Branding is essential for building a success business. What is branding? Branding has a few definitions; a unique offer, a unique promise of value, a reason to choose and others.
In his book Branding Your Business, James Hammond wrote “A brand is the total sensory experience a customer has with your company and its product or service.” With this definition, customers make the call on branding, “… a brand isn’t even something that you or your business owns!” James published this book in 2008. He is truly a visionary.
James’ view was shared by Sean Moffitt and Mike Dover in their book “Wiki Brands”, published in 2011. They believed Wikibrand is the future brand and the purpose of branding is interacting with your customers. It’s about social business and customers participate in the branding.
The 21st century is about “stay in touch” communication. You might have noticed that Tesla, a premium electric car, created a brand that their enthusiastic online followers are promoting. Tesla wisely tapped into social media to interact with their target market. Unmetric, the social media competitive intelligence company, released its Auto Social Speedway Report in November, 2013. Itreported that “Tesla bucks established car company social media and photo strategies to dominate on Twitter on Facebook.”
Regardless of the different definitions and approaches of branding, people seem to agree with the benefits that branding brings. These benefits include but are not limited to increased sales, stronger customer loyalty, and enhanced influence of business. Brand engagement is one of the benefits for Wikibranding since it is a catalyst for businesses to facilitate dialogue with their customers through openness and transparency. Telsa is a good example of demonstrating brand engagement that turns its customers into their brand advocates.
How to build a successful 21st century brand?
1. Build a brand that is transparent and authentic.
Brand your business with who you are and what you do. Don’t pretend to be who you are not, and don’t oversell. Your target market is watching your brand’s consistency and accuracy. Customers will report their satisfaction or dissatisfaction online in real time.
The waiting lines in front of Starbucks coffee shops illustrate the company’s mission “to inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.” The strong brand is bringing in loyal customers.
2. Your product or service should uniquely meet the needs of your target market.
If your product or service is not unique, you are selling commodity and will be engaged price-war.
Currently the subscription price wars between T-Mobile, AT&T and Verizon show that none of the big telecoms came up with their unique offer to successfully differentiate themselves from their competitors. Therefore, they cut prices to be competitive.
3. Innovative product or service usually generate increasing social conversations.
Telsa has engaged its customers with their innovation – a premium electric car. The innovation is so exciting that created a lot of online conversations. When brand engagement is in place, customers become your advocates.
4. Design a brand that triggers customer’s emotions and thus leads to the desire of ownership.
Branding is about relating to your customers’ emotions. Many buying decisions are based on emotional needs. Nike+, for example, provokes customers to feel “I need to wear that”.
Branding is essential for a business to be successful. In this digital world, branding can reach a mass market. Brand engagement can be very rewarding when customers are inspired by your product and services. The art of marketing is largely brand building. So the question is – what is your brand?