In a business, it’s your brand that distinguishes you from other similar products or services and your competitors. To stay ahead it is important to develop and adhere to a brand management strategy. This will reassure your consumers, suppliers and everybody else who does business with you. As a business, you cannot overlook brand management.According to Kenyan market research, 72 per cent of the consumers feel that the brand or the reputation of a company influences their buying decisions. It was also found that 80 per cent of the employees were willing to work for less pay with a company that had an excellent reputation while another 89 per cent said that a brand name or reputation acted as a tie-breaker between similar products. You could be trying to influence decision makers or attract and retain top talent, you’ll want to consider the following tips on managing your company’s brand.

Brand marketing involves some of the following factors: Public relations and publicity
  • Trade shows
  • Phone directories
  • Online promotion (website, blog, social media such as Twitter and Facebook, advertising, etc.)
  • Broadcast media (television, radio)
  • Print media (newspapers, magazines, specialty publications)
  • Print displays and direct mail (brochures, fliers, signage, etc)
  • Professional assistance (consultants, designers, agencies, etc)

Do not go by what others do or say. Choose and stick to a platform or media mix that best suits your needs and reaches out to your intended target audience. Another aspect that is often overlooked by business owners is to think of ways to maximize the brand communication activities that they use. For example, if you speak at a conference, think of how you can use social media to publicize that event, get feedback on the content your audience would like to hear, and use that content to improve your branding strategy after the live event. You can opt for video clips in this instance.

[sws_blockquote_endquote align=”left” quotestyle=”style02″]What happens usually is that we go to an event, deliver the speech, hand out a few business cards and cross our fingers hoping that this will materialize into something more.[/sws_blockquote_endquote]

Utilizing Social Media

Social media shares a common element with brand management – the conversation. As one of the branding strategies, social media plays an important role in engaging your customers/ clients in your business by updating posts, replying to messages or queries from them. Monitoring the social media is very important to use it effectively. Social media has cut short the time a company needs to respond to complaints or accusations drastically. Companies must be ready to do damage control within hours instead of days.

Create an online identity

It is advisable for a company to have their official website that serves as a consulting site, a portfolio with proof-of-performance content and blogs from the company top guys packed in with the relevant key words. It is ideal if the website is powered by Blogger or WordPress for easy manageability. Make sure that the domain name includes the name of the business. A strong domain name and posting new blogs consistently help the website rank high in search engine results.

Search engine optimization

Search engine optimization strategies require continuous effort. It’s important to keep the information flowing and to come up with key search words that can lead the consumers to the brand. Like traditional advertising media, it’s all about creating an awareness.

Keep a High Profile

Visibility is the bottom line. A brand must be visible both during good and bad times. The foxhole mentality of waiting out economic downturns are bound to put you behind your competitors. Trying economic times provide opportunities to use your creativity and explore alternate means of generating revenue.

A few tips to promote your brand name during trying times
  • Network with your local business and professional associates. You never know when an acquaintance or colleague will pass on a lead to you
  • Negotiate with companies for exposure. For example, co-exhibiting at an expo or negotiate trading your service for ad space
  • Encourage your staff to become active in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities. You never know where your next lead might come from
  • Hold seminars for free or for minimal fees. Share knowledge and use the time and your experience to promote your company as an industry leader
  • Establish brand consistency

Irrespective of the means, make sure that your brand gets maximum exposure and mileage on social media networks. This will not only cut costs, but it will also eliminate any confusion regarding how your brand is perceived in the marketplace.

Check if the images and positioning strategy of your competitors is better than yours.

Check to see if your brand stands out or if you all blend in, be it in terms of colours, slogans or offers.

If the answer to both the above scenarios is a yes, then you know it’s time to re-evaluate your strategy.

It is highly recommended that you do a same-different analysis during the initial personal brand discovery phase and then do quarterly or biannual checks of your competitors.

[sws_blockquote_endquote align=”left” quotestyle=”style02″]But be aware that too much concern about what the competition is up to is counter productive.[/sws_blockquote_endquote]

You should be prepared to develop, monitor and constantly push your brand and the message in the marketplace. Your message should be simple and consistent in every marketing platform you choose to promote it. Ensure that when people think of your brand, their perception of it should be in line with your own perceptions for the brand and company.

Entrepreneurial Learning

Brand doesn’t gain populatity overnight. Don’t over expect from what you are putting in. Slow and steady growth will additional efforts will lead to a fruitful result. Your logo should descirbe your brand. A slow process in the start helps you in the long run.

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