Brands are delicate entities that require proper nurturing in order to blossom to their full potential. How do the great brands become great? Why does one franchise brand falter while the other gains enviable traction in a given region? The key difference is the development of a quality brand strategy— one that establishes a brand’s identity, creates brand consistency and nurtures customers in the brand.
Here are four important steps to building better brand equity for your company or franchise:
1. CLARITY OF BRAND IDENTITY
You can’t be everything to everyone, so narrowing those specific traits that make you unique to your target customer base is important. You might find establishing a brand identity to be more challenging than it seems on the surface. You’re not going to be able to convey everything you want to share about your product and service at once, so choosing one or two focus points can feel limiting. Still, this limitation magnifies clarity and will make for a far more recognizable brand.
2. BRAND CONSISTENCY
However large your company or franchise grows, brand consistency can make or break brand equity. Brand consistency goes far beyond having a uniform logo embellished on products, stores and digital media. Rather, brand consistency makes itself evident through store culture, quality of customer interactions, external messaging, and much more.Establishing consistency starts with designed creative elements (logos, signage, ads, printouts, etc.), but must eventually permeate into the attitudes and approach of the employees and, through brand consistency, customers.
3. DIFFERENTIATE FROM THE COMPETITION
If you work in a saturated market (e.g. frozen yogurt), this step can be especially difficult. Researching your competition and separating yourself from them in a unique way will open the door for your brand to punch through the noise. This doesn’t necessarily mean your product or service offering is dramatically different from your competitors. Instead, it could be a difference in-store experience, personality, messaging, price or delivery time (think Jimmy John’s). Whatever you decide is your primary differentiator, however natural or arbitrary, it must be accentuated in your brand strategy.
4. NURTURE YOUR CUSTOMERS BEFORE AND AFTER THE POINT OF SALE
Your customers should ideally have some brand familiarity before they reach the point of sale. Likewise, your customers shouldn’t stop interacting with your brand after entering your store. A quality brand strategy will include multiple avenues of disseminating a brand and to whom those messages will go. This could mean reaching out via social media, sending a letter, targeting via email marketing, or distributing swag at a trade show. Getting your brand in front of your potential customer base as much as possible, and as positively as possible (there is such thing as negative brand equity), will go a long way towards gaining loyal, repeat customers.
BRAND MANAGEMENT HELPS BUILD EQUITY THROUGH BRAND CONSULTING
Brand management is one of best solutions available to you for building brand equity. This method takes a holistic view of your brand and develops a strategy to refine it to its full potential. Unlike marketing agencies, which might focus on specific parts of your brand messaging (i.e. SEO, social media, blogging, etc.), brand management takes the entirety of your messaging and culture into account. This helps you set your company or franchise on a path to growth.