Do you want to build a strong brand for your business or your entrepreneurial project? Are you looking for ideas or don’t know where to start? You are in the right place !
In this article, LesMichels.fr, Communication agency in Vietnam specializing in outsourcing, informs you and explains everything about “Brand Building”.
Do you want to build a brand, or a product?
This is the first question you must ask yourself before anything else for your project.
A brand is bought. A product is negotiated. And your entire relationship with your future customers will be governed by this simple observation.
If you build a brand, a real identity, it is more than a product that you will sell, but almost a way of life. Thus, it is social recognition and a real feeling of satisfaction that you will provide to your customer when they buy. If you only offer one product, you will be relegated to its purely utilitarian role, and it will be much more difficult for you to generate real added value.
Of course, building a brand is an investment: In time, in ideas and in marketing efforts. But to be known, recognized and finally adopted, and generate greater profits, Brand Building is the only solution.
The most glaring example is that of Apple. Are the products better than the competition? No. But is the brand perceived to be the best? Yes.
This is why the firm has one of the largest market capitalizations in the world: because owning an Apple product goes beyond the pure utility function, it is sending a signal to its environment.
Think about your purchasing habits: do you only have in mind the usefulness of the products you buy, or are you going to seek or offer a recognized brand that really embodies something?
That’s the whole point of building your brand.
Brand Building Definition
Brand Building is a marketing process which objective is to create value around a brand. It is about a long-term vision to increase the notoriety of a company, by causing in the public a phenomenon of recognition and feeling.
Forget about overnight success: just like Rome, no brand is built in a day. All the big ones started small. Their notoriety was first local, then regional, then national, and finally international.
Thus, the objective of Brand Building, and of any company that wants to perpetuate itself, is not to trigger an act of immediate purchase by a fad or a one-off promotion. It is to settle in the minds of people. It is to be present as much as possible, in a recurring, unique, and timely manner, in order to be well remembered.
To be successful today, a brand must be able to excel in the following areas:
- Real-world facilities with tangible structures.
- Website that is functional, fast, and optimized for all browsing experiences (PC, Tablet, Mobile).
- Marketing, print or digital.
- Information, with precise and quality content.
- Customer service that respects and satisfies.
- Internal, with company policies favorable to its employees.
In short, all the signals that you send directly or indirectly to your target will matter for your brand image.
What are the stages of Brand Building? How to build my brand?
1. Define your brand.
A brand is above all an identity. As for a person, ask yourself the question: for what reasons are we appreciated?
To help you define this brand identity, find the answers to the following questions:
- What promise do you make to the consumer?
- What are your values or your philosophy?
- What are your strengths?
- Why does your company exist?
- What is its story?
- Which image is right for you?
This is the whole basis of Brand Building, and these are the reasons why people will chose you.
This brand definition is certainly first of all conceptual, but also visual and textual.
It is your graphic charter, the colors you will use, and of course, your logo and your slogan (tagline) that will embody this identity, while being recognizable and attractive.
2. Differentiate your brand from your competition.
If the first step consisted of knowing yourself, the second comes down to knowing your environment, your competition.
If you look exactly like an established brand, what would be the point for the consumer to choose you? None. It is an unnecessary risk taking for him. Particularly in times of crisis and uncertainty, people will bet on blue chip stocks.
You can always differentiate yourself by the price, but by selling off for equal functional quality, you will inevitably be relegated to the rank of a simple product, and you will not become a brand worthy of the name.
Do a market study and a competitive study to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your opponents, make the most of them, and come up with unique and relevant counter proposals.
A brand is always a “plus”. What more do you bring? or difference? Innovation is always a risky bet, but it is the only viable one in the long term, don’t forget it to position yourself well.
By learning about your competitors, you will complete and refine your own brand image.
3. Determine and understand your target.
You will not be able (and should not) talk to EVERYBODY.
When we ask our customers what their target is, all too often, they say that they are addressing everyone. This is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. Even if your brand and your products are generalist in scope, necessarily, you MUST have a core target, namely the population who will be most likely to need you and use your products and services.
Understanding who you are going to sell your products to is absolutely fundamental to knowing where, when, how and why you are reaching out to them.
We do not adopt the same commercial or marketing discourse between a father, a retiree, a child, a person with a disability, etc.
Conduct polls to gauge the relevance of your products and services to different segments of the population.
Age, sex, geographic / social / ethnic origin, preferences and lifestyles are all criteria to take into account to refine your original brand message and adapt it to your target market.
Always go further! Consolidating a niche can be a very effective strategy. Have you determined that your audience are moms rather than dads or any other segment of the population? It is not enough ! Investigate the question to draw up what in marketing are called “Persona“, namely the typical profiles of users / customers.
Is it rather stay-at-home moms? part-time ? full time ? at the office or at home? city dwellers or not? young or old? of a first or second child? Rather sporty or cerebral? What or who are their influences?
Because for all these profiles, there are different methods of talking to them, so know how to adapt to different cases. What will be the right tone to adopt then? Friendly ? Professional? Technical? Authoritarian? Informative? Comical ? Etc.
Wanting to speak to as many people as possible means taking the risk that NOBODY identifies with you, and therefore, chooses you! Sort this out to have a clearly identifiable brand image.
4. Make yourself known.
Now that you know who you are, where you are, and who you are talking to, it’s time to start your communication campaigns.
To do this, the communication channels and tools used are legion!
TVs, radio, mail, newspapers, public displays are the “historic” advertising channels, joined by those available on digital networks: SMS campaigns, e-mailings, advertisements on social networks, internet sites, re-targeting, SEO, community management, Google Ads and much more are all possibilities for you.
But be careful, you have to make choices! And again, your brand and your communication must be in line with your target. If you want to sell technological products to teenagers, it goes without saying that you will leave aside the news press, traditional mail … and that you will instead bet on advertising campaigns by SMS, on sites visited by this population (eg Video Games), or the apps and platforms they use.
This is why the previous step is crucial: making the effort to know the lifestyle, consumption or navigation habits of your target, will save time and money when it comes to choosing your channels and ways to communicate.
Once the media have been determined, you still have to know what content to promote, and what message to adopt.
Video ? Photo ? Article? Collaboration with a brand or an influencer? Sponsorship? Or more innovative: mobile app, mini-games, serious game …?
When they are complete, launch your campaigns, and be sure to measure their effectiveness!
You will never find the “winning” combos the first time. Only through patience and trial will you be able to determine which medium best suits your audience and most effectively builds your brand image!
For example, if your brand has environmental claims, avoid energy-guzzling nighttime electric displays, non-recyclable bags, etc. Instead, favor zero-emission transport networks, for example.
Making yourself known is important, but on the sole condition that your message and its support are consistent with your identity positioning!
5. Stay true to yourself and your customers.
To be successful over the long term, you need a stable image that inspires confidence, and to nurture your relationship with your audience.
The hardest part of launching a brand is finding your first customers. The cost of acquiring them is very high, that’s why we must do everything not to lose them! A lost customer means wasting this high acquisition cost, but also the risk of negative publicity among those around him.
To keep a client, you must respect:
- Your promise
- Your skills
- Your integrity
Of course, avoid misleading or deceptive advertisements or promises, and always keep in mind new ways to make your customers even more satisfied. In your processes, in your deadlines, in your payment facilities, etc. The more you serve, the more they will feel grateful, and this relationship of trust will be the backbone of your business.
Because the objective of brand building is above all this: to create a relationship of trust.
Do not change your placement at all overnight: you risk losing your base. That doesn’t mean, however, to stop innovating or rest on your laurels. Always keep moving forward and progressing, experimenting with new things, as long as it stays consistent with your core positioning.
Of course, positioning errors do exist, and if your brand doesn’t catch on, consider re-branding or redefining your project. But if after a few years your progress is good, why take the risk of ruining everything by taking a U-turn? Instead, you might want to consider launching another brand.
Do’s and Don’ts of Brand Building Strategies and Techniques.
The Dos: best practice advice for Brand Building.
Make a good first impression.
This element is crucial because first impressions are rarely forgiving.
It may sound extreme, but assume that a newcomer has no room for error.
Whether it is human meetings or your communication campaigns, avoid haste and unpreparedness: take the time to think about what you are going to do and tell your interlocutors.
Too often, companies go out of their way and make a hasty bet of their project. A brand is prepared, it is conceptualized. Don’t let chance decide for you.
The delicate question of social networks.
Customer service or content promotion on Facebook, Twitter or others now sound basic for most of brands, especially when real life contacts are dwindling. Having a social media presence is therefore very important for your brand.
However, be careful: just because these means of communication are “new” does not mean that they should be taken lightly, on the contrary.
If you don’t have the human resources or skills to keep your social media showcases active, don’t bother. Your visitors will be disappointed to have to deal with a dead page, or a chat where they do not receive any response to their requests. You will then have the opposite of the expected effect. Don’t be there just to be there.
Community management requires serious strategy, with publication schedules, analyzes, and adjustments made by qualified communicators. Do not delegate these networks to amateurs or inexperienced people.
Would you let rookies embody the voice and soul of your brand? Certainely not. Yet this is what platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, Twitter and others are today: full spokespersons for your brand. So treat them as it should.
The concept of service must be at the heart of your Brand Building strategy.
Ask yourself what you can do to make the lives of your users and consumers the most.
Quality guarantees, customer care, but also rewards and gifts to the most loyal are all tools to use to continuously improve your services.
Use review platforms.
Internet users have in a way become the best friends in the world.
If yesterday word of mouth took place within the limited framework of acquaintances, friends, families, colleagues … today the “strike force” of an individual is much greater, especially if he uses platforms to give its opinion on a particular brand.
Unions of consumers, Facebook groups who love or hate a brand, or simply institutionalized sites such as Yelp! , TripAdvisor, Glassdoor or Google itself are all platforms that can become gold mines for your brand.
Analyzing consumer feedback on your brand or your competitors will give you a definite advantage. You will be able, without needing to finance an opinion survey, to collect the opinions of your target group, and to adapt your strategy accordingly.
Also, encourage your visitors to judge your brand to build a solid reputation.
The comments certified by these review platforms are massive arguments when it comes to the Internet user making a purchase decision, so take good care of your approach to this matter.
The “Don’ts”: what to avoid when building your brand.
Unsolicited or forced advertising rarely works, or, while it can sometimes produce short-term results, it is not a viable solution on the long run.
For example, buying or retrieving databases of emails or phone numbers without the consent of people, and using them for cold-calls, SMS, or emailing campaigns, will expose yourself to a risk of mistrust.
Instead, try for example to create a landing page that brings value to the visitor, by exchanging contact details for an advantage!
Focusing all your communication on your products.
You seek to build an identity, or even to associate it (or create) a way of life. It’s not just about your products. In your dialogue with your target, do not systematically try to “sell off” your products and services. Be human.
Talk about your values, your non-business actions, inform, even joke, and support everyday events without overdoing it.
Staying still and not following market trends.
One of the challenges for businesses today is staying relevant in an ever-changing world. Some changes have been badly negotiated, and your reputation can go overnight from the one of a pioneer to the one of a has-been.
Think Kodak, think Blockbusters, who did not sufficiently anticipate the revolution of digital cameras or streaming, whereas companies like Nikon or Netflix have succeeded! And despite their initial reluctance, the oil giants are now forced to consider other energies to ensure their long-term existence.
And it’s not just about brands. See how the city of Dubai first capitalized on oil and the business revolving around it, to, then, aware of the “finite” nature of this resource, focus on tourism, investing in airports, companies airlines, hotels and entertainment.
Apple revolutionized the music market in the 2000s with its iPod MP3 players. But who still uses an iPod today? No one ! Apple understood that immediately and no longer produces or markets iPod, since they have been replaced by another product of the brand, the iPhone (and more generally smartphones).
The construction of your brand therefore has no end: if it must be anchored in a past, a tradition, and be irreproachable in the present, it must also be part of the future!
Take an interest in trends, read the cutting-edge press, do the day before, open R&D departments and closely follow technological, societal and environmental news, to always be one step ahead!
Unless it corresponds precisely to your niche, refrain from mentionning or taking part in overly divisive political positions and messages. It is not your role. Invariably, by taking a position, you will offend some of your customers and take the risk of a bad buzz.
Remember the example of the Gillette razor brand. In 2019, riding the wave of the #Metoo phenomenon, they produced an advertisement that was very controversial amongst its key audience: men. Perceived as unfairly pointing thingers at all men by some, the brand has taken a moral position which, according to many, was uncalled for or unnecessary.
More recently, Coca Cola caused an uproar when one of their internal circulars urged their employees to be “less white”. This echoes what we said above regarding internal communication, especially in the internet age, where words spread fast.
In general, avoid taking a position as a brand on a divisive issue, or to make fun of a subject that can be perceived as serious.
Start your Branding on the right foot!
Are you looking to build your Branding through outsourcing with the help of a serious and experienced team?
LesMichels, French Marketing agency in Vietnam, introduces you to its Branding Pack to offer your brand an attractive identity and conquer your market! But that’s not all.