With all the competition in the marketplace, public perception of one’s brand has never been so important.
According to the Global Communications Report 2016, industry leaders believe that future growth in the PR industry will not only be driven by content and social media but also more traditional activities such as brand management.
Given the importance of customers’ perception and brand equity, a robust branding strategy becomes a must-have for PR businesses.
Here are four steps to optimizing your brand equity.
1.Review your brand positioning statement
Do you know what your current and potential customers think about your brand? Are you confident that your brand is positioned in the right place?
If your answer is yes to these questions, you can skip this step. If not, it is time to fix your positioning statement.
Finding the right position in the market can take longer than you think.
A positioning statement may only consist of a few well-thought-out sentences, but before you start typing, you will need to refer to some carefully collected data.
Before anything else, you need to understand a few things, namely your competitors, your audience, and your company’s current situation. Consider doing primary and/or secondary market research to capture the data you need. Media monitoring and media analysis will enable you to identify trends in your target market and uncover competitive intelligence to determine your positioning strategy.
Once you’ve gathered the necessary data, you are ready to start creating your positioning statement.
To construct a complete brand positioning statement, you should know:
- Who are the people with whom you want to build a meaningful relationship? (Target audience)
- What exactly does your product/service do? (Frame of reference/core product and industry)
- What are the key emotional and functional benefits your brand can satisfy? (Value proposition – this is also where you should differentiate your brand from your competitors.)
- What are the reasons to believe that your brand can deliver those benefits?
Did you answer all the questions above relying on the research and analysis you have previously completed? If yes, you are almost there! Take your answers, write them in a clear and concise paragraph, and there is your positioning statement.
2. Find your brand essence
If you think your brand is just your logo, your colours, your website…you’re wrong.
A brand is a living thing, and, like every living thing, it needs a heart to survive and thrive. Brand essence is the core element of a brand that represents a concise summary of the emotional and functional offerings of your service or product.
Sum up your brand essence in one or two words to communicate what sets your brand apart and what makes it special.
3. Identify your brand personality
Needless to say, corporate humanity isn’t a new trend by any means, but nevertheless, many brands today try to adopt a human identity to connect with their customers and to increase their brand equity. A human-like brand needs to have personality that clicks with the target audience.
What type of personality do you want your brand to have so that it can retain your existing customers and attract new ones? Attracting whom you want begins with deciding who you want to be.
4. Create brand identifiers
This is the last step, but certainly not the least important. Brand identifiers can be shapes, symbols, and words that function to, when seen or heard, cause the audience to think of your brand.
We now know that brands have an extremely limited time to capture potential customers’ attention, and this is where brand identifiers come into play. As human attention span keeps shrinking, identifiers are becoming perhaps the most crucial piece of your brand strategy.
Before getting started, review your research and analysis, and remember to look at which identifiers your competitors are using. Most importantly, create identifiers that will reflect your positioning statement, brand essence, and personality.
Increasing your brand equity can be challenging, but to survive in the ruthless world of the free market, branding is a necessity for businesses of all sizes. If you’ve done a good job creating your brand, growing your business and receiving the highest ROI from your marketing and advertising efforts will be that much easier.