• Branding Is Not an Afterthought

    In today’s business world, the term “branding” is often used loosely, as though it is a simplistic task that is quickly and easily done. Quickly delete this notion from your conscience. It is wrong and it always leads to poor branding. Successful branding of a product or business takes painstaking attention to detail and a consistent message.

    Some of the most popular bands are household names because they tailor their products and services specifically to the needs of their customers. In doing so, a brand experience is created. One of the best examples of this trend is Apple. At every Apple retail store, customers walk in the door with the assurance that their needs will be met and their problems will be solved in an efficient way. Every product is packaged and presented in a way that indicates sleekness, efficiency, and quality. All of these elements working together create a seamless experience that customers remember and are willing to pay for.

    In order to create this experience, there are a host of details that must be considered. The first is visual appeal. Everything that Apple produces has a clean, futuristic look. Products such as the iPhone and the Mac have a minimalist design that offers convenience to the user. Apple’s packaging has a small, crisp, design that comes off as advanced and creative. In addition to visual appeal, Apple puts concentrated effort into the in-store experience. The entire store is interactive; customers have an opportunity to use products that they are interested in purchasing. Staff members are trained to engage in specific actions that enhance customer service. Every part of the store is carefully planned with the customer in mind.

    So, how can you build your brand into an industry staple? The first step is delivering quality products and services, and doing it consistently. Good products are self-selling because customers value product lines that are consistently effective. Consistency in image is also crucial. Your business should maintain its look across mediums. For example, Apple’s website is just as sleek and user-friendly as its retail stores. Its phone technicians are just as competent as its genius bar experts. Hence, the idea that all aspects of your business must be matched in quality.

    The second component of branding is detail. Every facet of your business must come back to a central theme or message. What do you want to say about your company? The key to branding is aligning your business with a specific idea, and reinforcing the connection in everything that your company does. Apple is associated with innovation, genius, and advancement. Everything associated with Apple gives an impression of those things. From the gray and white design of its stores, to the genius bar, Apple says, “We are the standard of technology and innovation.” Once you are clear about the message you want to send, your goal is to push that message at every opportunity. Combined with quality products, a strong, consistent message will create a customer experience that is unique and sets your brand apart from the competition. Now go back to your marketing team and apologize for the low budget and rushing their meetings—branding is not an afterthought.

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