The first, and most strategic, step to building a brand

By Tal Wright

Your Brand image is your reputation, your visibility, your “promise” to your customers – and your biggest marketing asset.  It attracts customers, referrals, and great employees.

Your brand is not your name, logo, tagline, web site, marketing materials or advertising.  These are essential tools for reminding your customers of what your brand stands for. 

“That company gets it.”  “They understand me.” “They know what I want.”  “They do a great job.” “Their people are great.”  “Their products are the best.”  “Their service is awesome.”

Now those are words you want to hear!  So what’s the secret to that kind of customer feedback?

It’s simple:  Identify what your customers value most from the product or service you provide.  These are your “brand promises” or “attributes” and they represent the essence of what customers need, want and value from your products or services.  Your customers’ affinity for your brand represents the brand equity in your company.

In the history of business, it’s not hard to find shopkeepers, toolmakers or successful entrepreneurs who have exhibited a knack for identifying what their potential customers wanted in a product or service – and refined it over time. Fiskars began as an ironworks in Finland – 360 years ago.  In its early years, it produced more than 1 million ploughs. Today, it’s a thriving maker of high quality kitchenware, knives and scissors.

While trial and error remains an option for identifying effective brand attributes, customer research and market testing are the most efficient way to identify what your potential customers value the most in the products or services your business provides.

This is the first and most strategic step to develop a powerful brand – and effective marketing.