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3 Steps to Better Brand Building

2010 | Mar 10 in Business Development , Home Page News , Marketing

By E-Myth Business Coach,

Is your business too small or too specialized to warrant the time and energy it takes to develop a brand? No! Brand building is essential for any business. A strong, positive brand is just as important for a 200-person technology company as it is for a 3-person retail shop. 

ChiropractorOne of my clients, Sean, is a chiropractor. When Sean started his business, he knew he had two branding challenges to overcome:

  1. Favorably differentiating his business from other chiropractic services
  2. Strengthening the legitimacy of chiropractic healing itself; branding chiropractic products and services in general so that more people would consider going to a chiropractor (namely him) rather than going to a more traditional medical doctor for treatments

Every business has to be able to attract and satisfy customers predictably and consistently if it is going to thrive. One of the best ways to do this is to build a strong, positive brand in the minds of your target markets.

What do People Think of your Business?

When people encounter your business, your products or your services they will either think negatively or positively about it depending on your brand. Ultimately, it is your brand that determines if people actually do business with you.

A good branding strategy takes time and attention to develop and implement in your business. You need to have a very good understanding of the purchase decision needs of your target markets and how your business meets or exceeds those customer expectations. You (and everyone else in your business) need a clear idea of what brand you are trying to establish in the marketplace so that you can look for any and all opportunities to reinforce that brand when dealing with customers. Your brand building efforts should also be tracked and quantified over time so that you can keep doing the things that strengthen your brand and identify the innovations that will improve the things that aren't working.

3 Steps To Begin Developing Your Brand Strategy

There are three basic steps you can take that will allow you to start building the right branding strategy for your business:

  1. Create a clear objective for your branding strategy. This should be a written document (we call it your Brand Objective Statement) that outlines the brand you hope to establish in the minds of your target market. It should be based on what your customers want and expect from your business, your products or your services. Some areas of focus to consider:
    Product Branding – This involves keeping your company somewhat anonymous but building the brand of your products or services. A business like the H.J. Heinz Corporation may take this approach to building the brand of, say, Heinz Ketchup without necessarily emphasizing the company itself or the brands of the distributors and retailers who carry the ketchup.
    Company Branding – This is something you might focus on if you were a company like the supermarket chain Safeway and are primarily focused on building the Safeway company brand. Interestingly, a company like Safeway carries a lot of “brand name” products and can use those brands to build upon the Safeway company brand to draw customers to their stores.
    Dual Branding – This is an approach that, for example, an automobile dealer might employ. Dual branding comes into play when there’s a strong product brand, like Toyota, as well as the company brand, like Donovan Motors. The Toyota brand (product brand) is developed and supported primarily by the Toyota Motor Company with is national and international advertising and public relations strategies. The Donovan Motors brand (company brand) is established locally in the company’s trading area. This is the branding strategy that Sean wanted to focus on for his Chiropractic business, since he wanted to brand his business and chiropractic health treatment in general in a positive light.
  2. Integrate branding into all customer-focused activity. Make sure that everyone in your business is aware of your desired brand and is taking every opportunity to reinforce that brand at every customer touch point. This is a bigger topic than we’ll go into now, but the better everyone understands the brand direction, the better equipped they are to act on the brand building and communication systems you have in place.
  3. Establish brand monitoring. This can be accomplished through interviews, surveys or focus groups that allow you to gather data regarding how your business is being perceived in the marketplace, and whether your reputation is growing in accordance with your brand strategy.

Sean worked through the three-step process outlined above and quickly started seeing the difference as his chiropractic business began to grow and gain a reputation. Through his research, he was able to articulate that people in his target market ultimately wanted quality health care and treatment that immediately helped them experience more functionality, a better quality of life, and less pain or side effects. He used that to create and document a Brand Objective Statement using a Dual Branding Strategy approach that pinpointed how his company specifically (and chiropractic medicine in general) would appeal to his target markets.

He then set about integrating his branding strategy into all of his business systems from advertising through sales and client fulfillment. After six months of operating with this new brand awareness he had quantifiable results that his efforts had paid off. He sent out a customer survey which helped confirm positive customer perceptions of his business. His internal meetings with staff helped confirm they were getting consistently positive feedback from customers. He measured a rise in clientele and client retention.

Additionally, he noticed that, since his brand was strong, his customers gave his business the benefit of the doubt when something did go wrong. His customers viewed mistakes and inconsistencies as merely temporary aberrations that the business would recover from quickly.

Interestingly, Toyota (as mentioned in point one above) is facing some brand setbacks right now. They’re experiencing a high volume of recalls for safety defects in certain vehicles. Do you think that this is going to permanently tarnish the Toyota brand? Do you think the company will be able to recover? Newsweek posted an interesting article on the topic that you might want to read.

flickr photo credit: planetc1

Comments

  1. .Andres M. says:

    Great article, i would like to find out more information on branding. I started my business three years ago but just until now found necessary to start working on my brand.

    I would like to find books, articles and everything else that could help me out with my company re-branding, thanks in advance

    Submitted Mar 10, 2010 5:08 PM

  2. .Bill H. says:

    When we started our business in 1981 we were the only balloon safari company in South Africa so it was easier to sell the product and build the brand.  Since then having witnessed our success more companies have entered the fray, many of them with cheaper prices, reduced services and lower quality.  The downside is that as we are without doubt the top of mind throughout the country and, in many cases the "only" company in this business we tend to get tarred with the same brush, especially when a negative comment, originally about another company, permiates the market place after the first or second onward transmission.  The bad story survives and becomes distorted in the telling, and no one can remember exactly which company was the culprit, this affects the perception of the product (hot air balloon safaris).  Thus as we are generally considered the "only" operation we often get the blame.

    Thankfully our branding and market penentration is strong enough to overcome these minor intrusions but we are always mindful and focused on ensuring that our SPs USPs and UUSPs are brought into the relevant sales and marketing dialogues to separate us from the crowd at every opportunity. 

    Submitted Mar 10, 2010 10:12 PM

  3. .Adenike O. says:

    this is a great article. please let us have more information on brand building. also, in the case of retail outlet, what method of branding is suitable.

    Submitted Mar 11, 2010 3:25 AM

  4. .E-Myth Team says:

    In response to Andres and Adenike:

    Here are a few articles from our blog that you might want to check out:

    Developing Your Unique Brand
    Creating Your Company Story
    The Cycle of Gratitude

    And, here are books that E-Myth Business Coaches recommend on branding.

    • The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding by Al Ries (A bit old, but still a definitive guide.)
    • Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind by Al Ries and Jack Trout
    • Purple Cow by Seth Godin (About making your business amazing; which is what branding is all about, right?)
    • Trust Agents by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith
    • Branding Only Works on Cattle by Jonathan Salem Baskin
    • "Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping" by Paco Underhill. (Especially good for retail.)
    • A New Brand World: Eight Principles for Achieving Brand Leadership in the 21st Century" by Scott Bedbury
    • Me 2.0: Build A Powerful Brand to Achieve Career Success by Dan Shawbel (Explores the idea of personal branding in the era of social networking.)
    • "In-N-Out Burger: A Behind The Counter Look At The Fast Food Chain That Breaks All The Rules" by Stacy Perman
    • "McDonald's: Behind the Arches" by John Love

    Submitted Mar 15, 2010 11:37 AM

  5. .Patrick M. says:

    Excellent article!

    It's also great to see chiropractors tapping into the principles taught via the E-Myth Team.

    Since our profession doesn't have the luxury of tapping into a healthcare delivery system like medical doctors do, it's extremely important that chiropractors understand that just because they are doctors doesn't mean they'll be successful.

    A true understanding of the E-Myth is mandatory upon graduation as chiropractors take on the roles of both doctor and entrepreneur.

    Dr. Patrick MacNamara of Next Generation Chiropractor

    http://www.nextgenerationchiropractor.com

    Submitted Mar 21, 2010 9:14 AM

  6. .Caroline B. says:

    Good Statistic. Seems like most peo­ple have the vision part, but abso­lu­tely no decided direc­tion. They just pay atten­tion to the end goal, and think that everything will be go in the strategy are there, we have the some tips which will be so helpful in the Developing the Brand strategy..

    Vision

    Direc­tion

    Action Plan

    Just we have to go forward on this 3 steps on which we moving on..

    Thanks & Regards

    Caroline Brown

    www.datarecoverysoftware.com

    Submitted Mar 21, 2010 10:38 PM


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