SIMPLY PUT YOUR BRAND IS YOUR COMPANIES MOST VALUABLE ASSET.
It is the sum total of how your organization is seen by your customers, employees (if you have them) and the world. What your customers think of you is what your brand is. Making sure to develop, mold, and shape your brand is key, because every interaction you or your company has with a customer develops your brand's identity, for good or bad.
Just because you are a small shop or just a one man (or woman) show don’t think that this doesn’t apply to you too! When in actuality it applies to you even more. You don’t have the luxury of having a large budget for marketing or PR. Most of you don’t even have a budget set up yet…and that is ok. We all learn slowly but surely. YES, even me.
If I could encourage you to take away one thing from this read it would be to make sure that your customers are getting the right message.
Is your Facebook cover photo blurry? Is your website simple, easy to use, and well designed? Does your product packaging look like the copy center next door designed and printed it? Is your brand unique and attractive enough to leave a lasting impression? Are your business cards and brochures tidy and professional?…make sure you are sending the right message.
There’s no doubt about it, your brand is your company’s most valuable asset. Make your visual identity match your story and set your brand on the right foundation. Influencing your customer's behavior starts where your brand does and it is their behavior that ultimately supports and grows your business.
So now that we know then, that branding is one of the soundest investments a company can make - especially if you are noticing a period of waning profits, PR issues, or find yourself in a period of change in your business. Branding is not just another “Thing” or cost counted against your marketing budget…it is an investment if done properly and will yield huge returns over the life of your business. I promise.
THE RIGHT PEOPLE
Actually starting with research, real research (which just so happens to be called brand research) helps you clearly define your customer. User personas help you clearly define your target market (customers) and helps you craft the right message and use the right tone of copy. Finding and attracting customers that are the right customers for your product will also make them more loyal and more likely to become brand ambassadors. They talk about your product with friends and family. Free advertising is the best!
Good branding commands better prices and better returns. This is especially important for small handmade products because they are small batch. You can get more money for your products if you are willing to position yourself as an industry leader with value propositions that match. A value proposition is what makes you different from your competitors. Brands that establish meaningful differentiation are able to command higher prices and set themselves apart. People don’t buy products they buy your story - your brand.
If you focus your energy and marketing dollars on creating a quality visual identity, you don’t have to sell. Think of it this way…put an old piece of soap on the table and then put a nicely designed newly packaged luxury bath bomb next to it and ask someone which one they want to use…Don’t be outdated. You need a boldly differentiated brand with a fresh visual identity. Let your product sell itself. Well defined brands are easier to sell because their positioning is so ingrained into their brand…their story i.e. easily told. Be confident with a cohesive and compelling brand and most of the work is already done for your salesperson.
DON’T WASTE YOUR MARKETING DOLLARS
Creating a well researched and cohesive brand increases the efficiency and awesomeness of your marketing campaigns and initiatives. Make sure you really understand your target audience and include customer interviews in your brand research. Really "get" your customers…and you can develop campaigns that are highly targeted to your customers. Creating a brand that is cohesive and well put together makes your marketing efforts seamless. No more wasted energy or money. Each campaign reinforces the next and your brand grows without wasted marketing dollars. Creating a cohesive and well thought out brand ensures that you also are not reinventing the wheel every new campaign…reducing your time and energy. YES, I am all up for that.
BRAND VALUE BOOST
You may not be thinking about reselling your company but brand equity is a powerful thing. It allows you to increase the price point of your product but it also allows you to grow your company in new and compelling ways. If you create a well thought out brand you can add on with other interesting products just because you have done the legwork.
When you look at branding as a worthwhile investment, rather than a cost, the benefits are simply clear.
It pays off over the lifetime of your company. Find the right people, become a business leader, command higher prices and reap the benefits of having simpler marketing efforts. Create customer loyalty and gain new followers. Seriously, rebranding has such a powerful impact on any business. Your personal brand is all about who you are and what you want to be known for, make sure you are saying the right thing to the right people. Download a quick 15-minute brand audit and see where your handmade brand is.