Branding is a great tool to differentiate your business and acquire loyal customers. It helps you to create a community around your business and beat the competition without dropping your prices.
According to the American Marketing Association, "A brand is a name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that identifies one seller's good or service as distinct from those of other sellers." In other words, it is what people visualize when they think of specific brands, their products or services. It is the character of products/services (American Marketing Association).
But how can you decide the character of your products/services? Will it have a sense of humor? Will it be cool, honest or friendly? For example, Apple wants to create an image of innovation and simplicity. Southwest Airlines is fun, friendly and easygoing. But how do they decide these associations?
Actually, the answer is simple. What do you care? If you are a sole proprietor, look at your personality and lifestyle. Your brand cannot pretend to be like someone else. If you are a larger company, then think about your culture and team. If you do not have a culture, then again look at your team. Who are they? How do they communicate?
Your brand should define your products/services, not the opposite. Volvo is associated with safety; they make safe cars because Volvo’s vision is that "No one should be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo car by 2020," (Volvo).
Some of the questions are personal, but think of your brand as a person who thinks and communicates. There is no right or wrong answer to these questions. The only thing to keep in mind is being unique. After you answer these questions, reflect these onto your communication strategy, product design, packaging, business cards or any other brand elements that you may be using.
The Duquesne University SBDC provides free business consulting for entrepreneurs in the Greater Pittsburgh area. Click here to request free consulting, or contact the SBDC for additional help and information.
Tunca Cali is the Marketing & Training Coordinator of the Duquesne University Small Business Development Center (DUSBDC). He earned his MBA degree from Duquesne University. He has worked with several clients over the past years and helped them to develop marketing strategies as well as marketing and coordinating the training events offered by the DUSBDC.