How to Choose a Branding Strategy That Increases Your Company’s Value
This is a guest article written by Jock Purtle, the founder of Digital Exits, an online brokerage service that specializes in the buying/selling and appraisal of online businesses. Choosing the right branding strategy not only gives your company a tremendous competitive edge, it also serves to increase the value of your business over time. With so much noise out there, it’s very hard to win over customers’ loyalty. People receive better offers every day, and it’s a real challenge to convince them to stay with you. By investing in a branding strategy, you’re giving your company a chance at keeping people around. When consumers recognize your business is about something they can trust or believe in, you’re better positioned to earn their loyalty. But strong branding has benefits that extend far beyond that... For example, stronger brands make your business more valuable. And companies with well-known, clearly-defined brands tend to do better than those without; by having one, you can turn your company into a valuable commodity people will want. Yet to do this - and to leverage all that branding can do for your company - you need to have the right strategy in place. In this article, we'll cover some tips to help you choose a brand strategy that both raises awareness and increase your company value over time.
Why Care About Business Value?
Before going too far, let’s take a moment to go over why business value is so important. For some owners, it might be significant because they’re looking to sell their business and move on to another project. If this is the case, the first thing a business broker will do when considering taking on your business is a valuation. The more valuable your company, the more likely you are to get better offers, increasing the payday when you do sell. But even if you aren’t planning to sell, focusing on business value is a smart move. After all, a valuable business is a good business to own. When you look at what goes into to determining business value, you can see why. Valuable businesses have healthy sales and revenue projections; they have loyal and engaged customers; they have efficient processes; they are organized to not be overly dependent on the owner. Sounds pretty good, right? With that covered, let's take a look at what makes for a successful branding strategy.
Make Sure It Resonates
Good branding works when it reaches customers in multiple ways. And also, when it’s aligned with where people are in their journey. The way you communicate with people will be different when they are at the beginning of their journey as compared to when they’re nearing a decision. Your messages need to support the brand image you are aiming for, but they must also address what people are expecting from you at any given point in their journey. Here’s an example of a Customer Journey map from Effective UI: Surveys and focus groups will help you confirm any assumptions you make. And spending some time to describe your Ideal Customer is another great way to help figure out what your audience wants. Ultimately, the point of all this is to try and distill your target audience’s values. Wherever there is common ground is a good place to look for a branding approach that will really resonate with your customers. Yet making sure your messages resonate has as much to do with what you’re saying as how. Less is more, and the clearer you can be, the better chance you will have of getting through to people. Think of the world’s most famous brands. They are able to transmit in a matter of moments exactly what they are. For example, if we think of “Just Do It,” we immediately make associations derived from the intersection of our values and Nike’s. Its simplicity helps make it more powerful. Make Sure It’s Authentic
For your branding efforts to be successful, and for them to help you increase the value of your business, you need to be build brand authenticity. This essentially means “practicing what you preach.” Saying you’re something you’re not will damage your reputation with consumers, and it will hurt any chance you have of earning their trust and loyalty. Making sure you’re authentic requires two things. First, you must be clear about what you are. Spend some time writing out your company’s core values, mission statement and vision. And you’ll also want to come up with an effective definition of your company culture. This will help you determine your own values, making it much easier to come up with ways to connect with your target audience. Second, you want to make sure you’re crafting an image you can maintain. If you purport yourself a champion of sustainability, you better be sure you can make all the necessary changes in the way you do business that will make you so that you can be a model of sustainability. All of this comes down to you choosing the right brand personality. This is the humanized aspect of your brand; it’s how it would act if it were an actual person. The best brand personalities represent the way the company actually is. To get to this point, you need to crystallize who you are as a company and who you want to be. This will help make the best branding strategy more apparent. Make Sure It’s Consistent
To build a brand that can win over customer loyalty and have a meaningful impact on the success and value of your business, you need to be consistent across all channels. So, whether you’re interacting with someone for the first time, or whether you’re dealing with a loyal consumer of your products and information, your messages need to produce the same result. Achieving this means going back to the drawing board a bit. Start looking at all the different outlets you use to reach customers, such as social media, your website, traditional media, signage, etc. Everything you present to your target audience needs to convey something about your brand, so look at these forms of communication and ask what message they are sending. If something is off-message, you’ll need to redo it to make sure it’s communicating what you want people to hear. This is where it’s helpful to sit down and write out a few words that describe your brand. For example, if your company develops and sells a phone App, your three words could be: innovative, convenient, modern. These are intentionally broad. You want to give yourself some wiggle room. But you need to make sure one or more of these concepts is being conveyed at every touchpoint. If not, customers will start to fill in the gaps with their own perceptions, fracturing the continuity of your brand and making it less impactful.
Make Your Branding Work for You
A well-planned and executed branding strategy can transform your business. It can turn you from a no-name underdog to a big-time player, transforming you into a household name people think about even when they’re doing something else. Most importantly, that same brand strategy will help to build loyalty and attract new customers, improving the profitability of your business and boosting its value in the long-run.About the author: Jock is the founder of Digital Exits, an online brokerage service that facilitates the process of appraising, buying, and selling online businesses. He has been involved with digital entrepreneurship his entire career, but only recently started working to help others buy and sell internet companies. He writes frequently about his experience to help others turn their businesses into successes and reap the rewards entrepreneurship can bring.
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