We see business branding all around us and from the moment we wake until we go to sleep.
You can’t walk down the street without absorbing brands and their images. Each journey along the freeway introduces us to more. Even sitting at a bus shelter thrusts at us more business branding.
Some brands are more noticeable than others, some have lots of promotion and others not.
It’s possible that Facebook isn’t seen as a brand now because it’s such an integral part of our lives, but it is. They don’t need to promote their brand because they have such a wide reach into our lives.
To conquer the world with your brand you need a solid product or service. With that in hand a few simple techniques can see you rocket to success.
So, where do you start?
The building blocks of business branding
The top brands all have 3 or more of the following in common:
- Perception of the brand.
- Agreement that the product exists and is workable.
- Understanding of how the product works.
- Correct positioning of the product in the correct marketplace.
- Simplicity of design and use.
- Usefulness in solving a problem or satisfying a desire.
If you take all of the above what do they add up to?
The main key to brand success is trust!
For years clients have been asking me what’s the simplest way to having a great brand. I’d tell them that hard, honest work would get them a brand they could be proud of. Then I realised that the whole subject of branding boils down to just one word: trust.
So, how do we start to build trust?
Using PR to build trust
Knowing that trust is the key to business branding is one thing, but gaining the trust is another matter. The fastest way to gain trust is with great PR.
PR often gets a bad rap because some people use it to cover up bad things or to make bad things more palatable.
But that’s a minority.
Most people use PR wisely and honestly and true to it’s definition. So Public Relations, or relaying information to the public to inform and enlighten is the best we came up with!
PR can be a slippery fish. If you don’t monitor it you may find yourself washed up and down the great gurgler. If bad reports of your brand start to creep in and are unnoticed and unresolved this will lead to problems.
A PR campaign is not too dissimilar to a marketing campaign since they are both pushing messages. A PR campaign doesn’t try to sell anything though – it’s awareness only.
Social media is a PR channel and one of the fastest ways to execute a PR campaign today. Selling on social media is generally not cost effective because it’s a social environment. This social environment is the perfect place for PR though!
My advice is to hire a PR professional who can create a campaign specifically for your brand. He or she can then implement and manage it. You’ll save yourself a lot of headaches if you get someone else to do this part of the job.
For a PR campaign to be effective you need to assume your position in the marketplace.
Positioning your Business Branding
Before a PR campaign can put in place you have to know what your branding position is going to be. A branding position is how you intend your product to be viewed and interpreted. For example:
Are you going to position towards the competition, as in “My product is like the competition”?
Or position against the competition; “My products are better than the competition”?
There are many more positioning stances to learn before you become a black belt but getting this right is the key to a great campaign.
How do you work out what position is going to work best?
Here’s a real life example:
Time Warner provided Internet connections in Mid West USA. A new company came along trying to break into the market. The new company ran a survey to find out what people wanted from an Internet provider. The answer they got was speed.
OK, so now they knew speed was the desired goal a position can now be worked out. But one last thing is needed, a symbol to use in the branding. Another survey was designed to find out what people in the Mid West think of when they think of speed. In this case it was a Daytona racing car.
Now they know what the target market wants (fast internet) and what they think is fast (Daytona racing car). A position can now be taken, and the new company decided to position against Time Warner.
How? Well, a classic image / brand for Time Warner is Roadrunner. The new company ran adverts showing the Daytona racing car going faster than Roadrunner.
The result? The new company took 50% of the Mid West market within a year!
So the key takeaway point here is that surveys are the best way to find out which position is going to work best for you. They give you some solid foundations on which to base your PR campaign.
Branding like Madison Avenue
In summary, a brand is built by building trust with your target market.
To get trust you have to raise awareness of your product or service. This is achieved using Public Relations.
To ensure you engage with your target market you’ll need a position, a stance. To figure out the best position for your product or service run a survey. Find out what people want and why they want it.
There you go, you are a branding expert now!
I’ve had the privilege of working with some amazingly talented branding experts for the best part of 20 years. If you need help with branding, whether you are launching a new brand or re-branding I know a few good chaps who can make it work for you. Let me know and I’ll put you in touch with them.