What does it mean to brand?
It is a deliberate attempt of making what your business, product or service is and can do known to the prospective market or buyer. It involves portraying what makes your business, product or service unique and also communicating its inherent usefulness.
Branding is a marketing tool, and thus, it is a deliberate act. It’s not something you stumble upon; it’s a thing that is creatively developed. A brand is a living entity. It has its own lifespan, personality, and characteristics. Therefore, if you know you can’t make a difference (be useful), don’t try to be different (branding). The following are what you should know about branding – being different (uniqueness) and making a difference (usefulness).
What’s the essence of being different?
- To communicate your difference (uniqueness)
- To be making a difference (usefulness). That is, to be constantly doing something valuable with the thing or idea that makes you different.
There’s no use being different (branding) if you can’t be making a difference (useful). So here are 8 simple steps to follow in order to ensure your branding makes sense;
Your ability to make a difference lies in how well you are able to communicate that message. This is what branding is all about – finding uniqueness and usefulness in what you do and communicating this to the world or the market as the case may be.
(2) To be different, your message must not only be compelling (emotional) it must also be convincing (logical).
Your ability to strike a balance between these two is what guarantees how much influence your brand will be able to command in the marketplace.
(3) To be different you need to focus only on your strength.
No one ever makes a difference with their weakness; to be different it takes strength. Therefore, while working on being different (branding), don’t focus all your efforts And resources on areas that you are weak – not very good at, rather focus on those areas where you and your organization are naturally gifted and good at. This is because people get things done effectively and efficiently with their strength and not their weaknesses.
Don’t try to do everything by being jack of all trade; you will only end up being the master of none, because you would have succeeded at nothing.
(5) To be different, you have to know yourself well.
You can’t claim to be different when you can’t even point to what makes you different (unique). Being different, like I said earlier is communicating a message; a message of what makes your brand unique and useful to the market. Part of communicating that message entails knowing your product and services well, because this is what the market recognizes as your brand. Product or service knowledge is very crucial in your quest to be different.
(6) To be different, you have to spend money.
Marketing costs money! In order to get the best possible returns on your branding agenda, spend your money where your eyes can see them. Don’t put your money where you can’t easily track it, this is why I said focus majorly on your areas of strength. This is where the brand lies, so this is where you should put your resources and efforts.
(7) To be different, you have to be consistent.
You don’t claim to be different in one area today only to find yourself in another field tomorrow. This will confuse the market you are trying to reach. Let them know what you stand for and be ready to stand there for long. Change when it is absolutely necessary and when you have got enough proof to defend the change.
(8) To be different, pick or choose a ground where you are absolutely sure of winning.
It costs a lot to be different; don’t waste your time, money and effort on an idea that is not likely to sell. Be careful, being different is not the same as being stupid!
While choosing your brand message; that is the message that you will use to make and communicate your difference (brand); don’t pick a message you can’t defend. Be sure to have all it takes to defend that message. Your ability to defend the message consistently is what it means to be a brand.
Ask yourself if you have got the human, financial, material and technical resources needed to successfully enforce that message. Remember, the whole essence of branding (being different) is to make a difference (be useful). So if you can’t or don’t have what it takes to enforce that message (make a difference) don’t bother picking the message (being different); look for another message or wait till when you can defend that message.
Thanks for reading!
Has your business IQ increased as a result of reading this article?