• Dionne Smith, Director DPS Brand Consultancy Ltd

A Brand – to be or not to be, that is the question!

Starting a business is one thing, building a brand is quite another!

There are so many different ways to start a business and as technology and innovation improves in the coming years, no doubt it will become even easier and quicker to start up your own enterprise.

However, as a business that means with increased competition it is now even more important to focus on how you build a brand. Why, because a creating a sustainable brand is what will help you stand out and continue to generate revenue for your business.

Brand Pillars

Whilst, likes, follows and shares used to be the ‘golden goose’ of social media, actually getting someone to respond to and engage with your brand is how you need to focus your marketing and promotional efforts moving forward.

There are 6 brand pillars that every business should have in place if they want to create a consistent and loyal impression with their customers/clients:

  1. Your Mission

  2. Your Vision

  3. Your Values

  4. Your Culture (internal)

  5. Your Service

  6. Your Image

The first three are your foundation pillars. They are what will allow you to stand the test of time and generate the consistency every brand needs to be a successful. Without these three pillars in place, you are on very rocky ground. They provide the stability and focus for delivery of your products and services; for a successful brand culture and; the ongoing perception you want to create with your audience.

When prescribed in the right way, they should feed into the whole organisation because they are its reason for being. They are not a tick box on your business plan, they should be meaningful, adaptable as necessary and implemented with ease.

The last three dictate how your business operates and ultimately, the journey and experience you have with your customers. They are the result of your mission, vision and values and they should work seamlessly to showcase your brand in the way you intended.

Awareness, Value, Engagement

Like it or not, we are in a world dominated by social media, so mastering how to use it to the best advantage and creating a loyal and active legion of followers is where you predominantly need to focus your brand and marketing efforts.

That is not to say that you need to be on every social media channel – there are far too many to really make that feasible or cost effective. So, focus on the ones that allow you to reach the majority of your target audience where they are most active.

If you are intending to create a global brand, be savvy about what social channels are more commonly used in the countries that you are targeting and how your competitors are building their following on these channels.

For example, whilst Facebook may dominate the social media world in most countries – China is not one of them. 91% of users in China are active on social media vs 67% in the US with Tencent QQ, WeChat and Sina Weibo being in the top three according to an article from linkinfluence.com.

Branding is not only about your image – yes that is a core element, but becoming a brand is about creating a strong reputation and perception in the minds of your ideal audience and then living up to it.

Following through on what you say you can or will do, showing that you are customer focused and care about their challenges has always been important, but never more than in this century.

I think consumers are intelligent enough to know that despite one business saying they offer the best on the market, there are other businesses saying exactly the same thing and offering the same if not a very similar product or service. So what will allow you to stand out as a business is the added value you provide and your ongoing service.

Whilst, likes, follows and shares used to be the ‘golden goose’ of social media, actually getting someone to respond to and engage with your brand is how you need to focus your marketing and promotional efforts moving forward.

The customer they say, has always been king and this hasn’t changed. If fact it is even more important than ever. Rewarding your audience for their loyalty and making the buying process as painless and simple as possible is key.

We are getting lazier and lazier as the decades pass by and consumers are looking to be spoon-fed from the comfort of their armchair…or bed!

Targeting Business Owners

Whether you are targeting B2C or B2B, the concept is the same although the actual execution may differ. If your focus is to grab the attention of a business owners, you need to deliver content that is direct, quick and easy to digest, but intriguing enough that they will follow-up. Your marketing to businesses should highlight not only the price and popularity of your products/services, but also how it will improve efficiency or allow them to increase revenue.