Is Your Product or Service Branded? ©
By Terri L. Norvell, Business Coach & Consultant

Today's marketplace continues to offer increasing choices for consumers. Companies, products and services with a clear identity can excel today and into the future. What's needed is a strategy to get your message into the minds of prospective clients and keep your message in front of your clientele. This strategy is to build a Brand.

The Power of Brand Identity
So what is Branding? It's creating a distinct "personality" or image for your product or service and then telling clients and prospects about it! When you invest in branding efforts, you are planting impressions in the minds of consumers that your product or service is what they want to purchase or your company is who they want to do business with. There is a bond between your company and your clients because the brand conveys who you are and what they get, calling upon a host of feelings and emotions. The brand is the promise of the value they will receive. Branding enables you to capturing mind share, which will lead to market share! It's all about exposure and long term relationships.

Action Application
Think of your current product or service "personality". You already have an identity! You may want to ask clients, colleagues, prospects and your employees what they perceive as your Brand Identity. Do you want to reinforce an existing perception? Build a new image? Or shift an existing identity? Once you decide, a plan will assist you to reinforce your brand on an emotional level.

Components of Branding
A creative advertising campaign, an effective public relations program, positive word of mouth from satisfied clients and a corporate culture that reflects the personality of your product or service are but a few components of a successful branding effort. The key is to focus on communicating the benefits of your product or service. Customers want to know how your product or service will help them. Building loyalty is more than attractive ads and enacting company policies and procedures on service. It's about creating, implementing, maintaining and enhancing your branding emphasis.

Action Application
If service is your hallmark, focus on creating a client-first operating style throughout your organization, where service is a style not a deliberate act. Develop measurements, which may include: satisfaction/loyalty; pricing premiums; perceived quality, value, awareness, and differentiation. Measurable criteria to assess the impact of your brand identity confirms ongoing direction.

Expect Benefits
Along with increased mind share and market share, successful branding benefits may include: higher rates, increased referrals, name recognition, lower marketing costs and longer retention of employees. Building a perceived added value into a brand is key to justifying higher rates. The brand itself makes clients and potential customers feel comfortable that they have made a good decision. People will rationalize to justify an emotional decision. Branding relies on an emotional level…it's very powerful.

Action Application
Gear your marketing efforts toward establishing your brand as the preferred choice (best value) for your targeted customers. Forge relationships that build loyalty…retention of customers and retention of your team. Keep your brand preference going by keeping your branding iron in the fire (this is the best strategy for increased awareness, and preempting your competition).

In this time of limitless choices, a strong brand identity can be a deciding factor. It's your promise. When you build a great brand…you have built a great company.

Terri Norvell is a national business coach and consultant
for fast growing and entrepreneurial businesses.

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