September 24, 2018  
 
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Characteristics of Branding

Written by Anna Lempereur for Gaebler Ventures

You may wonder what it takes to build a great brand. It all starts with first establishing friendships, dependability, awareness and a sense of belonging.

Creating a strong brand can help an entrepreneur turn a good business into a great business.
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According to BusinessWeek, small business owners need to establish a strong foundation in four key areas in order to create an effective brand.

1. Belonging

Brands must be aware of their customers' needs and desires. The friendship cannot be bought; rather, it comes naturally, and consumers tend to be drawn to a specific brand without much thought. Such a connection depends on a consumer's personality, and it cannot be forced.

Since it is often difficult to change consumer preference, you must market your brand in a way that seems to meet their desires. You can learn essential personal information simply by asking what they want in a specific brand. Use it to your advantage. Even if you cannot provide the consumer with exactly what they are looking for, try to meet their needs as close as possible. Once that consumer's needs are met, they will begin to feel that sense of belonging with your brand.

2. Friendship

Familiarity is established between the brand and the consumers. This is more like a ritual, say, grabbing an iced coffee from Dunkin' Donuts every morning. Such consumers are those who say: "I cannot survive my morning without a coffee run to Dunkin' Donuts!" They are comfortable with their habitual dose of Dunkin' Donuts, and have no reason to go elsewhere. Yet like belonging, friendship cannot be forced.

Friendship develops over time, so the best way to gain friendships with your consumers is to maintain the quality of your brand. All consumers are looking for the best quality possible. If they like your coffee, they will likely be repeat customers. If you do not have consistently high customer service standards, however, customers may not be too eager to return the next time. Be sure not to sell your brand short. You want to create customer loyalty.

Building a relationship does not happen overnight, though; the same goes for building your brand. Although brand friendships are not as deep and emotional as real-life relationships, they do share the similarity of taking plenty of time and effort to build. Both personal relationships and brand friendships encourage a sense of identification and unity.

There are many different brands out there that have well-established friendships with their customers, and range from phone services (AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile), to fashion (Chanel, Christian Dior, Dolce & Gabbana.) These are great models for customer service.

3. Awareness

It is important to maintain brand attentiveness. You should know where your brand stands in the marketplace, and how easy customers can identify it. The last thing you want is for your customers to forget your brand.

Creating an effective slogan and logo will certainly help maintain consumer awareness. Always be consistent in your messaging, however. With so many brands out there, you don't want to confuse the very person you want to attract. Work with your original ideas to set yourself apart from the competition.

4. Dependability

It takes a lot of time for a brand to establish itself dependable. To help promote consumer faith in your brand, never give up on your target audience. Make sure to compromise; don't leave anything on bad terms. The one customer that leaves angry could prove to be your downfall. It is very likely that person will tell as many people as possible about your brand's untrustworthiness. Negative word-of-mouth can be very damaging. If customers feel satisfied, they will trust and promote your brand for you. Take advantage of that opportunity.

Anna Lempereur is a freelance writer interested in writing about small business. She is currently a Journalism major at the University of Albany in New York.


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