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"The Art of Finding Winning Products"
For entrepreneurs and solopreneurs, there is nothing more important than brand image. You'll probably hear a lot of talk surrounding branding when you first enter the realm of entrepreneurship, and with good reason.
Your brand image is often the difference between success and failure.
But what exactly does brand image mean? Why is it important? And how do you develop it?
Before considering your brand image, you first have to ask yourself, "what is my brand?"
Your brand is the way you stand out from the competition. There is no truly niche market in the modern world, meaning it is nearly impossible to start a business that is 100% unique and has no crossover with others.
Your brand is how you ensure that your audience notices you before your competition and that you stand out and are memorable.
So that's your brand. Now, what your brand needs is an image, the way that your prospective customers will see you.
In simple terms, brand image is what it says on the tin, the idea of your brand. However, it goes much deeper than that.
Brand image is a pretty all-encompassing term — it relates to your reputation, how your design and marketing is perceived, and whether you are (or will be if you're a new brand) trusted by your potential customer base.
Brand image covers everything from your brand's name and logo to how you communicate with customers and how users review your services online, and much more.
Brand image is of the utmost importance because the better your brand image, the more likely people will use your company. The more customers you entice, the more business you generate, and the better things will go. It's that simple.
While we mentioned your company's name and logo above, those factors fall under brand identity, which is a vital subsection of brand image. Brand identity is the work you do to ensure your audience perceives you in a positive way.
In a nutshell, brand identity is all the parts of brand image that are entirely under your control. Brand identity covers the following: Your company's name, logo, colour scheme, website design, and the tone of your copywriting. If you want to establish a strong brand image, having a solid grasp of your brand identity is a vital first step.
Having a brand identity is lovely, but it isn't enough. You want to make sure your people are noticing, and more importantly, remembering your brand. Unique digital marketing strategies, catchy slogans, and a name people remember will all help with brand recognition.
But being recognized is only half the battle — you also need to make sure that recognition is positive. If a potential customer remembers you because your name is catchy and they've seen bad reviews, that will work against you.
Therefore, you must maintain control over your brand recognition and make sure that people always associate you with positive context.
Following on from the above, brand trust goes hand in hand with brand recognition. Most parts of your brand image can be controlled by you alone to a certain extent. You can also improve brand identity and brand recognition through creative marketing and solid design work. However, on the other hand, brand trust develops over time and relies heavily on how customers resonate with the service they receive from you.
Excellent business practice, good communication, swift complaint resolution, and high-quality products that align with fair pricing will help you develop your customers' trust.
There are numerous ways a customer can review your services online, and most are away from your website or anything else you have editorial control over. When people are talking about you, you need to make sure they're saying nothing but glowing things about your quality of service. The easiest way to do that is to provide consistent, high-quality service.
Setting up your brand and getting your business started is excellent, but you always need to be keeping an eye on where you go next. Make sure you are flexible and that your branding is sustainable. If your brand is too trendy, you run the risk of being stuck without the option for growth or diversification.
Brand extension should not be something you attempt at the beginning of your brand development, but it should always be in the back of your mind, ready to pop out when the time is right.
That way, when the opportunity comes to extend into other markets or even other industries, you already have an idea of what tweaks and changes are necessary to take your brand into that area.
Of course, always maintain the nucleus of what makes your brand work, and never lose that all-important brand recognition. But don't be shy to alter things a little if you think it will help you break into a particular sector.
Everything you love is a brand. Whether it's a perfume, a clothing brand, a specific pet food, or that band you can't stop listening to.
All your favourite things have a brand, something that you recognize, something that caught your attention in the first place. Study these things, work out what parts of the brand image you like and what parts you don't.
Don't always examine the most successful brands (what worked for Coca Cola on its launch in 1892 may not work for you in 2020). Instead, please pay attention to what grabs your attention, especially newer brands, and why they do. Take influence from these ideas when developing your own brand image.
When developing your brand, you want everything to be of the very highest quality. Don't be afraid to ask for help. If you have a network of talented people in writing, web development, graphic design, etc., go to them for help.
If you don't use online resources, many talented freelancers are offering affordable services out there.
Your first idea may not be your best. It may feel perfect in your head, but it might not work when executed or not match your business. Don't let this get you down — it happens. Instead, keep developing different ideas, go inside and outside the box, and try a few things.
The more ideas you have, the more likely you will find the one that is perfect for the development of your brand image.
That said, once you've decided on an idea, love it with every essence of your being! In the early stages, the person who loves your brand the most has to be you. When you show that passion for your brand image and everything it represents, it will show in your services and conversations with customers.
There is no room to be shy, be full of confidence — you've spent time developing this brand image, you believe it's the absolute best for the services you provide, and people need to know that!
Developing a brand image is hard work. Every step can feel like a journey in and of itself. But it can also be one of the most enjoyable experiences. Watching an idea develop from concept to a fully inclusive brand image is one of the world's most satisfying feelings. It will set you up correctly for the attempts at global domination that are to come!