Building a brand that actually has value is one of those areas that many business owners know they want to do, but don’t really know how to approach the process.

Some even question if having a strong brand really does add any value, often saying ‘If I do a good job, that should be enough’. Well yes, in many cases that is enough when you’re working in a very localised sense; but how do you show that to all those people who don’t know you, haven’t heard of you, and aren’t sure how you differ from your competitors?

Let’s start answering the question posed above in a real life scenario. If you had the choice of receiving a Volkswagen or a Skoda absolutely free, which one would you choose?

By now I’m guessing most people will be saying the VW. But why?

Well, this is all to do with brand value.

In many ways, the two cars are very much the same.

Same manufacturer, same parts, even the same distribution networks, but people would most typically choose the VW because of its perceived brand value. And that’s where many businesses can realise their true market positioning and brand value to their customer base.

The benefits of building a good brand are significant. It initially helps increase awareness of your company, builds credibility, reputation and ultimately will help generate customer satisfaction if your company operates within your brand values.

Those benefits help to attract, and retain mindful consumers who use your marketing and branding as a key indicator for whether or not to purchase.

But for those of you wanting to communicate brand value, here are a few handy tips to get you started.

1. Build your values and live by them – Saying you’re the greatest business on earth really isn’t enough to build a strong brand. Stating your values clearly, and instilling them in every last nook and cranny of your business is. If you say you have the best products, make sure you provide the best products; if you claim to deliver the best service, make sure your team is doing that. Living the brand is a huge part of becoming the brand, so be sure not to overlook this step.

2. Be different – Don’t just try to copy somebody else; who wants to be like them anyway? Get to the bottom of what your company really stands for, and use that to show the world how you’re different and unique. Back this up with some outstanding creative and you’ll be well on your way to building that much desired brand value!

3. Target what you do – Plenty of people fall into the trap of wanting to be all things to all men (and women), but that’s not the way to build your brand at all. Establish who it is you’re targeting, what their interests are and why they would buy from someone like you. Once you’ve got this clear in your own mind, your marketing can really set about tailoring to their needs and attracting their attention.

4. Maintain your design standards – The worst thing any company can do is lack consistency and quality across their marketing collateral. Think of every interaction you have from British Gas, Virgin; any of the major players. You’ll see they’re always consistent and to high standards. Make sure you are too. No ad-hoc press ads knocked up by an office junior, that’s branding suicide!

5. Give your brand true meaning – Giving your brand a true meaning is key to its success. If it’s just trying to mimic others, being too many things to too many people, it will end up being weak and diluted. Many brands we’ve worked on have become symbolic of quality, or connected with emotions of the target audience, so make sure yours has a purpose too!

6. Build Loyalty – We all know how hard it can be sometimes to gain new customers, so why not focus on the ones you’ve got. A key part of good branding and marketing is to create loyalty and relationships with your customers, and this is a step often overlooked by many in their chase for ‘new business’. Look after those you’ve got, and your brand will flourish even further!

I hope these tips will help get you started in developing your brand and enhancing what you do for your customers. For further advice on advertising and marketing, feel free to ring us for an informal chat or email us at clients@cornerstonedm.co.uk.

And keep your eyes peeled for a feature of this blog in Business Edge magazine next month!

Cornerstone DM