Are you your brand?
Are you your brand?
Branding, which originated with marking livestock (and criminals and slaves) to identify who they belonged to, has evolved to mean an identifying name, logo, design or characteristic of a particular product or service.
Who does not recognize Apple, or Nike or Coca Cola? We often say we ‘’need to ‘Xerox’ a few pages” when we actually mean ‘photocopy’. Did you know that bubblewrap, onesies, jaccuzi, the crockpot or even the breathalyzer are actually brand names which have come into common use?
Explained simply, your brand is what your customers think of when they think of you. You do not think of packing boxes when you say Nike, do you? Or of apples when you say Coke? These brand names are so powerful that they are now etched in our brain cells.
‘Products, like people, have personalities and they can make or break them in the marketplace, ‘ says advertising giant David Ogilvy.
So, if you have a small business how are you going to position yourself and your company as a brand? A name that people remember? Is your product something that people identify with instantly? For example, if you own a coffee shop, do people come to you because they want your handmade coffee as opposed to any other regular coffee shop? What is different about your coffee? What do you offer that is different from the others?
Now once you have figured out what special offering you have, you have to find a way of letting people know, right?
How are you going to make people gravitate to your coffee shop and not the neighbouring one?
Word of mouth is always good. But how fast can you expand by just depending on word of mouth?
The era of relationship marketing is here to stay.
Building customer loyalty has long been the marketing mantra for small ad large companies. As Philip Kotler, Professor from the Kellogg School of Management said way back in 1997, ‘ the cost of attracting a new customer is estimated to be five times the cost of keeping an old customer happy.’
Customer loyalty, customer engagement, customer acquisition – buzz words which are doing the rounds of the internet and spouted by networking gurus at every meeting. But really – how do you go about reaching that audience to get your loyal, repeat customers who swear by your coffee alone? How do you find those people who are willing to devote an extra ten minutes and drive past your shop to pick up a ‘regular’ on the way to work?
The answer lies in online and digital sources. Your website, disappearing snapchats , youtube channels, facebook lives and your instagram feeds. These are all really different forms of content that you are feeding people. And while you are giving out cute bits of info about your coffee making prowess or the art décor in your tiny coffee haven, you are actually building your brand bit by bit.
In the next post, you will read about how to grow your brand step by step using content as your master builder.