How to make your company, a brand?
by Shyam Sekar S
From about a century ago where we called it the ‘age of manufacturing’, to a decade back we termed it as the age of information, today we are at the ‘age of the customer’.
In some of my conferences, as a speaker, I have highlighted this – many entrepreneurs feel that branding is only for large companies; branding is a big budget exercise; branding involves huge time and effort and we cannot afford both.
But ‘why branding’ has become a no-brainer today. Why? Branding is essential to position you and your company in the right space/right perspective; branding helps to win clients; branding helps to beat your competition; and simply put, if you aren’t creating a ‘brand’ you are losing opportunities.
Well, most consider branding as ‘marketing activities’ that big brands pursue today – be it Coca Cola, Merc, Amazon, Flipkart, Nestle, to just name a few. But the key point that I would like to suggest you is that you don’t do what they are doing today. Do what they did when they were a startup like you; replicate or improvise what they did when they were a small business like yours.
With this important take, let’s move swiftly to how and where we can start. Branding can be done in a traditional and/or digital way. Today, in a connected world, branding can be done at a far higher pace and reach, and can shake established/traditional enterprises. Look at Facebook, or LinkedIn, or Google, or Uber, or Flipkart. All these brands moved into the billion dollar club in quick time. Unlike traditional industries that took decades to reach that mark. So leverage the power of digital to build your brand.
Branding is a continuous journey. It doesn’t happen by one activity, or one action, or one time. You have to build your company, your brand, through all of the available resources, both internal and external.
It all starts with a focus – focus on customer and customer’s need. All your actions, your mission, need to be centered on this. I understand that when Amazon tries to launch a product, or enhancement, the managers need to come up with a convincing answer to a basic question – how does this benefit or positively impact our customers? If not convincing, the idea gets dropped.
Get to work with a smart digital marketing company/consultant, if you do not have a specialist in your firm. Getting to identify them is tough, but worth your pain, as we are talking long term here.
• Build a robust digital marketing strategy.
• Balance your inbound and outbound strategies, depending on how and what your business is (B2B or B2C or both).
• Use analytics to power your business decisions.
• Email marketing can be used effectively (note, I am not referring to sales mailers here) to build reputation, position yourself as a thought leader, and more importantly helps to build ‘trust’ (an essential ingredient to build your company, your brand).
• SEO, SEM, SMM to be executed in perfect sync, as you do not want to throw your money, your precious resource, in a bottomless pit.
• Brand awareness leads to engagement; engagement leads to trust; trust helps you win customers and grow your businesses.
• Finally, build the right DNA across all stakeholders – your employees, customers, vendors, partners, investors, etc. Build your brand brick by brick through all of these stakeholders; understand that this is a long drawn, continuous and consistent, effort. Your aspiration and passion has to be communicated to all stakeholders and there can be no deviation between what you believe and what you do.
About the author:
Shyam Sekar S, is the Founder, Chief Mentor and Strategist at Startup Xperts Business Consulting Pvt. Ltd. , a business growth consulting firm. Shyam is a serial entrepreneur and helps many entrepreneurs in building up their enterprises, thereby building our entrepreneurship ecosystem. He passionately involves by giving shape to an idea and idea to execution; helps build startup and small medium enterprises by accelerating their revenue growth. Supports them through developing and most importantly, implementing smart business strategies, digital marketing, smart sales, brand building, mentoring, coaching, and leadership development. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
or his mobile +91 99401 36667.
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