I recently got a phone call a month or so ago from a discouraged business owner who contacted us at DODO. She had been struggling to push her business for almost a year. One of the main reasons she gave was that, her company wasn’t standing out enough to make good sales in the market. She said someone even told her point-blank, …’with your product packaging, no one will take you seriously.’
Unfortunately, this is the plight of many Nigerian businesses. In recent times, however, some are taking note and making serious adjustments; those are the ones that are standing out in Nigeria’s fast growing entrepreneurial scene. The important thing to note is that branding is not only important for the here and now, it is a long term matter. Companies that are well represented to the public, most times, see long term success spanning decades. If you want your business to not only stand out, but withstand the test of time, it’s wise to use the benefits of branding to your full advantage.
Before we go on, I want to state that branding is not a logo (though a logo is a visual aspect of branding). A brand is people’s perception of your company, your product and your services.
You can look at it this way: once you release your company’s identity and message into the world, it is not yours again. It’s now up to the public to make what they will of it. Then, it becomes very difficult for you to define your brand. Sure, you can push the conversation around your business in a certain direction on marketing channels like social media, but it’s tougher to do, because people already know and recognise your business and have begun to form an opinion of it.
If people like your message, product or services they will begin to form a good perception, and if they don’t, they form a negative perception.
This makes it very important for you, as a business, to determine who you are and what you stand for…before you begin to do business with your target customers. It can also be done after you are established as a business; but, like I mentioned, it’s harder to do, then.
That said, how can you position your brand message and image uniquely in today’s very competitive market?
In these series, we will break down the branding process in 3 simple steps – at the same time showing you why it is necessary for you to undergo the process.
Again, you must remember that branding is for long term gain.
In branding your company, first you must do your research, you have to determine a few things:
- who you are, your unique value proposition ( your unique value proposition should answer 3 questions: 1. what makes you unique, 2. what benefits you offer people and what makes you different from your competitors)
- who your target audience is, their pains, their aspirations, and their needs. Also importantly, how your business can meet their needs.
- also determine what you want people to think of when they encounter any part of your business?
Answering these questions help you determine your unique position in the market. This helps you not just stand out against competition, but it makes your message clear for customers to understand.
With all the information you’ve gotten from no.1, you must then determine your brand story and your brand message.
Take some time to figure out what you want your business to stand for. Based on your value proposition above, ask, what is the story that drives your business? Why did you start? What problem were you looking to solve with your products or services, and why should your customer care?
This is key because this is the foundation of all your branding and marketing efforts. The more honest you are in answering these questions, the more you will endear people to your business and your creations. When you have answered all these questions, (I advise you to write them on a piece of paper), then you are set to start creating an identity – a ‘look’ for your brand in terms of packaging, a logo, marketing materials, website or app design, staff uniforms, even your tone of voice. Everything, and I mean everything, should go through the filter of who you are. For example, if you’ve determined you are a ‘fun’ brand, then everything in your company should represent fun, even your receptionist should considered a fun person, when conversing with clients. This births consistency and consistency leads to brand loyalty.
You have determined who you are and what your message to the world is, now is the fun part, bring it all to life!
Ideally, this is the right place to reach out to a designer, digital marketer, and what have you. A good agency, like ours would actually help you from step 1 to create a strong brand strategy and then finish it up with an equally strong message, logo, tagline, website, and marketing materials. But if you want to do it yourself, we have shared with you a ‘cheat-sheet’ to D-I-Y it.
I’m sure you’re asking, is this worth my time, who has time to do all of this? Well, if you want a company that stands the test of time and that equally stands out from the new, competitive companies springing up here and there in this market, I can assure you it is important
Alternatively, if you don’t have the time, find a great brand and design agency to help you with the process. You won’t regret it.
Photo Credit: Dreamstime