Having spoken to a number of business over the last few days about Brand Value, and in some cases helped them work through a Brand Key to define what their brand really stands for, this blog could be of interest to many business-owners: large and small.
Many businesses see brand recognition as a goal to achieve once they have become established. In reality all the time they are establishing themselves they are building their brand.
So, what is a ‘brand’? Perhaps I should start by saying what a brand is not: A brand is not your logo.
A brand is everything that you and your business stands for. The beliefs, values and culture of the organisation, the tone of voice you use in oral and written communications, the quality of your products – the service you provide. In essence your brand is your business.
To achieve brand recognition your consumer must be able to recall your brand in sufficient detail to make a purchase. So, to build recognition your brand must stand out – initially through product attributes but also through distinctive promotional activity. It is the combination of elements that create your brand that are either emotional, logical or cognitive that will give the consumer a particular impression of your product. It is this attitude that will direct consumer choice to a brand, or not.
I have been working with businesses to help them understand their brand – the rational and emotional elements of the brand and how it should (and can) resonate with their target audience. Often businesses are looking to “increase brand recognition” – which once you’ve established that your business has the right brand image can be the next step.
Increasing your brand recognition is about improving your visibility to the right people.
Partner with other brands. This may seem a bit silly but working with brands that already have market share in the target market you are trying to reach can help build your recognition. Not only do you benefit from the additional audience, there is the passive message about your brand from the other brand – in effect you are borrowing their brand equity to grow your business. Eg The Great Yorkshire Show partnered with Black Sheep Brewery to build their recognition amongst younger rural males – this allowed the aged institution of the Great Yorkshire Show to inherit some of the image and reputation of Black Sheep Brewery. Or, as the example I gave during a masterclass earlier this week: if you’re a B&B next to a Blue Flag beach, or are rated by Visit England, then borrow the brand equity those partnerships give in your own marketing.
In a similar vein, refer a friend – getting users of your product to refer their friends increases your reach for minimal outlay. Again this allows you to benefit from the endorsement that comes from word of mouth marketing. Dropbox is a brilliant example of this – giving away free storage in exchange for referral sign-ups.
Physical availability is important – it almost goes without saying but if your brand has successfully built a mental relationship with your buyer it is important that you are able to deliver. You need to ensure that your product is available in the locations that your customer desires, in the sizes and shapes that they require and in the right geographical location. This is of course, unless one of the “truths” about your brand, that makes it appealing is the exclusivity and scarcity!
Throughout the purchase process the brand needs to deliver and build memories with the consumer – before they even make the purchase. The ‘moment of truth’ ie that moment of using the product has to have the greatest impact in order to build an emotional, and therefore, strong connection with the consumer.
The other obvious point to make is that you must ensure consistency in all presentations of your brand. Determine your brand position and stick to it. Ensure that all customer touchpoints offer a consistent experience.
If you are looking to improve your brand recognition then you must measure it. You need to know if your efforts are working. Define at the start what your measures will be: number of brand searches in Google? Number of followers on twitter? Column inches using your brand name? And remember to evaluate them. But don’t stop the activities – otherwise you undo all the good work you have been doing. This is why brands like coca-cola continue to advertise – if they didn’t their customers would simply migrate to an alternative.
If you’d like help defining what your brand stands for – or should be standing for – and how to develop a strong brand strategy, then let me know. I can help you!