Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
Contributing Writer: Angela Feeney
Business-owners are always looking for new ways to improve their company’s bottom line. One way to achieve growth that businesses either overlook or do not consider strategically is to manage their brand as an asset. Typically, the concept of branding is regarded in terms of trademarks, logos, and taglines. Although these components are a part of branding, managing a company’s brand goes far beyond catchy phrases and design elements. It requires a well-thought brand strategy with a clear identity for the business.
Brand management is about nurturing, protecting, and leveraging the business’s identity to its advantage in a competitive landscape. It taps into the creative and qualitative side of the business in order to transform resources in ways that connect the business with consumers on a visceral level. Execution is conducted via positioning, communicating and messaging with the goal of matching how the business wants consumers to perceive it and how consumers actually perceive it. A brand can be manifested in various ways to greater increase its impact for growth.
The decisions employees make, the way they behave, and how they interact with customers can say a lot about a business. For example, if a company wants customers to perceive it as the best service provider in the industry then it should focus on creating norms and values in the organization that support this perception. If there are constant backlogs, and the sales team does not answer the phone when a customer calls, then the business’s ‘best service’ claim will be less believable. A company’s brand helps to establish customer expectations. When a gap exists between the two, companies’ risk upsetting customers and turning them away – perhaps to their competitors. Consider ways to achieve alignment through motivating, training, and rewarding a staff who behaves in ways that align with the business’ brand strategy.
The company website is usually one of the first places consumers visit to learn more about the company and offering. Businesses should think about their website as an initial meeting place with prospective customers, and should treat it as an extension of brand identity. Details such as images, design, content, and colors are critical to telling a story about the business and its greatest competencies. For example, a company that differentiates on customer service may incorporate more images of people to amplify a human factor. Another company that competes on product selection and quality may prefer to showcase a variety of products on their website. The key takeaway is to align the design of the company website (and social media sites) with the company’s overall brand strategy.
The content that businesses share within a marketplace helps to tell a story about the company. Make the most of this component by developing taglines, logos, images, and other symbols that correlate with the company brand. Once created, be sure to incorporate the information into marketing materials even if you are using content from channel partners. Some vendor and distribution partners have marketing services that can assist with co-branding videos, brochures, case studies, and the like. The objective is to create unified symbols that make it easier for consumers to identify your business at a glance. The more consumers know whom you are and how to reach you, the more likely they are to send business your way.
Consumers’ perceptions of a business are made up of a variety of touch-points and experiences. Effectively managing the company’s brand as an asset must start with a clear brand strategy that’s manifested through a combination of outputs – customer engagement, website interface, content, and more. A company’s brand impact is a factor within a business’s control and influence. The next time you think about new ways to grow your business, consider how your business’s brand strategy can help you to achieve results.