Building A Strong Business Brand


A robust brand will reflect the heart of a business, benefiting every aspect of the company from recruitment to reputation and crucially – the bottom line. A powerful brand is vital if you want to take your business to the next level, helping to boost customer and staff loyalty, as well as positively impacting your profits. But what exactly constitutes a strong brand?

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To the uninitiated, branding can be a nebulous concept, centring on logo, and company name, but its impact on the success of a business is far wider.

Owen Barry, of Create brand consultants, Dublin, says: “Branding represents the relationship between a business and its audience. Organisations can use the power of branding to transform and build their businesses by more effectively engaging and connecting with their target audience.”

A brand should leave a unique impression in the hearts and minds of customers, explains Barry; an engaging brand with consistent marketing materials and messaging will bring focus and clarity to the service or product on offer.

When done well, branding will help a business to stand out from the competition, inspire confidence, and encourage action from the consumer.

Recommended reading: Why Businesses Need A Strong Brand Strategy

Collaborate with your customers – and employees

Finola Howard, who runs her eponymous marketing agency in Waterford, believes that a brand is essential in helping a business to establish its identity.

“A strong brand has a place in the world,” she says. “It has a following that is vested in its success and actively believes in and supports it.”

And the relationship between a successful brand and its customers is mutual, suggests Howard: “The customers teach the business what they need and very often help build and test the solution. They become co-creators in the relationship.

“This is why community building is becoming so prevalent. There is recognition of the importance of having the voice of the customer embedded in the business. Just think about it: imagine if you co-created your offering – products or services – with your customers. They are immediately poised for purchase and more.”

Howard explains that rather than creating a brand, a business should aim to “uncover” it via input from customers, market analyses and collaboration between the business owner and employees – this will help employees to internalise the brand and feel invested in it.

She also advises that listening to the language used to describe competitors – and the business itself – can cut to the core of what a business is about.

Recommended reading: 4 Steps to Map Out Your Brand Customer Experience

Find your USP

So where should you start? The first step, Barry recommends, is to identify what is unique about your company. He asks business owners what makes them passionate about what they do, what inspires them daily, and what a success in the business looks and feels like.

“This leads to developing their core values, and sets the groundwork for developing their vision for the company,” he says. “Without this foundation, it’s very difficult for them to communicate to their customer what they stand for and how they believe that their offer will make life that little bit easier for that customer.

“The best potential recruits will be attracted to a business that really understands its brand and its audience”

Owen Barry, Managing Director, Create

“The next logical step is to define and understand the target audience – who they are, what they need and what their challenges are. This builds up a target customer profile that the business can aim their communications at. The key question at this point is: how can my product or service solve a problem for our potential customer?”

Once these steps are achieved, Barry says it’s crucial to define how the business will communicate to a particular audience. A company should tailor its online output: website redevelopment, social media, email campaigns – and offline marketing: print advertising, print mail campaigns, brochures and leaflets – depending on what will best connect with the target audience.

Employee engagement

As for the impact on staff, Barry reports that some of Create’s recent clients have described the feeling of receiving a new brand as “invigorating” and “inspiring”, saying it has helped them to focus on business strategy.

“Importantly, they have told us that the branding process has really helped them internally with staff at all levels, from management through to sales personnel to administration,” adds Barry. “When everyone in a business is aware of mission and values, it inspires more internal commitment and retention of employees.

“Additionally, the best potential recruits will be attracted to a business that really understands its brand and its audience.”

Seán Maher, MD of Tipperary-based structured cabling firm CET Connect, agrees that branding can have a powerful impact on a workforce. Prior to working with Howard, he thought that branding was about logo and letterhead, but he now appreciates its potential.

Recommended Reading: Why Preparation is Key When Building a Brand

Maher says: “As well as developing and creating the correct external perception of our company, our new branding has also resulted in enhanced pride in the company by the people that work here.”

Thinking outside the box in relation to their visual branding has also helped them to communicate the core values of their business to their audience: “Finola helped us make a link between the visual of a cross section of the cabling that we install and a cellular structure, which represented the human side of our business. Our business values people, clients and employees; Finola thought this was something that needed to be expressed clearly.”

Brand evolution

Howard has found that when branding successfully represents a business, it won’t need constant revision.

“If your brand is an expression of your truth and that truth is firmly in place in the business, the brand will naturally evolve as the business evolves,” says Howard. “It’s an extension of the business itself.”

Sabina Cox, sales and marketing manager of Delphi Resort, Connemara, which changed its remit from being an adventure centre to a destination that now offers facilities including a spa, four-star hotel and yoga and wellness centre, agrees that branding is an ongoing process and not a quick fix.

When Cox’s team focused on rebranding after the organisation changed its name and its offering, the process helped the team to appreciate its customers and explore the business in a new way.

“The importance of ascertaining our ‘why’, our purpose and passion, and making that the cornerstone of the branding project has meant it has had a much wider, positive impact on the business than we had envisaged,” she observes.

The building blocks of a strong business brand:

  • Remember that branding is the key link between a business and its audience.
  • Branding decisions should involve employees, customers and business owners.
  • Focusing on branding can re-energise an established business.
  • A professional branding expert can help you to find the ‘truth’ of your brand.
  • A strong brand will help with recruitment: it will attract the right people.
  • Branding is not a quick fix, but should evolve with the business.
  • To brand well, be clear about your target audience.
  • Define how the business should communicate with an audience and via what media.

By Joy Persaud

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Wednesday, 11 December 2019
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