How essential is branding to your market capture strategy? Let me put it this way: when people want to buy basketball shoes, they think of a certain swoosh. When your three-month old niece drops a situation in her pants you look for Pampers. When people see a distinctive light blue box, there is only one jewelry company that comes to mind (and tip their proverbial hats to croissant-eating screen goddesses with dramatic beehives hairdos, a penchant for little black dresses and long pearl strands).
What is the common link?
The companies mentioned above have cleverly developed and maintained their superiority in their respective niche markets. They have ingrained their products and their brand so deeply in the collective consumer consciousness that their products and services have become synonymous with quality in these markets.
What makes a good brand: Basic Branding!
- Your brand’s message doesn’t get lost in translation: Think big. You may be supplying your products to a particular geographic region at the moment, but if you keep providing quality items, people from other places are going to want to check you out too! You can’t limit yourself to marketing strategies or branding that will alienate potential customers.
- Your brand gets the respect it deserves: It usually takes years to develop a good reputation in any industry. However, some companies have so carefully planned their brand and executed their market strategy that people easily buy into their perceived brand promise. Back it up by fulfilling your brand promise and providing excellent customer service and you’ve won yourself and your company a loyal following.
- Your customers should feel an affinity for the brand: Getting your customers to feel an emotional connection for your brand can do a lot for your product promotion and marketing strategy. When Hostess Brand Inc. declared bankruptcy and announced its imminent closure, frantic loyal customers flocked to stores to stock up on their beloved Twinkies. The effort may not have been enough to save the company but it’s a prime example of how much emotion people can invest in a product that has been a part of their cultural consciousness for as longer than they can remember.
- Your marketing strategy translates to buyer motivation: Did you know that the color of your restaurant can influence how your customer eats? Red is a robust color that promotes hunger as evidenced by its rampant use in fast food chains. Orange on the other hand, is not quite as effective. Color theory is one trick you can utilize to create a better customer experience that will translate into sales for your company. Don’t fall into the lackadaisical “anything goes” marketing strategy. Research what draws consumers into your store and what will keep them there until they find something they want bad enough to reach into their wallet and complete a transaction with you.
- Your brand inspires and cements customer attachment: There is a widely known battery brand that has an ongoing program with fire departments nationwide called “Change your clock, change your battery”. This program focuses on fire safety and asks consumers to change out the batteries in their smoke alarm, carbon monoxide alarm and clock every six months. It not only promotes community safety but is also a great way to market the products of the company. Another example is how well a certain heavy-equipment manufacturer has branded themselves to the heartland of America. They have done it so well that people who would never consider personally purchasing the equipment began clamoring for an entirely separate market devoted to selling clothing such as embroidered canvas jackets and baseball caps with the brand’s logo on it. Now, not only is the company profitting from selling the apparel they are getting free advertising every time someone wears it. People have such devotion for a brand they will literally pay to become walking advertisements!
Brands have the potential to outlive products. Keep that in mind when you start planning your market strategy. You’re selling both the company as well as any products it may have at the moment or in the future.