Strategic brand management is one of the key ways businesses can take advantage of brand equity and stay afloat in the current market state.
The market, both online and offline, has become a competitive place. Many new products and services are being offered daily, with each one of them beckoning on the customer’s funds. While it would be nice to have customers purchase all the products put on display by producers and business owners, resources are quite limited. Hence, the need for business owners to create a path for their products/services. One of the ways to do that is through Branding or building a Brand.
What is Branding?
Entrepreneur defined branding as ‘the marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products’. It can also be defined as the act of choosing a value to offer or a gap to fill. Branding is a path continuously followed to create a brand.
A brand simply put is what a business is known for. Fasthire is a brand known for its excellence in the creation of CVs, SOPs, Letter of Recommendation, etc. When you think of making a CV or working on the one you have already, Fasthire comes to mind first. In our niche, we have become a brand.
Having understood what branding is and what makes a brand, let’s look at the importance of building your business to become a brand.
Importance of Branding
The following are the importance of branding your business.
Competitive Advantage: branding your business gives you more visibility and helps you withstand the heat of the competition in the market.
Brand Identity: branding gives you an identity. It helps you stand out from businesses that offer similar products/services to what you offer.
Brand Equity: this is the end goal of the branding process. Being able to earn from your brand reduces the work put into the advertising of the business’s products/services.
The points listed above are just a few of the important reasons why you should brand your business. From these points, we can see that branding is something that businesses should approach from a strategic point. Hence, the next section will look at what brand equity is and how to build, measure and manage brand equity.
Brand equity, according to Shopify is a brand’s value. This value depends on consumer perception of the brand and the experiences that they have had from their encounter with the brand. Brand equity is also the positive or negative influence gained from the brand’s name.
Depending on the type of influence that the brand’s name exerts, it has a direct impact on the finances of the business. The endpoint or goal of every business is to make gains. Hence, a brand must aim to have a positive influence.
Example of Brand Equity
Assuming Company A produces sugar and Company B also produces sugar. Company A sells at 50 naira while Company B sells at 80 naira. If Company B has positive brand equity, it will still be able to generate more sales from its brand name even though it sells higher than Company A. Even though Company A doesn’t have bad brand equity, as long as Company B has higher brand equity, it will sell more than Company A.
From the example above, we can see the importance of brand equity and the difference between two businesses with positive brand equity, but one has more brand awareness and equity than the other.
How To Build a Brand
Plan: this is the first line of action to be taken before embarking on anything. Start by determining the type of business that you want to start. Determine why you want to start that business and what it will cost you to start the business.
Research: it is important to research those who are already in the line of business that you wish to pursue. Find out what they offer, at what price, and their target market.
Determine your target market: from your research, you will find out the market segment that has not been covered by your competitors. Even if they are targeting the same market as you, your research will reveal places where there are loopholes that you can fill.
Determine your Brand Identity: your brand identity is what you want your brand to be known for. It is like the face of a person. Knowledge of your target market will help you determine what you want to be known for by these people. Choose an identity that resonates with your target audience.
Promote your Brand: now that you have your brand identity and know what value you want to offer to your target audience, the next is to promote your brand. Be in the faces of your target audience by going to places where they are. This should be done actively both online and offline. Be in their faces and minds till they think of you each time they have that challenge that you are proffering the solution to.
Offer Value: you must offer value. A brand is carried on the back of the value that it offers. The more value it offers, the more customers can trust that business and ultimately, the brand.
Measuring your brand equity depends on the indices you set out to determine if your business has positive brand equity or not. Some of them are:
Set achievable goals: at the beginning of each year, every 6 months, or depending on the frequency you choose, set goals. At the end of each period, check if the goals were achieved. It gives you an idea of what has been done and what was not achieved.
Train your workers: training your employees to have the mindset of value creation in line with your organisation’s goals is important. This is because they interact more with your customers and can either aid the achievement of your goal or not. Let there be a benchmark of the basic knowledge that they have to possess to work as an employee in your business.
Monitor sales and adverts: adverts, when done well, can generate sales leads for the business. However, the goal is to earn off your brand name and not just based on paid ads. Therefore, it is important to monitor if the sales you recorded for a period are primarily from ads displayed in such areas. Also, determine what the sales volume is without ads.
Feedback: this is very important to every business. You can know if your business is progressing through feedback. It also helps you to identify where your business is not getting it right.
The list above is not exhaustive. You can use these indices as a guideline while you add more.
In summary, a business can become a brand through the values it sets out to provide and the consistency with which it provides them. This process of building and measuring a brand is the management of brand equity.
Do you want to learn more about Strategic Brand Management? I am sure your answer is yes. Click here to get access to our book on Strategic Brand Management.
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