to mind:
1. Clarity Consumers should realise what the brand stands for - immediately. Everyone knows that McDonald's does hamburgers.
2. Consistency When you buy a product or service it should be the same experience every time. There is no difference when visiting IKEA in Dubai, or Älmhult in Sweden.
3. Longevity It takes years to build a brand. Nowadays, the information society we live in speeds up this process. Coca Cola has been around since 1886, while Uber was founded 2009 and now are estimated to be worth over $15 billion.
4. Coordination A brand is much more than a logo. The core business is the bottom line, but how you communicate the brand is just as significant.
A strong brand conjures associations for the consumer immediately. They may be concrete; almost tangible - but many successful brands trigger emotions that can be difficult to define. Good branding evokes these feelings, or negative feelings if necessary. Controversial brands may not be doing anything wrong - some may aim to provoke thought. Those who like a particular brand are potential devotees, while those who dislike the brand may even tend to avoid consuming the type of products or services due to their dislike of it.
The role of identity should not be underestimated when working with branding. Effective brands will be a manifestation of a lifestyle. Anyone who drives around with a Harley Davidson often does so to signal something, just as owning an Apple computer might.
Brands with a strong sense of identity may charge an additional premium based on their success. Louis Vuitton bags are expensive not only due to their high quality; you also pay for the associations made with its iconic status.
Here are some tips on how to build your brand online:
To tell the story behind a product or service is important. Many brands build simple facts or anecdotes about their origins into a vision - that eventually becomes legendary.
Communicate your product
The age old question of what’s unique about your brand is asked for a reason. Identify the main product or service you provide and communicate consistently about it. Your unique selling points define your brand, and when leveraged effectively, trigger the right associations in consumer buying patterns.
Strategise for digital
Surprisingly, many companies today don’t use the internet to its full potential. Most businesses have a website and a smattering of social media accounts. Be sure, however, to use online channels and social media consistently and methodically – it is a cost effective way to communicate. Use keywords to make the most of search engine optimisation. This makes it easier to be visible to customers, put your website in prime position and build stories that attract.
In the age of digital marketing, business intelligence is much easier to manage, and less costly. Monitoring features that allow for audience definition, competitor analysis and highly specific search terms make it possible to take your brand further - instantly and with greater insight. Start off with tracking competitors, as well as getting a good picture of trends and what people are saying about your brand on social media channels.