Fake news certainly grabs the attention! It’s defined as the deliberate spreading of misinformation in print or broadcasting media and particularly in the online environment, where it can go viral and quickly spread.
The introduction of fake news has reinforced in my mind how critical it is to build a brand in the market place. You want a well defined image that conveys the benefits and values that your business represents, so that in times of negative or inaccurate publicity, you can bounce back!
So how do you build a strong brand?
No matter how unique and innovative your product is when it’s launched, chances are that it will be copied within a period of time. That’s why it’s imperative to develop your product or service into a brand.
Your product branding will be based on how you differentiate your offering from your competition and how your consumers perceive it. A brand is literally a product with a personality.
In my book, The NEW Entrepreneur (see www.marbreak.com for your free copy), Radio 702’s Brand Strategist, Andy Rice, says, “The Marketing war takes place in intangibles – feelings and relationships. Brands need to be authentic, consistent, truthful, engaging and single minded.”
To create your brand, your Marketing Mix elements (commonly known as your 4Ps or 7Ps, if yours is a service product) must work together to deliver a consistent message to your customers.
Take the example of an airline that wishes to build a brand image of being a value-for-money air carrier that offers quality. It’s positioned its brand as offering “more for less” and is achieving this via:
- Its product – providing a high quality airline flying to local destinations.
- Its price – having one of the lowest airfares.
- Its placement or distribution – customers can only book online.
- Its promotion – it uses the slogan, “more for less” in all its advertising.
- Its people – staff are extra courteous.
- Processes – no tickets are issued and a booking reference code is provided online.
- Physical evidence – it has leather seats.
A Brand Success Story
Jenna Clifford has built her iconic jewellery brand on the basis of customisation and focusing on customer service, not hard selling, to cultivate brand loyalty.
This is well illustrated by her serve first before you sell approach when engaging with her prospects. She invites them to pop around for a cup of coffee or glass of wine and she draws them a jewellery design, with no onus on them to purchase.
In addition, she also offers them the opportunity to bring along their existing rings for a free rhodium or polish.
Publicising Your Brand
Develop a logo for your brand, even if you’re a sole trader, this gives you that professional edge. Place your logo on your letterheads, business cards and any business signage.
Never has it been easier than now to engage your consumers in a conversation with your brand, using social media. However, ensure that you manage your selected social media platforms well.
Have a policy on the type of content you’ll be posting, when you will post and crucial, is to decide how you will be responding to comments from your followers, particularly if it’s a complaint or negative comment.
Remember that the best brand building online will be the result of your providing your followers with what they deem as valuable content in exchange for their time.
As Scott Cook aptly says, “A Brand is no longer what we tell the customer it is – it is what customers tell each other it is!”
About the author: Shirley Anthony is an author, speaker and owner of Marketing Breakthroughs, a marketing consultancy operating for over twenty years. Having initially gained corporate experience in fast-moving consumer-goods branding, she has consulted in over twenty-five industries, including cellular, information technology, travel, engineering, food, cosmetics, architecture and banking.