“It is not the will to win that matters… everyone has that. It is the will to prepare to win that matters,” Bear Bryant, an athlete and coach once said.
It does not come off as strange or new for three or more businesses to offer the same services or products.
That is why it is so rewarding when people can identify your products and ask for them.
However, what can you and I do to have such an effect on our clientele?
The answer is; branding, creating a unique name and image for a product in the consumers’ mind, mainly through advertising campaigns with a consistent theme.
While most small businesses leave branding for the big companies, James Abola of Akamai Global says: “it is one aspect every business ought to do,” because it will make customers delight to do business with you.
Abola believes that branding sets your business or product apart and distinguishes your products from the chuff.
Basic but core aspects of branding, Abola include:
• A good name – that fits well on the tongue and is meaningful because it tells people what your products are
• Logo for your business or product – that will identify your product from a pool of similar products. It helps for it to stand out.
• Colour – what is your dominant colour(s)? Whichever it is, stick with it on all your products.
• Design of your premise, letterhead, business card, staff outfit
• Packaging – for example, if it is soap and you picked a rectangular pack for it, it should not be square on some of your products.
• Communication, say telephone greeting used in your business such as “Thank you for calling
Marina Communications Agency, you are speaking to Mercy, how may I help you?
However, you may ask, after branding, what next? Herberts Jaluum Luuwizza, a writer, speaker and business consultant with Young Trep says, “It is time to leverage various opportunities to build your brand.” There are several opportunities to make use of like:
Do a ‘values check’
Branding is not about your logo; it is about your message - what you are communicating to the world.
“First, check in with your own values. Does the wording, look and feel of my website, social media profiles and materials match with my core values? If something is not in line, then see to it that you correct it to match with your values and the world will surely take note,” Jaluum reminds us.
Use social media
“In June 2017, Facebook had two billion active users with Uganda standing at 1.5 million active users,” Jackie Namara Rukare, a marketing and communications consultant says.
Digital and social media, she says, have changed the way poeple communicate socially and how businesses talk to customers.
“If well managed, this new media can be used to deepen the relationship a brand has with its customers,” she says, noting that when Coke ran its “Share a Coke” with personalised bottles, there was a dedicated digital and social campaign that contributed to brand building and providing an engagement platform.
The campaign was extended to include the festive and emoticons which in turn led to more sales of Coke.
Know yourself and align
“The basic yet most important part of branding is to meticulously understand who you are and therefore align all your actions and environment with your identity,” Jaluum points out.
The deeper your understanding of values, vision, and other brand attributes, the better you are able to align all parts of your life to fall in line with your brand.
You are the most crucial part of your branding strategy.
“Today, a customer has several choices and is better informed. There is pressure to ensure that your products and services are the best,” Namara says.
One way to do so is by creating a customer experience that is close to whatever the brand promises and to ensure consistent experiences across various touch points.
It does not matter how much money you put into advertising, if the customer or user experience is not right, you will surely kill your brand.
One time, Namara narrates, I saw an advert of one of the trendy salons. “I decided to try it out. I was blown away by calm nature of the staff and the services they offered.”
However, on learning about the pricing, she felt like running away but the ambience pulled her in and decided to taste the waters.
“I paid with a smile and a mental note to return. At that point, every other salon I had visited before paled in the sight of this one,” she narrates.
Leveraging various opportunities
According to Jaluum it is important that you create events that appeal to people that your brand is trying to reach.
For instance, he says, if your brand improves leadership among companies, then create an event that brings together high profile executives for a discussion pertaining to an urgent leadership topic.
Use great photos
Most small businesses are ‘personal brands’ meaning you are the face of the brand.
The days of boring head shots are no more for most coaches, consultants and service providers.
Use personal photos that reflect your personality and style to make your website and brand stand out from the crowd.
You will attract your ideal clients and get your message across with less effort.
There is a lot to help your brand stand out; look out for the opportunities that match your brand and intended clientele and exploit them.