An elementary brand development strategy
Brand development is roughly defined as the process of bettering the image of a brand in the market and especially in the opinion of the consumers. It involves creating awareness, communicating the advantages of the brand to the public, enticing consumption of their products, and building a loyal and durable relationship with consumers. It is of paramount importance for the entrepreneur to select and employ the most apt brand-development strategy for their company. Owing to the volume of competitors in the market today, making one’s brand stand out more than the rest can be a challenging task. The previous statement is truer in the case of aspiring start-ups. What the administrators need to understand is that brand-development does not necessarily require copious amounts of investment or large-scale advertising. Rather, a coherent marketing model can compensate for the lack of funds, if such a need arises.
The entrepreneur must always bear in mind the objectives set to be achieved by the brand. In contemporary capitalistic society, that mostly implies the maximisation of profits. A coherent business model is a general requirement of any firm. The manufacturer must be aware of the competitor-brands in the market and the scope of a new business venture. Every brand should have a specific target market that they wish to cater to i.e. a particular stratum of the public based on income, age, gender, et cetera. A target market is characterised by the sections of population more likely to purchase the product. They are the consumers at whom production is aimed. Market segmentation is a good marketing technique and should be implemented from the start. The producers should also be aware of the trajectory of the spending habits of these ‘segments’. Clearly, conducting research in the industry before entering is an imperative for any brand. Research remains essential for all times to come, and perusing real market-data before making decisions is the primary trait of a successful entrepreneur. There should be a well-defined and motivational mission statement in place. The entrepreneur is required to deduce whether there are sufficient resources to allocate to advertising and marketing. If there are not, the producers need to understand what type of marketing is most relevant to them and employ just that. The usual trend is that smaller firms employ smaller branding agencies. The management should have the broad picture in mind and think about what is best for the brand in the long run. Lastly, it is of utmost importance to track the progress made by a brand and to see to it that it is being developed along the prescribed lines.
Brand-recognition and identity
The primary step in developing a brand is to disseminate information about it in the market and to create brand identity for the business. What products or services are offered by the brand should be made abundantly clear to potential consumers. It is important for the public to understand what the brand stands for and why they should opt for it. Advertising and publicity help in this regard. In order to distinguish one’s brand from those prevalent in the market, a brand needs to be represented by a unique logo or emblem. These logos should express the tone and character of a brand. Once that has been done, measures need to be taken to reinforce that image so as to lodge the brand name and logo in the minds of the consumers. At times, people opt for certain brands for reasons of familiarity and memorability rather than good quality. Different customers get attracted to a brand for different reasons and it is an imperative for the entrepreneur(s) to be aware of the major ones and to focus on them. The advertisement campaign has got to be able to directly speak to prospective buyers. It should include well-crafted messages for the target market which demonstrate the relevant aspects of the product. The application of content marketing helps disseminate those aspects of the brand which are relevant to particular sections of the public.
A popular brand has the power to almost take over the market of a product by virtue of its identity. When we think of soft drinks for example, we instantly associate the product-type with either Coca-Cola or PepsiCo products. It is not because there are few other brands producing soft drinks in the market. Rather, it is because we have grown so accustomed to these brands and their products that at times we even substitute the words ‘soft drink’ for ‘Coke’ or ‘Pepsi’.
By virtue of there being numerous rival-firms or competitors in the market, a brand must offer some heterogeneity in their products as compared to the others. What this helps accomplish is to create a product that appeals relatively more to the public than its contemporary substitutes. There needs to be a unique brand promise, one that corresponds with the identity the brand wishes to create for itself. A company can approach this by acclaiming higher value for money in their products, by including environmental and such causes in their ad-campaigns, by using some superior or unique ingredients in their products, et cetera. Often, the use of educational content or puzzles on the packaging is used to attract children. The purpose of all of this is to make a profound connection with the consumers. By appealing to their values and/or soft spots, the manufacturer induces the public to purchase only their products. The advertisements should resound with these specific attributes that represent the brand. Another important feature of creating a distinct identity for one’s brand is the association of certain behaviour or tradition with it. For example, the advertisement campaign of alcohol manufacturers such as Bacardi is characterized by the portrayal of a partying environment. The brand is now associated with clubbing and extrovert behaviour. The idea is also that having viewed the advertisements, consumers should want to be like the people depicted in them. They should want to be in similar scenarios, consuming the product and doing whatever that is associated with it.
Brand-recognition needs to be complemented by public trust with regard to the quality of the brand’s products. In order to win over the loyalty of consumers, it is important to communicate to them that your product is perfectly reliable. They should feel as though your brand genuinely cares for them and bears their needs in mind during production. Consumers need to know that they are receiving decent value for their money. Surveys are a competent way of finding out what exactly the public is looking for. Incorporating ratings of merit and the brand’s market credentials in the campaign helps boost trust. The creation of a reliable reputation of a brand is responsible for keeping the public from deviating to the products of its competitors. It is easier to become infamous or famous for the wrong reasons than to be popular as well as reputable. When reputation and popularity go hand in hand, the brand has the potential to become a behemoth in its market.
To start with, the various departments of a company ought to be on the same page in terms of recognizing the brand’s goals and current progress. Efficiency is compromised when workers are working independently or separate from the rest in an organisation. There should be a quality of unity amongst the employees, who in turn should believe in the brand. When such belief and unity are achieved, the workers will truly work towards making the brand a success. Rewarding one’s employees when business is going well is a smart tactic. It keeps the workers happy and promotes growth. After all, they are responsible for the success that has been accomplished. The brand is required to be unique and there are no ways around it. Increasing the marketing budget is not going to solve any problems. Rather, it is only going to waste funds by accentuating the current campaign without adding much essence to it. Decisions should be made and conclusions arrived at only after carefully examining market-research data. Arbitrary decision-making can be highly detrimental to business even when arising out of good or reasonable intentions. Same goes for chasing somebody else’s business strategy, even if a proven one. Constantly trying to cut production costs in order to make higher profits is a regressive approach. It may result in the loss of customers, especially those that are value-oriented. It is also important to recognise the fact that a low price is not necessarily indicative of good value for money. Consumers are aware of this, and those that can afford to shift to the consumption of superior products will not think twice before doing so if current product quality is poor. A successful brand takes steps to retain their customers. While it is important to conduct market activities to recruit more consumers and broaden one’s customer base, the customers that a brand has already acquired should not be ignored. They are the ambassadors of one’s brand today.