It is never too early in the process to understand who your brand’s customers are, what motivates them and how to reach them. Doing this at the end of the product development process is usually too late. You will have developed a more unique and compelling solution if it was based on these insights earlier on in the process.
Your solution needs to deliver greater value (that is more functional, emotional, experiential or self-expressive benefits for less money or effort) than competitive offerings for it to break through and gain share. Make sure you understand what your brand’s unique value proposition is.
Customer insight will help you create a brand message that resonates with your customers, one that is unique and purchase motivating. Effectively articulating relevant differentiation is key to building a strong brand. In addition to advertising copy, this message can be translated to a pithy brand “tagline” and a brand “elevator speech” (typically 40 to 70 words) that you and your company’s employees can use when talking about your brand.
Marketing your brand and its products should not be underfunded. If you offer superior products backed by outstanding service at very good prices delivering an outstanding value but no one has ever heard of your company, brand or products, how many sales will you get? Zero. No awareness = no sales. Awareness building is perhaps the most important component of building a strong brand.
You have the most potential to save money on marketing when deciding on which media/vehicles to use to get your messages out – email, direct mail, targeted publicity, targeted advertising, specific trade shows, etc. Spending money on highly targeted media (versus less targeted or mass media) will save you quite a bit of money in reaching your target audiences. It is usually not wise to jump on a good media deal if it is not laser focused at your intended customers. Develop and follow a highly effective and efficient media plan.
After you have accomplished all of this, distribution becomes the most important key to success. The brand that is more available to its target customer has two advantages: (1) it is easier to find and purchase and (2) it has greater marketplace exposure leading to greater brand awareness.
Finally, a word on consistency. Changing the brand’s logo, tagline and messaging on a frequent basis will ensure that nothing about your brand sticks in your intended customers’ heads. Consistency and repetition build strong brands. Once you have developed a unique and compelling value proposition for your brand, repeat it again and again and again. In general, people need to hear something 7 to 10 times before it registers with them.