The majority of businesses would give their right arm to have the kind of brand awareness that Monster, Pepsi™, McDonalds, GoDaddy®, Kleenex® and Xerox® possess. A lot of smaller companies have developed brand awareness in their niche that evolved over a number of years.
How? They did that by cultivating an association to ‘value-add’ in their client’s mind when they saw or heard anything about their company, the products they sell or the services they promote.
An early example of this was Xerox, even though they had a lot of competition in their industry. If I said to my office manager, “Would you Xerox this for me?,” I think we’d all agree she would understand what I’d be asking her to do. But if I asked her, “Would you Konica Minolta™ this for me?,” would that even sound like it made sense?
And is there another brand that comfortably compares to Kleenex®? When my wife goes shopping, she makes a list first so she won’t forget anything. Sometimes that list will include facial tissues, but she’ll invariably write ‘Kleenex’.
Is it possible to link ownership of your company’s products or services?
How could you accomplish linking ‘ownership” of your brand? If you thought ‘dedicated server,’ would ProlimeHost stand apart from Rackspace or GigeNET? All three are premier dedicated server web hosting providers. But if I asked my wife this question, she’d say Rackspace and GigeNET ‘WHO?”
She has seen some videos on ProlimeHost’s YouTube channel, and now automatically links dedicated servers to them. She’s transferred ownership in her mind to ProlimeHost. Branding does not necessarily have to be on the grand scale of companies like Pepsi and Kleenex.
Developing a niche is one of the most important marketing strategies that businesses should pursue, to bond with how clients and prospects perceive your business. But how do you brand your company when another firm has already branded your niche?
Take Kyocera for example in the document imaging industry. They’re competing with giants in their industry, against the likes of Xerox®, Konica Minolta™, Ricoh and Toshiba. Their unique selling proposition (USP) is that their products are modular and engineered to withstand heat by incorporating ceramics into their designs.
Internalizing what makes your business unique
What are the core selling points of your business? In the document imaging industry, service revenue draws over 50% share of profit, whereas unit sales may only account for 10%. Superb customer support drives sales. If each and every one of your departments, from billing to sales went an extra 1% in every interaction with your clients, could they evolve from being satisfied clients – to ‘Raving Fans?’ Branding should be a company wide effort. It starts and ends with every interaction your company has with prospects and clients.
Consistency is essential
Consistency encompasses everything from your logo to your blog posts to your invoices. It needs to touch as many of the human senses as possible. You need to consistently tell the same story in order to strengthen your company’s brand in your clients and prospects minds.
This directly relates to short term memory transferring to long term memory. If you repeat anything long enough, it becomes second nature, without conscious thought.
Direct marketing organizations excel at branding. How can you argue the success of companies like Energizer® or Heinz®, or thousands of firms similar to them?
Branding breaks the price barrier
When you can’t compete on price alone, what next? I know I’ve heard this sales pitch more than once, “We’re not the cheapest. We sell quality, not quantity.” You know the core focus of your business better than anyone. It doesn’t matter if it’s dedicated servers or shared hosting, copiers or printers, tires or auto service, or whatever.
Branding begins with determining the best return on your investment (ROI). By focusing on your core product or service, you’ll optimize interactions with your clients and prospects, thus building customer loyalty.
Branding is about perception
Is your brand memorable right now? Or is your business just another commodity like facial tissue? A strong brand unifies your marketing efforts. It begins with offering value-add products and services. Branding helps make the choice between your competition and you – be your business.
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