Branding is an essential part of marketing. That might sound really obvious, but, believe it or not, some small business owners never spend a moment’s time on developing, or managing, their brand or building a strong brand identity.
Even if you are self-employed and haven’t put much effort into developing your own brand identity, you should take some time to learn how (not necessarily what — although that is important too) customers, or potential customers, think of you. Because, the reality is that you DO have a brand — you just might not know what it is.
brandingThis point was driven home by co-authors Al Ries and Jack Trout in their now-classic (and still highly relevant) book “Positioning.” A key takeaway from the book is the concept that “companies don’t position products, people do.” And branding is all about positioning.
Devoting time to building a strong brand is vital because a successful branded identity creates a “hook” in a customer’s or client’s mind that enables your company to be memorable in the battle for customer’s mind share. Successful branding enables individuals to recognize and keep your company in mind the next time they go shopping or are looking for a client. Even if what you offer is better than the competition, this competitive advantage won’t matter one bit if your share of mind is weak. If a competitor has done a more effective job of branding his or her business, then clients might end up going to your competition because the share of mind quotient on that competitor is higher than on your company.
Effective branding can be carried out in a variety of ways and is most effective when clients are exposed to consistent and well integrated branded messages or experiences about you or your company. These company “touch points” say more about you, and your brand, than you might think. One such touch point is a phone call. To build a stronger brand using the phone call example, you can start out by using a virtual phone number that welcomes customers with a branded company message or motto.
For example, when clients call, you can have the professionally recorded greeting mention that short company motto, the name of the company, or perhaps your name followed by a short motto. At least one of these ideas should always be incorporated into your message to add a bit of branding to client calls. This way, every time anyone calls any of your virtual phone numbers, they will be exposed to your brand. First time callers will probably also remember it too because they took the initiative to contact you.
Branding is a key part of marketing. No matter how small your company may be, you have got to include it into your marketing strategies. Take a spin with Global Call Forwarding to see how this radically better phone number can help you with branding.