The reason you started your business differs from the reason your competitor did. It all comes down to providing a product or service that appeals to consumers, whether they are businesses or end users. The big question is… how do you do that effectively? If you want your business to thrive, you need to make it your mission to create a positive reaction in the minds of people who hear your company’s name, see its logo, or think about the products and services that you offer.

This process is called branding. It combines the elements of a mission statement and consistency throughout all communication and marketing methods that you employ. Branding helps build a quality customer base by differentiating you from the competition. Define your story and sell it. Customers who relate to you by recognizing themselves in your story help build their confidence, effectively creating a relationship.

Let’s delve into how you can tell your story and attract customers whether you are looking to create repeat buyers with everyday products or long-term ones and result in a higher ticket.

What exactly is branding?

Everyone knows that individual personalities define a person. Branding is to a company as a personality is to a person. Your branding is your personality. It is the feeling that people experience when they hear your name. Customers and potential clients will be drawn to you when your tone of voice is uniform across all platforms, whether they see your Google My Business profile or your ad on social media. 

When creating a name for yourself in your industry, you want to clearly define your company’s mission. No matter where a potential customer sees your service or product appear, you want them to associate it with a positive experience that will last. You want to avoid trends and fads. When you create something that can last, you ensure marketing consistency and develop brand awareness.

Addressing the following points will help you tell the world who you are.

  • Define your mission statement.
  • What was the inspiration behind your business?
  • What is the feeling you want to evoke when people think of your business?
  • What differentiates you from competitors?
  • By what fundamental principles and values do you live?
  • What are your company’s values and attitude?
  • Is your communication effective? Is it complete, concise, considerate, courteous, and clear? 

What is the difference between branding and marketing?

Branding is at the heart of your business. It defines who you are and how you want to come across to people. Whether you are a start-up or established business, defining your brand before all else is essential. You can then formulate your marketing strategy, tactics, and tools from your outlined personality.

Branding is something on which you and your employees must constantly focus. It must be done daily, with every phone call, email, and other transactions. Think of the difference being that branding is who you are and how you retain clients, while marketing is how you will build your business with new customers.

What is brand awareness?

Marketing must be approached strategically, and employing various techniques makes it effective. Brand awareness is a powerful marketing strategy that creates an inherent customer preference toward a brand and everything your company offers. The benefits of brand awareness include:

  • Customer recognition
  • Customer loyalty
  • The credibility of your product or service
  • Brand equity
  • Consistency
  • Consumer confidence in you
  • Sharing of values

What are a few brand building strategies?

  • Referral programs
    • Rewarding customers for referring friends and family.
  • Deliver valuable content online
    • High-quality information appeals to people and makes a lasting impression, such as Search Engine Optimized blogs and Google posts.
  • Infographics
  • Partnerships
    • Becoming involved with local companies is exceedingly important. 
    • Donate to local sports teams, donate to charity, plaster your business name at festivals and local events.
  • Car wraps
    • You have to drive around anyway, so why not customize a vehicle design to attract attention.
  • Social media contests
    • Customers submit photos or videos on a popular subject, and people can vote on them. When they share the link with family and friends to get additional votes, it will get your name out there.
  • Social media selectivity
    • It may be overwhelming to market heavily on every social media platform, so focusing on the ones that are most effective in attracting customers will significantly reduce your stress. It is not wise to completely abandon the other sites, and Google Analytics can help you determine where the traffic is coming from. 
  • Evoke emotions with stories
    • Creating compelling anecdotes to which buyers can connect will help them remember you.

How does analyzing competitors improve your branding?

Gaining insights into your competition is not intended to help you beat their pricing. You want to understand how they operate. Your ultimate goal is to increase your market share, and you can only learn so much looking inward. You must broaden your knowledge about your target audience with the intention of adjusting your marketing and business strategies. You need to learn a few essential factors about the competition. This will help you distinguish yourself from others in the same industry. Thriving as a business will occur when you adapt your procedures after identifying the most compelling message you will send to your target.

  • How can you categorize the competitor?
    • Direct competitors
      • Those that offer the same product or services. For example, the direct competition of a landscaper is other landscaping companies.
    • Indirect competitors
      • Those that do not offer the same product or service but meet the same needs. Continuing the example with landscapers, indirect competition is found in locations that include nurseries and home improvement centers trying to convince their clients to do it themselves.
  • How are the competitors positioned?
    • Positioning is achieved by a combination of circumstances that allows a business to impart the benefits of its services and products.
    • The more you know about them, the more unique you can make yourself. Is their target market a specific age group or annual income? Do they only target upscale users or everyone? Are they a green company and conscious of the environment?
  • How are they coming up with pricing?
    • Knowing the competitor’s price is not intended with the idea of matching or beating it. It is to determine where you fall in the hierarchy of the market. If you are more expensive, you need to sell the fact that you offer higher quality.
  • How can knowing a competitor’s strengths help you build yours?
    • This will help you better attend to your customers’ needs. You want to know what their customers find appealing about them, whether it is their customer service or the products they offer. Even if you determine that you will not provide the same things, you will at least know where to focus.
  • Conversely, how will the awareness of their weaknesses help?
    • You are more likely to recognize your strengths by identifying their weaknesses. This is aptly done by perusing customer reviews. You will also know if their weakness is occurring because of an issue in the industry… one that will also affect you. This will help you form a plan to deal with potential challenges.

Suppose you consider your favorite restaurant. It is not just the food that they offer that is appealing. It is the entire experience. It is the owners or servers, the atmosphere, and the food quality. They have created a brand that delivers precisely what their target market craves. Being knowledgeable about your industry will help customers prefer you as the supplier of your specific product or service. Branding is more than just putting your name in front of people. The key is to establish a connection, and by following these ideas, you will be well on your way to being the leader in your market. 

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