By Gemma Reeves

A strong brand is one of the most valuable and powerful assets that a company can own.

What is a brand? The obvious things that come to mind might be the brand name, logo, colors and tagline- the external and tangible elements. But those do not even add up to half of what a brand is all about- the emotions and impressions associated with it. Your brand image can be positive or negative depending on the type of experiences your customers have with your company.

Your brand equity increases whenever you delight your customers and provide them with great products and services. On the other hand, unpleasant experiences will bring down your brand’s value. It takes years and these deliberate action steps to build a strong brand name.

Ensure that you are offering good products and services.

This is the most basic and most important step as the quality of your products and services will determine your customers’ satisfaction with your brand and organization. It is better to delay the launch of your product if it has not been fully reviewed and tested to your liking.

Any marketing effort in promoting a raw product or service will just be wasted time and effort- a good spiel will not be able to mask a bad product or service.

Determine your target market.

Find your niche and focus on their needs, wants, preferences, problems and lifestyles. You have to know your target audience completely as your brand will be especially tailored to this group.

Ask yourself is these are the customers you want to serve for the entire life of your company. Do you feel a connection with them and understand their mindset and behaviors?

Establish your unique selling proposition.

You probably have several competitors out in the market, offering similar products or services. But what makes your company different and better compared to others? What can make you stand out above the rest?

This process requires thorough analysis and creativity. You have to dig deep and reflect on what you are offering to your customers. Hint: it should be more than the product or the service itself.

Some samples are:

  • You are not selling a security system, you are giving them peace of mind.
  • You are not selling your administrative services, you are freeing up their time so they get to have more quality moments with their family.
  • You are not selling organic produce, you are helping farmers sustain their livelihood.

Once you have your unique selling proposition, you have to be able to communicate it clearly and effectively to your niche.

Design your brand’s external elements.

Keep your message in mind as you come up with your brand name, logo, tagline and general visual appeal. These should reflect your company’s unique positioning in the market.

It would be good to come up with several options and to conduct a survey within your target market. The image and overall presentation of your brand should speak to them and generate interest and excitement for your business.

Build a marketing plan.

Now, you have to decide on the channels where you want your brand to be visible. Make sure that you are able to tap into your product’s niche market. Where do they hang out? That’s where you have to be present. Consider also the image of third party websites or other media that you might want to partner with.

In today’s business, you definitely need to have a business website and a profile in at least one of the key social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You have to communicate a consistent message across all channels and mediums to strengthen your brand’s position in the market.

Review your positioning, performance, marketing efforts regularly. Building your brand is a continuous process and you have to always be on top of competitors’ moves, trends and developments related to your products and services.

A strong brand is one that your market can connect with on a deeper level. Your main goal is not just to win the hearts of customers, but to create brand evangelists- loyal customers who do their part in marketing your products and services for you.