In the early stages of crafting your business, one of the biggest things that many companies spend a considerable amount of time on is their branding. And, so they should. Logos, colours, and even fonts can be so ingrained in a companies branding that people know the name of a company without seeing it. A great example is the ‘Swoosh’. You know that it belongs to Nike – even if you never see Nike in the advert.
That is how strong the link between your brand, your company, and your product should be.
But to know how to brand, you need to understand what branding really is. Many people make the mistake of assuming it is merely a logo. When actually, branding goes much deeper than that. Branding takes into account your image. Or rather, your Corporate Image. This is the image of the ‘creator’ of the products. Positioning is also an important component, you’ll need to choose between combine or separation when it comes to advertising.
That is to say, will your company be the face all the time, or will there be branches to represent different products (some companies have multiple entities so when a PR disaster happens, the leading brand/corporate image can step away from it).
Let’s go further.
Branding covers a range of things that you should consider:
- Uniqueness – what makes you stand out and why?
- Value propostition
- Target Audience – really drill down your demographic to get an image of the ideal person
- WTMWB – You can buy Gucci fakes/dupes for $5, or you can buy the Gucci product for X thousands. Look for the maximum, then price yourself accordingly.
The more interesting, coveted and unique your product appears to be, the more likely the price tag can reflect that. This also means that marketers can build all of these aspects into the positioning of each product. If you can only buy a specific product, in a particular place – people are more inclined to pay more.
It is often thought that when your product is distributed via various other channels, it can dilute the control and the brand that you have worked hard to achieve. However, when you have branding guidelines and requirements, any respectable outlet will adhere to everything in the instructions.
When it comes to distribution, there are four main options:
- Direct to the end buyer, using direct marketing both online and offline
- Direct to the buyer via your personal sales team
- A single reseller, to keep the exclusivity. Typically a big box store.
- Multiple resellers. Wholesalers and Dealers.
Pricing consideration will come into play here. Because each of these distribution channels will mean something different for your brand. Selling directly to consumers will most often mean that you need to have an increased price to cover all of the costs involved. When you have multi distributors, they will do much of the heavy lifting with their own advertising and marketing. Cutting your expenses, but that will need to be represented in the RRP. Everyone in the chain needs to make sufficient money.
Something that should always be a priority is the quality of your products. This goes for physical products or services and downloads that you sell online. To help you ensure that you are producing the most exceptional quality you can (ahead of having a quality control team), you should create a checklist.
- Product requirements – material and construction, weight and dimensions, colours, labelling and marking
- Packaging – packaging weight and dimensions, using the best mailers (materials, assortment, graphics and labelling – branded), labelling requirements
- Product Tests – classify and defects (minor, major, critical)
- Collaboration between the chain – importer, supplier, QC team, and distributors
This list should be produced and ready to go before you go into large scale production. Ideally, there should be a few smaller batches created so that you can test the quality of the manufacturer. The same will apply if you are using graphic designers, writers and other teams to produce courses, services or other online. You need to know the quality will be something you can rely on for your brand.
You are looking to create top-of-mind awareness here. So the idea is that your brand is easy for people to remember. This means that when they are looking for a specific product if it is in your range, they will likely head to you first.
You have to make sure that the path from idea to purchase is as quick and painless as possible. So it should be as easy as them remembering your brand name and typing it in. This will be a test of your SEO and marketing efforts, as well as your branding.
People like to feel as if they are part of a movement or a group. The term ‘find my people’ is often used online. From beauty gurus to sports teams, people buy into their branding. And people need to buy into yours. Your brand should be consumers’ trust and feel part of. Which is when you need to encourage and promote UGC (user generated content) in your marketing and branding strategy.
UGC is one of the most powerful things that you can have in your toolbox. Putting the power of marketing and content in the power of your consumers. If you are doing your job correctly when it comes to quality, you can reap these rewards, and use them to your advantage.
What it all comes down to in the end. Is that your branding will be the lifeblood of your business. It should be something that you live and breathe and is more than just a well-designed logo. Which is why when it comes to branding when you get it right, you will have repeat customers, an excellent reputation and everything from your website to the paper you wrap your products in will represent you.
Make sure that your vision, message and goals are all aligned and make sense with your brand, and you will have the keys to unlocking the income.