Creating a brand image is an essential element of marketing communications. Dennis Zink and Fred Dunayer are joined by Steve Smith of Consonant Custom Media to discuss best practices and policies in the creation of a brand identity.
Published: Monday, March 14, 2016
Small-business owners can copy the thinking and strategies of successful high-tech branding gorillas such as Apple, Google, Facebook and Samsung.
Yes, small-business budgets are much, much smaller, but there is no reason for small-business owners not to follow the way the giants think.
Are there differences in high-tech branding and branding your products and services? Yes and no.
Very few companies can polish and display their wares the way Apple has with its iPhone, iPad, iTunes and iPod products. But you don’t need Apple-like perfection. Constant small improvements will help your business shine.
Some of the elements for you to emulate in your business are creative design, effective digital strategy and a great user experience. If users develop an emotional attachment to the product, so much the better.
Does your business, products or services have brand loyalty?
Some things to consider:
■ Know your market segment(s). Know your target market, its size and how to reach it.
Research what makes the target buy your product versus your competitor’s. How important are variables such as size, shape, color, ease-of-use, price, etc.
Metrics and analytics should be readily discoverable. You need to be able to measure who is buying and know why they are buying. Use A/B testing (change one variable to force a preference choice) to constantly refine and improve your product or service.
■ Emphasize differentiators. Know and explain why your product is different and better than the competition.
■ Set goals. Have specific, achievable, timely goals and track the progress, successes and failures.
■ Have a consistent message. Everything from your logo on your business cards, advertising, website, emails, blogs, etc. should contain messaging that is consistent and is displayed as frequently as your budget allows.
■ Make design creative. Use effective sensory solutions, including visuals such as your logo, tag line or slogan to be remembered. Positively position your products in the mind of your customers. Influence product purchasing and create brand loyalty with your marketing.
Carry your theme with packaging, advertising and throughout your digital strategy.
■ Develop a digital strategy.
For your company to stay relevant, your digital strategy should align all communications with your business objectives.
Understand your positioning and competitive rank within your market segmentation. Focus on flawless execution with constant refinement and improvement. Your digital strategy combines components such as Search Engine Optimization (SEO), mobile, e-commerce, email marketing, analytics and social media.
■ Provide a great user experience. Understand your customers’ needs and wants, and how they are segmented. Determine how to differentiate your products to appeal to and succeed in getting business from your target segments. Think of Disney, Apple and Zappos and how they create a great ‘user experience.’
Nielsen survey results
Nielsen, a leading global provider of information, polled 28,000 online consumers.
Ninety-two percent of consumer world-wide trust “earned” (non-paid) media. This includes recommendations from friends and family, and word-of-mouth, above all other forms of advertising. The second most trusted form of advertising is online consumer reviews. Seventy percent say they trust this platform. Nearly half (47 percent) of consumers say they trust paid television, magazine and newspaper ads. Declines of more than 20 percent, however, were attributed to these media segments in a recent three-year period.
Television has unmatched reach and isn’t going away; however, 58 percent of online consumers trust “owned media,” such as messages on company websites, and 50 percent find credible content in emails they consented to receive.
Thirty-six percent of global online consumers report trust in online video ads, and 33 percent believe messages in online banner ads. Ads viewed in search engine results are trusted by 40 percent of global respondents in Nielsen’s survey. Sponsored ads on social networking sites were deemed credible by 36 percent of global respondents.
“The growth in trust for online search-and-display ads over the past four years should give marketers increased confidence in putting more of their ad dollars into this medium,” said Nielsen’s Randall Beard. “Many companies are already increasing their paid advertising activity on social networking sites, in part due to the high level of trust consumers place in friends’ online recommendations and opinions.
“Brands should be watching this emerging ad channel closely as it continues to grow. In order to boost advertising ROI, marketers need to make sure an ad’s content and message is relevant to the consumer who sees it. While we expect to see high relevance levels in ads where the consumer is actively seeking information, such as on a brand’s own website or solicited emails, Nielsen’s survey shows that there is still much potential for marketers looking to reach the right audience through advertiser-driven messages.”