Cheat Sheet

Branding For Dummies

From Branding For Dummies, 2nd Edition by Bill Chiaravalle, Barbara Findlay Schenck

A brand is so much more than a pretty logo. To win loyal customers, you need to develop a story that represents the quality and character of your organization or product. By then telling that story consistently across all channels and backing it up with exceptional customer service, you gain all the benefits (and profits) that come from being a trusted name in the marketplace.

The Branding Process in 8 Steps

Branding is the process that aligns the opinions people hold about your brand with the set of thoughts you want them believe and trust. As you develop your brand, follow these steps, in this order:

  1. Determine what you’re branding and whether your brand will be your one and only or one of several brands in your organization.

  2. Research everything there is to know about your product and the market in which it will compete.

  3. Position your brand by defining what makes it unique and how it will slot into an available space in the market and in your customers’ minds.

  4. Define your brand by stating what it stands for, what unique benefit it provides, what value it promises to deliver, and the image that will permeate everything from your marketing communications to your product design, business character, and consumer experience.

  5. Develop your brand identity, including your brand name, logo, tagline, and other brand signature elements.

  6. Launch your brand, internally first and then by announcing it via publicity, social-media advertising, promotions, and presentations.

  7. Manage your brand by understanding and leveraging your brand’s value, by protecting your brand through usage rules and legal rights, and by delivering an unfailingly consistent and positive brand experience that creates allegiance among those who represent, choose, and remain loyal to your brand.

  8. Monitor, evaluate, and update your brand to keep it relevant and credible in light of changes to your business, your customers, or your marketplace.

3 Rules of Branding

By following a few simple rules, you can successfully brand your small business. As you plan, launch, and manage your branding program, remember and train others to remember these three branding rules:

  • Your brand is a promise that must be reinforced every time people come in contact with any facet of your organization.

  • Your brand must accurately reflect the core beliefs of your organization, your leadership, and all who deliver your brand experience to consumers.

  • Consistency builds brands, so every encounter with your brand — whether with your staff, product, website, marketing communications, news coverage, social media, or other any other form of brand encounter or experience — must consistently convey your brand promise and contribute to your desired brand identity.

Attributes of a Good Brand Name

Naming your brand is by far the most challenging, momentous, and necessary phase in the process of branding. However, coming up with a good brand name can be tricky. The following list presents qualities of a strong brand name.

  • Reflects the character of the brand

  • Describes the brand’s offering

  • Creates an association with the brand’s promise

  • Is easy and pleasant to say

  • Is unique and memorable

  • Can be claimed and protected legally, as a domain name, and as a social-media username

Economic Benefits of a Strong Brand

Great brands create consumer trust and emotional attachments. As a result, they foster relationships between consumers and products that lead to the following valuable benefits:

  • Premium pricing: Consumers pay more for branded items that they believe have higher value and lower risk than lesser-known alternatives.

  • Lower cost of sales: Consumers of valued brands make repeat and frequent purchases. As a result, customer-acquisition costs are amortized over a long-term client relationship.

  • Lower cost of promotion: Consumers of valued brands become ambassadors who spread positive word-of-mouth at no cost to the brand.

  • Higher market share: Valued brands acquire loyal customers who recruit more customers to the brand, increasing the brand’s share of market while reducing customer-development costs and building immunity to competitive attacks.

  • Lower employee turnover: Great brands attract passionate employees who pass their enthusiasm to satisfied consumers, who in turn make employees’ jobs more enjoyable, reducing employee turnover as a result.

  • Higher stature: Valued brands enjoy a high level of awareness and esteem in the minds of consumers, industry leaders, community leaders, news editors, and financial analysts and investors, which leads to yet higher brand preference and marketplace prominence.

7 Signs That Your Brand May Need an Update

Times change, businesses change, consumer interests change, culture changes, and sometimes brands need to change, too. If your brand faces one or more of the events in the following list your brand strength may be at risk and a brand update may be in order:

  • Major business changes

  • Major market changes

  • Change of ownership or leadership

  • Rapid market or product line expansion

  • Major product, channel, or strategic diversification

  • A merger or acquisition

  • A brand identity that’s out of step with current market and cultural tastes and trends

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