Branding is a powerful tool that can transform the trajectory of any business, and small business owners in Nigeria are no exception. One thing that always makes branding a critical subject is the fact that you’re not the only one selling the product or service you transact with your market. In a monopoly kind of market, branding may not be important at all, but in a saturated market, your survival and growth are only dependent on the strength of your brand.
This short piece aims to provide you with a simplified guide to branding, especially if you’re still within one to five years of starting a business. This is because there is no one-size-fits-all approach to branding. How you would approach and measure the success of your branding in your early years as an entrant will be far different depending on when you’re now very much established in your industry.
So, fundamentally, what is branding? In simple words, people understand WHY they should buy from you and stay loyal to you.” That “WHY” is the essence of branding, and that is what we call your BRAND. It is captured in the experience you create for people, the memories you leave in their minds, the narrative you’re promoting around what you sell, and the impact you are having on the way of life of your target market.
Now, as a brilliant business owner, you’ll agree with me that not everyone will have a reason to buy from you. And you can’t control all the factors people would consider when making decisions about whom to buy from. This is why we can’t talk about branding without talking about the following things:
How you want to be seen, perceived and remembered (Identity)
- The category of people (or target market) you want to serve (Audience)
- The tangible solution you’re bringing to the market (Value proposition)
- The existing alternatives you’ll have to contend with (Competitive landscape)
1) How you want to be seen, perceived and remembered (Identity)
This is where you sit down and have a good discovery session, either with yourself or with an expert. You define the quality or kind of impression you want to create with your products, your services, or the company as a whole. You define the kinds of experiences you want to give to those who come around to have a taste of what you sell. You ponder the mindset, core values, skills, and tools that would be needed to deliver on your promise.
These are the things that become the bedrock of how you’re seen and perceived from afar, and how you’re remembered after people have had interactions with you. And on a regular basis, you’re expected to assess how your brand is perceived through customer feedback, reviews, and market research. Monitor social media conversations and engage with your audience to gauge sentiment and make adjustments as necessary. This helps you make adjustments when and where necessary.
2) The category of people you want to serve (Target Audience)
Identifying your target market is crucial for effective branding. Beyond understanding their problem, pinpointing the specific characteristics of your ideal customer is essential. Ask yourself: Who is the one with the problem your offer can solve, and who has the financial capacity to pay for it? Once you identify this individual, start profiling them to uncover their demographics, psychographics, and behaviours. See also: How to target those who must buy what you sell
Dig deeper to understand their pain points, aspirations, and preferences. Additionally, look for patterns and similarities among this core audience to broaden your target market. By understanding your audience intimately, you can tailor your branding efforts to speak directly to their needs, ensuring your messaging and positioning resonate with those who are most likely to become loyal customers.
3) The tangible solution you’re bringing to the market
Crafting a compelling value proposition is crucial to differentiating your brand in the market. Start by analyzing your target market’s pain points and desires. Break down your product or service into its core features and benefits. Highlight the unique aspects that address those pain points or fulfill specific desires effectively. Consider conducting surveys, interviews, or focus groups to gain insights into what aspects of your offering resonate most with your target audience. See also: Secrets of an irresistible and fail-proof value proposition
Once you identify these key selling points, integrate them into your messaging and marketing materials. Communicate how your solution solves their problems or fulfills their desires better than the alternatives available. By emphasizing the unique value you bring to the table, you can attract customers who see your brand as the ideal solution they’ve been searching for.
4) The existing alternatives you’ll have to contend with (Competitive landscape)
In a competitive market, understanding your competition is essential for effective branding. Research and analyze your competitors to uncover how they are perceived, what sets them apart, and what gaps exist in the market. Study their branding strategies, including their visual identity, messaging, and customer experience. Identify their strengths and weaknesses, and pinpoint opportunities for differentiation.
Armed with this knowledge, you can craft a brand that stands out from the crowd. By leveraging your unique value proposition, you can create a compelling brand story and position yourself as a viable alternative to existing options. Differentiate yourself through superior customer service, innovation, or addressing unmet needs. By positioning your brand strategically, you can carve out a distinct space in the market and attract customers who resonate with your unique offerings.
So, after setting up all these things, what are the needed step you must take to benefit from them?
Develop a consistent visual identity system that embodies what you want to be known and remembered for, sets you apart from other alternatives out there, and resonates deeply with the market you intend to serve.
Build your presence on relevant platforms where your target buyers are mostly found, and get involved in the relevant conversations going on within those platforms.
Create juicy offers and build funnels around your products and services so that interested buyers can quickly jump at what you sell with minimal risk to them.
Do whatever you can to get people to talk about your brand. You need all the reviews you can get from the early adopters who have encountered your brand and expressed some level of satisfaction.
Always seek better ways to improve your products and services. Don’t ever snooze on innovation. People only stay loyal to your brand when you keep giving them stronger reasons to do so. Yesterday’s reason may not be enough to keep them with you tomorrow.
Leverage influencers, authentic storytelling, trends, and user-generated content to amplify your marketing efforts and remain top of mind.
Stay consistent and be creative with your content creation across your platforms. Remember to always show up with a strong personality and presence that align with the way you want to be perceived.
Now, this isn’t all you need to know about branding. However, this is a very good start. Will you like to be among the first to get our rich and insightful articles just like this one? Remember to turn on the push notification or subscribe to our mailing list.