Importance of building a brand

By David Malherbe   –   Published in Drakenstein Gazette – Friday 9 August 2013

To be the preferred provider for each and every customer is what most entrepreneurs dream of.  But many businesses are hardly known by most of the people they would like to sell to.  So how do we move from unknown to preferred provider?  The answer lies in building a brand.

Now what is a brand or branding?  Glad you’ve asked.  To brand your product or service means to distinctively differentiate your product or service from those of your competitors. Although your product offering may be very similar to those of your competitors, with clever branding you can convince customers to buy yours instead.

To be effective a brand must be well planned and marketed. A brand comprises of different parts. First there is the brand name, for instance “Drakenstein Gazette.”  You will find that it is always printed in the same font and colours on the cover page. Secondly, this newspaper also has a slogan Read it, Live it that is always printed underneath the name.  Together it forms the Drakenstein Gazette brand.

One can also add a brand mark like the banks that each have a certain sign that always appears with the brand name. Thus a brand can be established by any combination of these. So to build a brand you use it on all advertising, letterheads, your vehicles, etc.

The first stage in building a brand is brand recognition where customers become aware of the brand and would try out the product or service.  The second stage is brand preference where a certain brand is preferred to others. But if that specific brand is not on the shelf, customers will settle for a competitor’s product.  The third stage, however, is where you want to take your brand. That is when customers insist to buy a specific brand.

But to render bad service or produce poor quality products will destroy a brand.  Only good quality will build a strong brand and it can only be achieved over time.  It takes a concerted effort and investment to build a strong brand, but without it, your will only be another ”me too.”

David Malherbe and Dewald Scholtz will discuss this topic in more detail Monday evening from 19:00 till 20:00 on Radio KC 107.7 FM in the program “You the Entrepreneur”

(David Malherbe is a business- and career consultant and lives in Wellington.  He can be contacted via his web page or at T/F 021-873 0262.)

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