The key to building brand equity is establishing a strong brand identity and communicating it consistently over time. Reinforcing and strengthening a brand can be accomplished in several ways.
A company’s brand is much more than a logo or a tagline. Logos and taglines are important aspects in making a company easy to remember and recognize, such as the golden arches of McDonald’s and its slogan, “I’m lovin’ it.” However, as a customer, you know that your buying power is swayed by more than an appealing logo and catchy jingle. Instead, it is McDonald’s personality, customer service and product quality that has positioned McDonald’s as a market leader in the fast food industry, as well as garnered the company brand equity with customers.
The key to building brand equity is establishing a strong brand identity and communicating it consistently over time. Reinforcing and strengthening a brand can be accomplished in several ways:
It’s all about quality.
One of the first steps in successfully establishing a brand is to provide customers with a high-quality product or service. High-quality brands acquire a larger market share and achieve higher profitability than low-quality brands. Customers’ confidence in your brand should reflect your own. The quality should also be kept consistent. Any flaws or mistakes must be immediately addressed to prevent customers from adopting a negative perception of your brand.
Establish a clear and unique position.
Determine where you want your company to stand among competitors. The strongest and most successful brands have a distinct position in the marketplace. A brand position can be achieved by several means, including product superiority, added features, experience, service quality, innovation, product warranties, guarantees, packaging, brand name, image, service promises and many others. Combining many of these elements is instrumental in distinguishing a brand from its competition.
Build a strong foundation.
Before your brand can branch out, the entire company must understand the brand’s values and positioning. Management should ensure that staff members are trained on how to provide quality service and communicate the company’s mission and services or products effectively.
Spread the word.
Communication plays a vital role in developing a thriving brand. There are many ways to generate awareness of your brand, including newsletters, direct mailings, print ad campaigns, public relations and marketing campaigns, and Web sites. Research has shown that using multiple tactics to touch your customer is the most effective way to develop your brand equity. Additionally, using repetitive messaging will strengthen your brand by increasing the odds of familiarity within the target market.
Practice makes perfect.
Constant use of a brand reinforces brand equity and increases its awareness among key audiences. A brand that is applied to every level of service, from receptionist to CEO, will effectively establish familiarity with a company’s offerings. Have a consistent message that customers and prospects receive about your company.
Plan for the future.
A company that does not completely invest in its brand cannot expect to reap benefits from its use. A brand must be incorporated into long-range company initiatives to successfully build awareness, communicate the brand’s message and create customer loyalty.
The entire company must support the brand in every facet of its operation. Over time this commitment will allow the business to receive the benefits of brand equity—devoted, long-term customers and vast market share.