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We All Know Coca-Cola

We all know Coca Cola

We all know Coca Cola, BMW, Virgin Active, Mrs Ball’s Chutney, MacDonalds and countless other brands and yet we struggle to realize the importance of ‘branding’ our businesses, so that every time someone thinks of a particular product or service we offer, they will think of OUR particular name!
Branding is a process involved with creating a unique name and image for a product in the consumers’ mind, mainly through marketing campaigns with a consistent theme. Branding aims to establish a significant and differentiated presence in the market that attracts and retains loyal customers.

In order for your company to have a brand that customers/clients will remember, it is important to have a strategy in place in order to do this. It is pointless, doing haphazard campaigns over a short period of time and reckon that your marketing and branding is done for the year.

Companies like Coca Cola, Virgin Active, although they are household names, continue to raise further awareness about themselves through their marketing, advertising and signage. All this is done, not to increase profitability in the short term (although obviously this is one of the reasons for branding!), but raise the level of awareness in the customers mind, so that come the time you decide to join the gym, you think Virgin Active. The next time a customer is shopping for cold drink, it is easier to take a Coca Cola as opposed to all the other options.

It is important to find a business partner that works with companies to determine their Branding Strategy and when to effectively carry out the strategy.

It could start with simple aspects of the business such as creating an identity for the company, which people will relate to and remember the company by. It could be the stationery, signatures on emails, business cards, signage for the company and even banners for when they attend events! Even larger ‘walls’ can be made to make the company really stand out! Branding a company does not end there. So what goes into building your brand?:

Consistency in your advertising. From your strategy, decide what you can do for your customers and promote those points in every advert or campaign. Create a “buy line” that defines your company and use it.
• Customer service. Once a customer is ignored at the counter or treated poorly on the phone or on the sales floor, you’ve lost not only that person but everyone else that hears about the unfortunate experience, so only employ people who can get on board with your brand, and make sure that each person understands their part in building it. Word-of-mouth can help, but it can also hurt
Public relations. Never disappoint your customers with what they find once your advertising gets them through the door. Make it easy for them to make purchases and returns. They should leave smiling. Pay your invoices on time. Be a good citizen. Get involved with community projects where your business can do something positive.

Your willingness to use the internet. A company nowadays needs to have a web presence. Get it done now.

Do you have your Marketing and branding strategy in place? Contact us today and let’s get your Marketing and Branding ball rolling. 

 

Who is REALLY in control of your brand?

Who is REALLY in control of your brand

“I know how it looks… but TRUST ME, I have it all under control”

I read this statement above the other day and it just reminded me how in small businesses, business owners seem to think that if things appear chaotic, everything is under control.

This sent a bit of a shiver down my spine, since, if it looks like chaos, it probably is chaos, with the business owner being the only person in the company with the strategy in mind (not on paper, documented for all employees to see) and this can only be a recipe for disaster.

The problem with this is the following: if the business owner is the only person who knows what’s going on, how is the staff supposed to be moving the business forward? How are the employees supposed to act/react to clients both inside the business and outside, if there is no mention of company culture and values? How will the people doing marketing of the business services or products, position these, if they are not privy to the strategy, because it is in the boss’s head? Financially speaking this could open a hornet’s nest of financial practices which may be scrutinised and found to be less than desirable.

The question here is: If the business owner does not have a formal plan/strategy for their brand, how will they control how the business is perceived by its customers/clients and other stakeholders and shareholders?

To answer this, we could almost write a dissertation, but what I want to focus on here is an aspect about what the clients/customers perception is of the business. If the business does not have a formal plan or strategy of marketing and branding, to define itself in the market, who will do it? You’re Clients!

This could work well if your business is so awesome that the clients experience is so good, that your brand is held up and revered…. But what happens if something that goes wrong?

The business owner needs to have the brand (and for that matter a strategy for the personal branding for the employees), taped down securely, so that YOU know exactly what the business is about, how it benefits the public, building on a strong brand identity based on a solid value system and a visual presence which people will not forget.

The important thing here is that everyone in the business needs to ‘buy in’ to that identity and live the values as if they were one with them. You all need to be looking out the same window!

So, my question to you is this: Who is in control of your brand?

The 6 Things to Consider in Selecting the Right Agency for your Business

 

Select the Right Agency for your Business

Recently, a friend was sharing his disillusion regarding the slow growth of his business, despite the advertising he did, he was not getting any NEW business, just the regular repeat & referral small project. Since he believed his business was worthwhile and he did not want to close it, he was doing some research about why his business was not growing and why he was not better known in the area.

It is very difficult for small business owners to work IN their business and also ON their business simultaneously. On the one hand, they need to make money and on the other hand they need to market their business.

One of the best decisions a business owner can make is working with an agency that can assist them with various aspects of their business: Corporate image (designing a captivating logo and name), printing relevant items/stationery, having a web presence including Social Media and having a Marketing plan in order to turn prospects into clients and ultimately money!

Many small businesses already have certain of the above in place however due to lack of planning for marketing and advertising they tend to use various suppliers to do some of the other work, which is where the brand could lose its integrity.

So what 6 things should a small business owner look for in an agency which can help them grow their business?

1. Budget You, as the business owner, need to consider the budget you have for marketing. An agency that deals with SME’s, will be aware of the constraints of budgets of small businesses and be able to assist with excellent quality at affordable prices.

2. Brand consistency It is vitally important to ensure you have a consistent brand ie: your company name, logo, tag/buy line should ALWAYS be the same on ALL elements which markets your business.

3. Website Having a website informs your potential clients, online about your business and is an anchor in the virtual world. Your website could offer information about your products and services, blogs about your business, special offers and needs to be designed with a number of clever ideas specifically for your business.

4. Social Media Which forms part of the virtual world for marketing also needs to be applicable for your business and remain consistent with all other aspects of the brand. The agency would be able to guide you with this and assist you with setting it up initially, run with it for a pre determined time and hand over to you when you feel comfortable to carry on alone.

5. Design and Print There will be times, when design and printing will become necessary, and the agency, (which will have your designs on record), will be able to assist with any further designs, edits to current material and be in a position to have these printed as well. As your business grows, it may require more exciting ways of marketing, which can be suggested and created by the agency.

6. Marketing Plans With an effective Marketing Plan, which the agency can assist you develop, your marketing is planned for the year including the budgets required, and is carefully planned and rolled out, so that it alleviates ‘knee jerk reaction marketing’ when sales decline.

In short, the type of agency you need to consider offers you, the business owner and holistic, fully rounded solution to getting your business to grow and develop!

Contact us on 021 554 5015 or info@dynamicexposure.co.za