I discussed What is a Brand in an earlier post.
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To better understand how to think about your branding, start by considering the associations you have when you come across successful household name brands such as Disney, Ikea or Apple.
Notice how these names are known for delivering what is often an unspoken promise.
In Ikea’s case, we expect to find affordable self-assembly furniture in its stores.
When we buy Apple products, we expect to get something well designed, intuitive and easy to use.
Every brand has its own distinct ‘identity’ and ‘promise’. It’s due to this promise that we know to expect something completely different if we buy a Rolex watch rather than a Swatch.
Buying a product or service from a business whose brand is not yet known is risky because it represents something untried and untested.
Shopping at Ikea carries a little risk if you’re looking for cheap furniture whereas people won’t have this comfort and recognition if they use an unknown seller. The brand is what gives customers the confidence to know what to expect. That’s why they will probably prefer to shop at Ikea than at an unknown store that offers even lower prices. This is the case even if they’ve never visited Ikea before. It might help to think of one as having a reputation and the other as being unknown. The brand is your public face and encapsulates your reputation.
A brand is ultimately about substance rather than surface visual imagery. Although that’s not to say the visual dimension doesn’t matter. Of course, it matters. However, when you’re designing your business, and working out your niche the accent isn’t on visual design. It should be on how you can meet a market need and what promises you want to make that will move buyers to choose you.
Business brands are some of the most valuable intellectual property and assets that a company owns if it succeeds.
The name is a very important component of your brand identity and should be chosen with trade mark law in mind. Trade marks are a concept developed by the law to contain the value of a brand. The wrong name from a trade mark law perspective could leave you wide open to theft.
People often get confused about how to name their businesses or products. It’s a large subject that I will cover in other posts.
The question of brand management is an important one because it is often absent for small businesses.
Getting brand management support for the initial branding and business design, and then keeping the brand under review to ensure the plan that made sense for you a year ago is the right one now is essential so you can maintain, improve, and uphold your brand and ensure that the name is associated with positive results…
Next week we’ll look at what brand management involves so you can take it into account in your business.
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