How do I market a branded company

Build a brand and manage customer perception

What is a brand and why build a brand?

A brand is created in the mind - or rather, in the minds of many people. It is the result of a collective perception of something. When we talk about "brand quality", we have the idea of ​​high quality and a guarantee. When we talk about a brand, we mean a logo, a name, a claim or an image. The MacBook would be without the catchy name Apple and the bitten apple probably just a notebook.

The term "brand" stands for attributes such as good quality, durability, refinement, service or transparency in production. The effect of a good brand runs in circles. Products with a good reputation are bought. If the promise of quality is confirmed, it will be recommended to others, who also buy when encouraged. The process of "building a brand" continues.

Ideally, a brand even manages to dominate an entire product category. The best-known example here is Tempo. The term is often used when referring to the handkerchief, although there are a variety of other brands selling the same product. But Tempo was able to prevail and is in the minds of users for handkerchiefs. The goals of a brand are therefore satisfaction, customer loyalty, recommendation and recognition.

You haven't protected your trademark yet? Then use the inexpensive all-round service package for trademark registration.

Register your trademark now

Building the brand is not only important for corporations

Simply entering the market is usually not enough if you want to win customers and establish yourself on the market. Hardly any start-up entrepreneurs are still reinventing the wheel and are thus surrounded by many competitors with similar business ideas, products and services. What is important here is to distinguish yourself from others and to anchor this distinguishing feature with the customer. Young companies have to create a differentiation from the competition that customers can experience through their own upgrading.

Building a brand with one goal in mind: So the intention is not just to be noticed in any way, but to stand out, attract attention and perhaps even overshadow the other offers. The transport of a positive image through targeted branding is therefore much more important than some founders would like to believe. Instead, many start-ups believe that only large corporations and global companies have to deal with the topic of "building brands". But that's not true. Even small companies and founders shouldn't leave branding to chance.

Building the brand in a structured way: If you want to build a brand, you don't just have to deal with the design of a logo, but also define a corporate design and identity, set up a marketing concept and do market research to find out whether the customers are satisfied. All of this applies not only to large corporations, but also to start-ups, which often pay too little attention to the topic of branding.

Building the brand by addressing target groups: The interesting thing about building a brand is that the value of a brand is mainly determined by the customer. As an entrepreneur, you only have the option of drawing awareness to your own brand. But the customer determines how he rates a brand. So the brand should also correspond to his wishes and ideas so that he can identify with the brand. You therefore have to define the target group and analyze what the target group wants in order to create a brand according to their wishes or to find the right target group for the brand.

Build a brand with customer help

Building a brand through satisfaction: Once the customer is convinced of the brand's value, he becomes loyal and trusts it almost blindly. So he stays with the brand, does not look for alternatives and even raves about it to others and becomes a multiplier. So here the price is not primarily relevant for the brand, but the trust in the quality. Because nothing works as well as keeping a promise of quality. If the organic lemonade tastes really naturally fruity, the jeans fit really well and the camping accessories really last a long time, customers get what was promised.

Even better than keeping what was promised is exceeding expectations. Trousers with a good fit that also lasts a long time or a hairdresser who even serves ice-cold refreshments on hot days while getting a new haircut makes customers happy because they get more for their money than they expected. Building a brand means occasionally exceeding expectations.

Build a brand through customer loyalty: Of course, it is not enough to encourage customers to buy something once. You need to come back and become a regular customer. You retain customers through good service at a high level, discounts or continuous maintenance of contacts. There are tons of ways to retain customers by adding value to them. Loyal customers feel an obligation to remain loyal, to the extreme. They are "looked after" and want to continue to have this positive experience - so they stay. They feel more or less connected to the brand.

Build a brand through recommendation: Our consumer world is full of products and services. In order to avoid bad purchases, we prefer to focus on brands. We choose certain brands because they promise us high quality and reliability. These promises are strengthened by other customers and consumers of the brand that have already been won. They act as advertising ambassadors and in turn tell others about how long the sneakers have lasted, how unbreakable the glasses are or how well the jeans are made. So if you want to build a brand, you also aim at customer recommendations.

Build a brand through recognition: Uniform product packaging increases and strengthens the recognition value of the product. Once a brand has established itself, the name can even be used to place additional products on the market, all of which benefit from the image of the already recognized brand. An example of this is Nivea: known for the cream in the blue and white, round jar. There were also shampoos, skin oils and shaving cream. Even a product line for men only benefits from the umbrella brand. Customers transfer the accepted characteristics of the brand to other products and make it easier for companies to introduce new products to the market. So there are long-term benefits to building a brand.

Build the brand step by step

If you want to build a brand, you have to define the brand, create a corporate design, protect the brand, determine a corporate identity, conduct marketing and, ultimately, continuously nurture and maintain it.

1. Build a brand: Define a brand

Before a brand can be defined, the product / service has to be developed. You can only define its brand when the business idea is in place. The definition of a brand is about determining what the product or service stands for and which adjectives should be used to describe the brand. What feeling should be associated with the brand? The Marlboro filter cigarettes were unsuccessful with the original idea of ​​being only for women. Only the change in image to a product that stands for adventure and freedom made it a well-known brand.

If you look at the baby food brand to be defined, you will want customers to think about healthy eating. A stair lift should convey safety and a detergent stands for cleanliness. To define a brand, it is a good idea to create a mind map - this is the first step in building a brand.

Business consultants, advertising agencies and marketing experts will support you if you want to build a brand.

Find service providers

2. Build a brand: corporate design

Once you have completed the brand definition and a detailed picture of the brand, it is a matter of visually implementing the brand. If you sell a product, the focus is on the design of the product itself and the packaging. If you offer a service, it is about the appearance and behavior of the employees, the furnishings and the design of the logo, website and co ..

Especially if you are not offering a product but a service, the challenge of establishing a corporate design is great. A hairdresser, for example, has to think about setting up the salon and choosing the work materials, as well as making a decision as to which work clothes employees should wear. Because this is exactly where the owner has the opportunity to acquire properties such as high-quality, exclusive and professional or quickly, cheaply and flexibly. In addition, it doesn't hurt if customers perceive a pleasant ambience in the salon.

Once the choice has been made on a design, it is the task of a designer to create everything that falls within his area of ​​responsibility. The company name, logo, flyer, attractive business cards, the website and other aspects related to the external appearance must be designed professionally and uniformly. The result must be based on the brand's goals and 100% correspond to the ideas of the founder. Because a subsequent, major change in the brand could also have a negative impact on the image of the brand. This is the second step in building a brand.

3. Build a brand: Protect a brand

Entrepreneurs can not only protect the company name and logo, but also a claim or an advertising slogan. Names can be protected as word marks and logos as image marks. Brand protection is the third step in building a brand.

In trademark protection, a word mark denotes a brand that consists of words, letters, numbers or other characters. In trademark protection, a figurative mark is a mark that is represented in a special spelling, font arrangement, font design or color. This is about a certain visual impression. Accordingly, images, picture elements or images are also figurative marks. A combination of word and picture components can be registered as a word / picture mark. You can find the practical steps for trademark registration here.

4. Build a brand: corporate identity

The point here is to implement the corporate design in the quality promise. This also includes rules of conduct for employees and its implementation of the brand guidelines. Corporate identity describes the uniform corporate appearance, the self-image it transports and the self-image associated with it.

The important factors include the behavior of employees, known as corporate behavior, the uniform design and internal and external communication. Internal communication includes communication within the company. How are employees informed, what instruments are there and what manners are there? In external communication, the focus is on the various publications in brochures or press releases. This is the fourth step in building a brand.

Coca Cola serves as a good example of an overall corporate identity concept. Once a headache syrup, Coca Cola is now one of the most popular soft drinks in the world. Representing a modern attitude to life is the guiding principle of the drink. Good quality is promised in all products that are regularly checked. The design impresses with the curved lettering, the bottle, the red color and the introduction of the Coca Cola truck. Various slogans were very memorable. We remember "Always Coca Cola" or "I love it". The company is generally very sporty, health and environmentally conscious and socially committed by working with UNESCO or the SOS Children's Villages. Coca Cola has sponsored the Olympic Games, Paralympics, Tour de France and the World Cup. Overall, the company invests most of its money in advertising.

5. Build a brand: do marketing

If you want to build a brand, you also need to serve the right channels. You should stay in constant contact with your fans and customers via social media channels such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. If questions about the product or service are directed to you, do not allow too much time to pass before you answer them.

Another channel that you can use is the newsletter. You can keep your customers up to date by e-mail, present new products or services and deliver updates. Other options are provided by a chat, a hotline or by video on YouTube. This is the fifth step in building a brand.

6. Build up a brand: afterwards cherish and cultivate

The last point doesn't automatically end the branding process. Rather, the care and maintenance of the brand begins here. Needs and trends develop and change. So you should regularly ask the target group about their satisfaction. Market research is the keyword here. Opinions can be obtained via questionnaires or via app services and the Internet.

There are many opportunities, especially on the Internet, to see how your business idea is received. Browse the web and find out what is being written about you. Of course, this should also result in a reaction if customers are dissatisfied. So draw practical conclusions from the new knowledge and always stay ready to develop yourself. The sixth step in building a brand never ends.

Author: Für-Gründer.de editors

As editor-in-chief, René Klein has been responsible for the content of the portal and all publications by Für-Gründer.de for over 10 years. He is a regular interlocutor in other media and writes numerous external specialist articles on start-up topics. Before his time as editor-in-chief and co-founder of Für-Gründer.de, he advised listed companies in the field of financial market communication.