Communication skills, including writing, speaking and listening to and with customers, supply chain members, employees and other stakeholders, are the most important factors in building brand equity.
Brand equity is the premium value that buyers assign to a known brand name, above and beyond the generic features and benefits it offers.
All brand managers strive to achieve brand equity by going beyond necessary levels of customer service, value, reliability or some other attribute that simply ensures parity in a competitive marketplace.
Brands build equity by becoming memorable and readily distinguishable and by developing unique personalities. Marketing campaigns, including mass media and online content creation, can facilitate the creation of brand equity.
Brand equity translates to growing profitability, strong repeat sales and increasing market share. In addition, brand equity also offers the intrinsic characteristic of brand leverage, meaning that consumers assign positive aspects of the brand image to other products carrying the brand name.
The following eight components are needed to develop strong brand equity. Each component relies on the availability and use of strategic thinking and strong communication skills.
A brand must have clearly defined objectives and tactics to achieve its strategy. The branding strategy defines the business a brand conducts, as well as how the brand will enter the market, gain market share and maintain a competitive position among its target market.
All brands have a life cycle that includes an introduction, growth, maturity and decline stages. However, the duration and lifetime of a brand is influenced by the strength of its strategy.
The longevity of a brand rests on its ability to communicate accurately and professionally; behave ethically; collaborate with employees, intermediaries and final customers; deliver valued differentiation; and create an emotional connection, while capitalizing on the turbulence of the marketing environment.
The soundest brand strategies operate as communication tools that integrate and direct the components of the marketing mix, including questions related to product, place, price, and promotion. Therefore, branding strategies must be simple and easy to understand and communicate.
Walk into any business and you find workers creating e-mail messages, making presentations, reading trade journals, writing reports and talking on phones. A brand’s success depends on people communicating and working together to accomplish shared objectives.
Through effective communication, groups of people interact clearly and professionally with suppliers, retailers, government agencies and customers to achieve a common goal. Therefore, a brand must consist of competent writers, speakers and listeners who can facilitate the transition from concept to production, distribution and sales.
Marketing demands that brands be successful communicators that generate compelling content in a language the market understands. Branding also requires the development of a consistent image and style. A brand’s image consists of its logo, color palette, typeface, tagline and common layout.
Whether you undertake branding in a small business or a global conglomerate with thousands of employees, multilingual writing and speaking skills will help you find investors, promote your product, and manage your employees. Strong communication is so critical in branding that it influences each of the remaining factors.
A brand may offer exceptional features and benefits, but unless the marketplace is aware of them, the brand will never generate sales. Awareness relies on strong content marketing strategy to build brand awareness.
It begins by identifying the best online channels for promoting a brand message, establishing engagement goals, developing engaging promotional materials, and measuring the success of the promotional efforts.
A brand’s reputation can be built or destroyed online, in person or in print.
When a customer has a negative experience, the situation may be aggravated when that customer writes an online review and the company mishandles the situation with a savage rebuke.
Reputation can also be tarnished when someone representing a brand either by telephone or in person displays disturbing or unprofessional body language or verbal transgressions. Finally, reputation can be harmed through the use of offensive language, incorrect terminology or poor writing skills.
Prior to the Internet, developing a brand reputation, trust and credibility was much more difficult. Today’s world of social media and online business reviews can bring instant fandom or wreak destruction overnight.
When someone types your business’s name into a search engine, your company website should be the first listing they see. Good online reputation management ensures that your brand dominates the first page results with listings you control.
These should include your website, social profiles, entries for Google Places, and news stories. A Wikipedia page and review sites should also be listed in first page results. Monitor the review sites closely to ensure your data is correct.
Brand reputation is directly influenced by the quality of your professional communication and relationship management. Your ability to represent your brand positively and handle negative feedback is essential to a positive brand image.
Legal and Ethical Decision-making
Business ethics has become an increasing concern among business leaders. Today ethical awareness and training is widespread. Many businesses have amended their mission statements to include ethical behavior.
With harsher punishments being handed down to businesses, employees recognize that they cannot lie, make false claims, stretch the truth or make half-truth claims. Ethics is such an important subject that rules for ethical behavior must be upheld in communication.
Success relies on collaborating in cross-functional work teams. Many writing projects require collaboration among engineers, marketers, sales representatives, compliance officials and external stakeholders.
Common types of collaboration projects include sales proposals, employee manuals, training handbooks, websites, and marketing collateral and financial reports that require input from multiple departments and disciplines.
Since the increasing complexity of the workplace makes it impossible for one person to have the time and expertise to create detailed documents, business communicators require skills in teamwork.
Value can be thought of as the customer’s desire and utility for a particular product or brand. Powerful brands develop strategic advantages by positively articulating significant points of differentiation in their value proposition.
By differentiating the marketing mix to do a better job meeting customers’ needs, the firm builds a competitive advantage.
When this happens, target customers view the firm’s position in the market as uniquely suited to their preferences and needs. Because everyone in the firm is clear about the position it wants to achieve with customers, the product, promotion, and other marketing mix decisions can be blended better to achieve the desired objectives.
In a purely competitive marketplace, a considerable level of parity exists when competing products offer similar levels of reliability, customer service, innovation and price.
Even as brands adopt new features, competitors are quick to adopt them. However, brand success often rests on softer features other than rational comparisons; thus purchase decisions become emotional choices.
The strongest brands have established emotional capital that integrates into their marketing strategies. Emotional capital is built when people choose brands for personal reasons, such as association, sense of belonging or self-expression. Strong brands induce passion, strong sensations and exhilaration. Furthermore, strong brands are trusted and consumers are faithful to them.
Infograpgic source: http://www.24hourtranslation.com/strategies-building-strong-brand-equity.html