Building and maintaining your brand in 2021 has to be at the top of any business owners mind with everything that has happened in the last 12 months.
Since COVID-19 landed in the UK, it has changed the face of the business world forever.
For some businesses, it is about building a strong brand, for the remainder, it is about maintaining your existing brand, or building on it.
The question is, how do you build a successful brand? How do you stand out in your market? Why is your brand important? How do you maintain a successful brand?
We will look at each of these questions, but firstly, we need to understand what your brand is.
It is difficult to summarise, since your brand is non tangible.
The best way of defining what a brand is, is what thoughts or feelings come to mind when your company name is presented, or your logo is presented.
Consider one of the new brands on the scene, the David Beckham brand.
David Beckham has created a very successful brand which is based very much around merchandising and sponsorship. His wife Victoria has her own brands, which are a lot less successful, in fact she applied for government furlough support in 2020 for her fashion house.
Combined, the brand Beckham is worth just under £1 billion.
What do you think of when you think of the Beckham brand? Football? Model? Perfume?
For each of us, the thought is different, but it is creating a lot of money, even during a global pandemic.
OK, lets look at some of the points we considered earlier.
Your brand, as we discovered is about your message, and what kind of thoughts are brought to mind when people/your customers see your company name or logo.
Consider brands like Amazon (e-commence website), Esso (petrol), McDonalds (fast food), Bisto (food products), they all have successful brands.
This is not down to their websites, their TV adverts or their product. Branding is more to do with your message, your company, your products.
You need to ensure your message is clear, and it is relevant to your target audience.
For McDonalds, this is about quick tasty food for anyone. For Amazon it is about buying anything on their website cheaper than in the shops. For Bisto, it is about the best gravy made quickly.
As COVID-19 has closed most of our shops, and halted many sectors of business (weddings, exhibitions, sports, gyms etc.) now is a great time to reflect on how you can build a successful brand in 2021 and beyond.
For many business owners, your competition is going to be high. Whether you are a dog walker, a jeweller, a builder or a restaurant, competition is why your brand needs to be as strong as possible.
Standing out in your market comes back to your message. What is your marketing message, what makes you better than your competition? Why should your customers to to you rather than someone possibly cheaper, or more suited?
Again, this does not have to do with how attractive your website is, or how many adverts you have on TV, but more to do with how reliable you are in delivering what you promise.
Have you asked yourself what your message is as a business? Now is a great time to reflect on this, whether your business is parked (because of lockdown) or still operating.
Any successful business has a successful brand. They have an interesting history, and in many ways, the history is inspiring. Whether your business is new, or a hundred years old consider some of the leading brands and how they started.
If your brand is not strong, then chances are your product/services will be competing based on price alone.
How many businesses do you know that are successful and do not have a brand (other than large financial companies or investment groups)?
Maintaining a successful brand is essential if you want it to remain successful.
Contrary to popular belief, a brand does not need a figurehead (or an actual person) in order to be successful; but it does need to be active. The brand in many ways needs to be alive, to be worked on and for the brand message to be reinforced.
This is why Coca-Cola still spends millions on their marketing.