Branding is an incredibly important tool for creating and building your business. Large corporation has been benefiting from branding ever since people first started selling things to other people. Branding made those businesses big.
In the old days, sales representatives were a big part of the selling process. They recommended one product over another and laid out the reasons why it was better. Sales representatives had credibility because they knew about all the products and customers often took the advice they offered.
Today, consumers control the buying process. They shop in super-sized supermarkets, and on the internet – where there are no sales representatives. Buyers now go online and gather information beforehand.
The way of commerce used to be: “Nothing happens till something is sold.”
Today it’s: “Nothing happens till something is branded!”
A brand is a proper name that stands for something. It lives in the consumer’s mind, has positive or negative characteristics, and invokes a feeling or an image. In short, it’s a person’s perception of a product or a company. -Raymond Aaron
In all my years of digital marketing I have seen only a few actions that can drive a brand and a company better than a well-defined brand message. In the early years, we branded one of our companies as “the web success company”.
Every time we used this brand message it echoed in people’s minds and stirred a few questions that immediately gave us the opportunity to explain our offerings and success stories. The brand message also activated our team to ensure “web success” for all our customers.
Brand message is the promise you make and the promise you keep.
Your brand message differentiates you from others!
In 2015 a lady came to me and asked me to assist her with her brand message. She is a qualified medical doctor with a aesthetics business. Her business name is Captivate Aesthetics, I think it is a very appealing name but from a marketing point of view very difficult to use as part of a brand message.
Our brand message workshop resulted in a strong brand message that is easy to remember and tells a customer exactly what the doctor does. The brand message: Wrinkle Doctor.
Your brand message should work harder for your business than you do. It is the first thing prospective customers see and determines how they will remember you. A brand message has to be memorable when spoken and focussed in its meaning. It must portray what the customers believe about your product and company.
According to Raymond Aaron the branding ladder has five distinct steps:
Step 1: Living in a void.
Every business starts here, at the bottom where it has no brand message and living in a brand absence.
Step 2: Achieving awareness
Brand awareness is a good step up the ladder because 97% of businesses never get here.
Step 3: Becoming the preferred brand
In this step, people prefer to use your product or service rather than your competitions’. People see or believe there is a difference between your product and your competitions’.
Step 4: Making it you and only you
When customers are so committed to your product or service that they won’t accept a substitute, it is called brand insistence. Apple is a perfect example of brand insistence.
Step 5: Getting customers to do the work for you.
Brand advocacy is the highest step on the ladder. Customer do not only promote your brand, they shout it from the rooftops.
Most businesses end up stuck on the bottom step. I have seen this more than I would like to see it. When I ask a business owner to explain their business to me they usually start talking for what seems like hours. They more often than not struggle to land their ideas for me not to mention for the customer.
Brand message development
You can create a brand message in many ways but here are a few ways to help you get started.
A brand message that highlights your strong points.
- “Cleaning the unthinkable” – A cleaning company that cleans trauma sites like suicides, homicides, accidents scenes, etc.
- We respond 99% of the time in less than 5 minutes – Armed response company
- 96% Returning car rental customers – Car rental company
Addressing a need for your customers
- Funerals with care, compassion, and dignity – Sonja Smith Elite Funeral Group
Rules for creating an effective Brand Message
Use as little words as possible
- Less is better, the fewer words you use the better. Be creative, combine words, ignore grammar. You can also use numbers.
Be as specific as possible
- The more specific the better your chance is that the brand message is imprinted in the customer’s mind. e.g. “Natures Choice.”
Must describe your product or service
- Your brand message must be able to stand on its own without any additional explanation. “The Web Success company”
Promoting your company using your Brand Message
When a company has a budget of millions to promote its brand it is easy using expensive billboards, TV ads, magazine ads, etc. but for the companies that do not have that luxury, there are other ways of getting your brand out there. Below are a few ways to consider:
- Answering your telephones with your brand message – Hello, this is YGreen Growth Advisory, your digital marketing guide, how can I help you?
- Putting it on all your printed media, business cards, flyers, menus, posters, etc.
- Using it in all internal meetings, something like: Good morning team, remember we are the Digital Marketing guides.
- Using it casually in conversations with customers or potential customers – As your Digital Marketing guide I would recommend……
- Introduce yourself with your brand message – Hello, my name is Elmo, I am from YGreen Growth Advisory, the Digital Marketing guide company.
Bottom line, if you do not have millions to spend on promoting your brand, promote it yourself left, right and center.