Companies are competing for recognition and awareness, let alone market share. How consumers perceive your brand will be the first and foremost impression when it comes to their buying decision.
A recent study suggests that even more important than price to consumers is the reputation - and how prices correlate to that brand reputation. "A company's viability depends more than ever on maintaining a strong reputation and presenting to customers as a trustworthy, high-value business."
Highlight the features and capabilities that the business can offer, and be able to identify the company as one that is not just innovative but trustworthy by following these branding steps:
1. Utilize Perceptual Maps
Perceptual maps show graphical depictions of where brands are, and where their competitors are, in the minds of their customers.
You can use these maps for many reasons - a big reason would be to look for holes in the map that would serve as a potential opportunity. Extending a product line or brand extension in the 'hole' would increase your brand's market share in an untapped audience.
Another purpose would be for a competitive analysis. Taking your main competitors in your market and utilizing a bar chart to show more than two dimensions.
2. Differentiate Image & Identity
Positioning your brand as an industry leader is important, but it's important not to fall into the herd mentality that often proves fatal to businesses. Taking the points of difference of your brand and turning it into a competitive advantage is beneficial to turn a cliche into profits. Focusing on what makes your brand different will break your company off of the same business cycle everyone is on. DISRUPTION IS GOOD!
3. Generate Brand Equity
Marketers should try to increase their brand equity, a tangible value of your brand derived from associations that are strong, favorable, and unique. You can create this through product shape & packaging, logos, symbols & colors, jingles & slogans, spokespeople, etc.
Concrete product attributes (40 mpg, etc.), are easy to communicate - however, they're also easy for competitors to copy. Abstract product benefits (saving money, etc.) and abstract emotional benefits (feeling good, etc.) are harder to create and communicate but are much more meaningful and effective.
4. Establish a Brand Association Network
Brand associations are informational nodes that link to the brand node in memory. When a brand name is activated, associations are triggered. Customer satisfaction with the brand is most heavily influenced by the positivity or negativity of the nearest links. These networks may be simple or complex.
There are several different approaches to your branding strategy - and a lot of variables to consider no doubt. Here are some additional resources to help you explore more information about branding: