Why a strong brand can help you build a strong business.
It is estimated that we are bombarded with over 10,000 marketing messages a day so how can a small business get noticed in amongst all this noise?
A strong brand is one of the best ways to build a business. It needn’t cost a fortune and these tips are just as applicable to a small SME as they are to a multinational corporation.
What can having a good brand do for your business?
All of the strong brands we see around us every day started out as small businesses selling a product or a service. It is awareness of the brand that brings increased sales, a loyal and long term customer base and perhaps even premium pricing. Staff members become dedicated employees because they understand the brand, believe in it and feel a part of it.
James Hammond “The Brand Doctor” of Brand Halo has spent almost 30 years helping businesses to create all the benefits of a strong brand with some innovative ideas.
A brand is not a logo or a strapline
He is adamant that a brand is NOT a logo, a colour scheme, a strapline, a mission statement or a promise. He puts forward the idea that a brand is the total experience that a customer has with your company, its product or service. In other words the brand belongs to the customer and resides in only one place: the long term memory of the customer.
Andrex (a British brand owned by an American company) has been the Number One best selling toilet tissue all over the world for 37 years, often selling for four times the average price of other brands - all because of a puppy!
James has a simple formula for creating an EPIC brand: Emotion, Perception, Innovation and Communication.
All sales are made from EMOTION and justified by rational thought, therefore all strong brands need to create an emotional response. James suggests that determining the emotional benefit of our product or service is the starting point for creating a strong brand.
Instead of a USP define your ESP (Emotional Selling Point).
As all emotions are the response to a PERCEPTION and we form perceptions from our senses, checking out how our products look, sound, smell, taste and feel is important, especially to check if these are giving messages consistent to the emotional benefit we’ve already identified.
The visual sense is probably the easiest to check: what emotions does the look of your product or service trigger?
What does your website / office / shop / printed material look like and are these images consistent?
What do you and you customer facing staff look like?
Are all of these consistent with the emotional benefit you offer?
Do the same with the other senses. What emotions do the sounds of your business trigger? (Telephones, voices, background music.) How does it feel? (Do you use or allude to tactile sensations?). How does it taste? (Even an allusion to taste can be very powerful.
A recent Skoda campaign that used pictures of a car made out of food and refered to the Fabia as a ‘tasty’ car increased footfall in dealerships by over 600%).
The sense of smell is the second most powerful after sight. It is estimated that 75% of our emotions are influenced by what we smell and yet this is often a neglected part of brand awareness. We all know that the smell of sun lotion evokes feelings of warmth, relaxation and well-being and that the vanilla smell of baby powder is comforting.
The reason that many household products have smells associated with nature is because most of us enjoy these smells and so we use more of them.
The reverse of this is that most of us will experience a stomach lurch when we enter a hospital, dentist or school because of the smells we associate with unpleasant experiences.
Checking the smell of your product, your premises and yes – you and your staff is important. Are all of these smells consistent with the emotional benefit you offer?
Warm, happy people
INNOVATION is the third ingredient in an epic brand. The Innocent drinks range is a superb example of this. Innocent asked fans to knit and donate woolly hats for their little bottles. For every bottle sold with a woolly hat, Innocent and Sainsbury’s donated 50p to Age Concern. This so caught the imagination of the public that almost 500,000 hats were knitted last year and over £250,000 raised for Age Concern.
Every business, product and service has a story worth telling
People are interested in people and while we can’t all be larger than life Richard Branson type figures, who you are, and why you are doing what you’re doing, is a major part of your brand and another way to engage the emotions of your customers and clients, so COMMUNICATE this in a way that lets people see the human side of your business.
Don’t SAY you are passionate, convey it in your message. Don’t SAY you are trustworthy, let your customers give their testament.
A strong brand is one of the best ways to survive an economic downturn so instead of tightening your belt, strengthen your brand!
To read more about creating EPIC brands see James Hammond "The Brand Doctor"