How to define a strong brand strategy?
Deep-discount prices versus high-value brands
The concept of branding is a powerful tool for breaking free of this race to the bottom. A brand should have a perceived value in the eyes of the customer, for which they are willing to pay a premium over and above the basic cost of materials and labour.
A truly powerful brand can develop an immensely loyal following of people who actively look to buy its latest goods and services and to buy into its ethos (literally and figuratively).
Apple is probably the single, most-cited example of a company which has turned branding into an art form, but there are actually plenty of other valuable brands out there, each with their own niche following.
A successful brand builds profits
The more you can charge over and above the cost of producing your product or service, the more profit you can make. Hence it pays, in every sense of the phrase, to put in the time, money and effort to build a compelling brand.
You need to grasp the three pillars of branding, which are: brand positioning, brand strategy and brand image.
There are successful brands at every price point and brands which appeal to people on limited budgets can have just as much value as those which target more affluent consumers. The key is to know your customers. In the old days, that meant creating customer profiles based on market data. These days that technique can still be applied, but smart companies are making a point of getting to know their customers much more closely through social media.
The world is a big place and cyberspace is absolutely vast, so brand owners are going to need a plan or strategy for being seen.
If you’re a new brand (or you’ve just never put a lot of effort into raising your profile), it can take a while for any sort of branding exercise to gather momentum.
To begin with, you may feel like you are pushing a heavy rock uphill. Stick with it, however.
Keep producing that quality content and getting out to engage with the people you think could be your customers and you’ll almost certainly find you’ll get there in the end.
A few years ago, a brand could create an image for itself in the same way as actors can create characters. Those days, however, are long gone. Instead customers expect to see brands which live out their values rather than just stating them in their marketing material.
It should also be noted that there are certain values which are now often expected of all brands. For example, customers tend to be becoming increasingly sensitive to the way companies treat lower-grade employees and suppliers. They also tend to expect companies to show at least some degree of environmental awareness.
Many larger companies are now creating corporate responsibility pages on their websites to show how they are fulfilling the responsibilities their customers expect of them.
Putting it all together
In many ways, the internet has leveled the playing field for small businesses to compete against their larger counterparts. Customers are increasingly keen to understand the companies with which they do business. To try to spend their money in a way which is consistent with their values and beliefs as well as their practical needs and wants.
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