62% customers prefer to buy products from trusted brands than to shift to a new.
If you target to be the leader in your sector, be prepared to take on responsibility for your actions towards the customer. Your attitude will reflect on your leadership.
Your brand is your biggest asset, do not let anybody destroy it. Embrace, protect it to instill confidence in the buyer. Creators are the leaders. Have courage in your convictions. Keep up your brand legacy. Your generations will be proud of you.
If you were your own customer, would you be inspired to do business with you? This is the most important question you must answer when you think about your brand and how to take it to the next level. It’s the way your customers perceive you, first and last moment of truth, soul of your business.
You started from scratch, want to make your business thriving, best in market. Overtime, with new staff, rapid changing technology, customer preferences, growing competition, your brand identity may go offtrack, lose its way, leading to loss of customer loyalty. Conducting Brand Audit is the most important thing you should do, in-depth market research with customers and in-house staff, UX testing, SEO audits and business strategy evaluation.
Clear Messaging: People should know what your brand is and how it can change their lives.
Brand Identity: Graphics, logo, font, size, layout, color, theme etc represent soul of the product. Design your brand manual.
Consistency: Marketing materials, social media voice should be consistent across all platforms.
Relevant Tagline: Should clearly denote brand’s core strengths.
Communication: Should force the buyer to choose your product over competition.
Assess how your brand performs on these parameters, improve one-by-one. Benefits are far reaching than the effort.
Learning how your brand is perceived by your prospects can guide you in creating your marketing, business growth plan.
A brand is way how your customers recognize your company, what your organization is known for. It is what you promise and also how you deliver, a tool to excel in business, to create customer loyalty, to stand out from the crowd, to get customers to remember you, to have staff well worked towards the same goal, to create value that motivates customers to pay premium price, to make it tougher for your competitors to copy you, to generate more positive word of mouth.
Be Unique – To be unique an organization should be a leader than a follower in the industry. Look and act differently from your competitors. Offer unique selling points that no one else offers.
Be engaging – Have a message that motivates action and then act upon that dialogue. Involve the things that are important to your customers. Create an interesting brand story.
Be consistent – Assure that all communicate with the unified voices. What you promise is delivered by your organization. A simple integrated idea is working in every individual and every process.
Brands can influence its owner’s assets and earnings, assessment by investors and the share value in stock market. Great brands may have higher intangible value than the physical assets. Brands are also valued by the knowhow, technology, resources, agreement, patents, distribution, widespread reach or global appeal.
Hundreds of long established brands worldwide have disappeared from market, due to their spectacular betrayal of trust with their consumers.
With development, many brands are finding it difficult to please the most discriminating customers. The brand owners have to continuously find ways and means for rebranding, innovations at all stages, to keep the consumer’s commitment, enthusiasm and experience.
In service industry, apart from its promises and delivery, most important factor is, the employees, at all stages, to provide distinctive and memorable experience. Continuous staff training plays a very important role in this category’s brand management. Satisfied, energetic, excited employees support brand commitment to the customers. Employee’s business and social skills, their relationship building, helps to sustain the loyalty and engagement.
It is important for brand owners to; a) protect their brands by registering the trademarks, in all the countries where they want to launch. b) respect, recognize and honor all the stake holders, whoever they are. c) recognize the brand as the single, most important investment, and not a cost. Build your brand, your most important financial asset, understand and utilize its full potential.
Brands are known for their role in creating an indelible impression, intrinsically striking power with the consumer.
16th century and before, branding was a sign of burning the livestock skin with heated iron, for identification among cattle farmers and traders. Branding was being done by thumbprint or symbol, on wet clay, for the potter’s trademark identity.
In 17th and 18th century, logos were embossed or printed upon fine porcelain, furniture, tapestries, gold and silver objects, to indicate their origin or quality. ‘Red triangle’ was the first known trademark registration in 1876 in UK.
In 19th century, branding was being done for several objects; appliances, instruments, machines, beverages, food products, toiletries, insurance services, photography, FMCGs, tourism, all kinds of products and services. Among first branding agencies known were JWT, NW Ayer.
With introduction of mass communication, improved transportation, telecom, broadcasting systems, internet etc, power of brands was controlling the world economies.
A brand become distinct by its name, type face or font, graphics, visual distinctiveness, color (s), symbol, numbers, signature, shape, packaging, smell, advertising jingles, tagline or slogan. All these elements should maintain consistency, combination of harmony. But most important factor remains, is the name. With time, its possible to change everything but the name continues constant, like the northern star ‘Caesar’.
Only under extreme, rare situations, a brand name can be changed. In some countries language, a name can mean donkey, stupid or an abuse, therefore the name should change, whereas all other features should remain same. Name can also be changed, if ownership changes or collaborations done.
A brand symbolizes it’s owner’s promise to fulfill its customer’s expectations, whatever features added or deleted to its subtitles.
If your buyer does not perceive your brand value, whatever you have done to build it, is a waste. All strong brands should be visibly different, to attract buyers at the display
shelf, engage them, forcing to pick, feel, experience and buy.
All humans are attracted, influenced, by beauty and elegance. Among the stimulants, touch, hear, taste, smell and sight, most important is viewing. That is why visually attractive websites draw more viewers, to engage. Content, though equally important, comes later.
Manage your brand like your other physical assets, carefully selecting the ideas, feelings, to enable it inspire the buyers. You must decode your branding design as a concept and tool to achieve your brand purpose, perspective, balance, positioning, protocol and the property.
All consumers have a habit of doing things repeatedly, subconsciously or consciously, resulting in their taste, preference, habits, behavior and personality, as if they are building their property. This ultimately leads to be recognized as their identity and equity. The essence of these thus, becomes its proprietary.
Effective branding strategy is to decide to underplay, phase-out its weak property and to build a strong one. You must occasionally do brand mapping, to clearly sell out what your brand should or shouldn’t do, to enhance and interpret its property.
Everything in world can be branded; sludge drifts, stone, river, monument, forest, city or country. Then why not the person? By self branding a person can get better recognisation, image, impression and value to help him in career or business. But he has to do consistent effort to package himself and do the required marketing.
Personal branding is a continuous process to maintain perception in minds and hearts of target audience. Film stars endorse only the brands associated with their image. Similarly TV news readers, builders, doctors, architects or lawyers are known for recall of a particular feature. Donald Trump used his name with his buildings and real estate. In India cricket and film celebrities use their image to enhance value of real estate.
Personal branding is self positioning of an individual to benefit him or his organization. Due to growth of internet, identity of an individual can be created online which may be true or false, as most viewers or readers may not know the real person. Celebrities, politicians, personal coaches, gym instructors, food bloggers, fashion critics use social media presence, likes, sharing, tagging, fan following to gain popularity and revenue. Best example of personal branding success is Narendra Modi and the worst, Rahul Gandhi.
Your brand is the way society or social media perceives you. In digital age personal branding is more important than ever before, as its authenticity can be verified by Google search. Name website helps. Every updated status, post, tweet, connections, school, college, alumni activities, colleagues, friends, employers, job position, everything contributes to your brand
Consistency of crafting and shaping supports the person. Like products or services, people too have USP. Skills, talents, attributes, strengths builds your brand in person, on paper (your profile) or online. This process develops your mark. Video CV can do it fast. Corporate then seek and pay you for your knowledge, reputation and expertise.
Personal branding can be described as the links to your value preposition, strong message by which your target audience differentiate and audits your value, personal attributes and passions. You should do your introspection to isolate and elevate yourself among your peers by clearly communication your specialty.
Personal branding therefore is ; a) clear communication of unique promises of the value you offer b) revolution of the method by which you manage your business or career c) identifying what makes you unique, relevant, compelling d) your capability in using your image to meet your goals. Benefits of personal branding are better resilience, wealth creation, self respect, control, power, differentiation, visibility, clarity.
After several years of experience in franchising, I strongly believe that only the people with right expectations, balance minds, temperaments and high ambitions should enter into this business.
Franchising requires spare money to invest, besides very strong motivation. It does not come packaged in a secured box. One has to struggle daily, do everything right, to explore and engage more customers, increase business volumes and save on expenditure wherever possible.
A franchisor should choose his partners very, very carefully, to strengthen his network, to archive long term goals. The contract always favors the franchisor, and why not, its his vision and years of labor which creates his brand and invites investors to buy in his business. But the terms should be simple, straight forward, transparent, win-win for both. After all the investor is contributing his hard earned money and trust in a new business. When contract is signed it becomes 100% responsibility of franchisor to ensure that his partner becomes expert in all intricacies of the business systems and procedures for his fast ROI.
Franchisor must discourage those he does not find with right skills or temperament and should not look for financial strength only. In franchising there is no place for false ego or pride. This is a system where everyone from top guy to the frontline sales person, should be courteous, humble and strictly follow the company norms.
The definition: ‘commercial transaction in which a buyer intends to consume the good or service for personal, family or household use.’
Oxford dictionary : ‘The sale of goods to the public in relatively small quantities for use or consumption rather than for resale’.
Retailing involves selling of products and services to end users at homes, work places, for personal or group usage. All types of markets, shops, malls, departmental stores, kiosks, vending machines, tele marketing companies, mail order catalogs, door to door sellers, fairs, cooperatives, insurance companies, post offices, banks, spas, physicians, courier companies, portals, come in this category. Retailers are the most important link for delivery of goods from manufacturer to distributor to consumer, through supply chain.
Retailers have the responsibility of explaining the features and advantages of products or services to the customer. They are required to have complete knowledge of products, prices, merchandising, display, competition, storage, packaging, billing and above all, their customers. They are a community who know their market and the psychology of their buyers very well. They may not be technically qualified or highly educated, but they have the expertise of many years in dealing directly with the customer.
World’s largest retail market is in USA, employing 30% manpower, directly or indirectly. Worldwide, retail attracts 11% of all new jobs, more than manufacturing or any other sector.
Walmart & Mc Donald are among the top companies which have revolutionized the way people shop or eat. These 2 companies alone have contributed a lot in making USA, a super power. According to Warren Buffet, retailing has helped maximum in financial well being of American people.
Though online buying is growing with unprecedented or unexpected speed worldwide due to convenience of shopping, physical (brick and mortar) stores are unavoidable because it is there only, where one can touch, feel, taste, compare and experience a product or service, before residing to buy. This also involves fun and excitement therefore, is called as ‘retail therapy’ which is not possible in online shopping.
Retailing has 2 important terms, market and goods or services. Detailed explanation of retailing should be: ‘transaction of goods or services between seller and customer as single unit or small quantity to meet the needs of an individual or his family or colleagues, for direct consumption’.