If you’re looking to supercharge your business, reach more customers, and command a more trusted, respected and high status position in the market, what you need is to build up your brand power.
A brand is so much more than another word for ‘company’ (though they’re often used interchangeably) or simply your advertising. A brand is the ‘personality’ your customers build in their minds and attribute to your business – you can influence it with the marketing materials you put out, and where you put them, with the design of your website, stores and products, even with your price point, but it’s not within your direct control. That’s why brands can be damaged by bad news and publicity, or by misaimed or failed marketing campaigns.
This makes it all the important to make the right decisions when you’re trying to develop your brand – some advertising that falls flat with your audience isn’t merely wasted time and resources, it could actually undermine the image you’ve already built up. Working with a branding agency puts an expert hand on the tiller, to help you build consistently and reliably as time goes on.
One of the most important things you can do is use data to inform your approach – it’s unlikely you’ll map perfectly on to your own target audience, and even if you are very close to the customer’s you’re targeting that closeness is not necessarily an asset. Relying solely on your own intuition could lead you astray very quickly, but surveying potential customers, finding out what they value, which brands they like already and what they like about them, and what major missteps can turn a potential buyer away from your brand.
It’s tempting, once you’re up and running, to discontinue your research: after all, when your ads are out in the wild and customers are queueing up outside you don’t need it anymore, right? This would be a serious mistake. One of the best things about long term research, using brand trackers and other surveys, are that they allow you to look back and see how people respond to your brand over time: how your own decisions affect their perception of it, as well as things outside your control. This lets you develop back up plans for various ‘disaster scenarios’ you may have to recover from, stoking your brand power in times when it wanes. It could be due to changes in the prevailing economic climate, it could be due to fashion moving customers away from what you have to offer, but there will always be times when your natural allure fades and it helps to have your finger on the pulse of what people want so you can deliver it.