Corporate branding – How to build competitive advantage for your business
Wanna know the best way your business can gain and retain success over your competition?
It’s a busy world out there. Technology, globalisation, communications and access to information make your present and potential clients into very picky people – because they have multiple choices to make. So; how do you make them choose you then? It’s becoming much harder for our products, services or businesses to achieve or keep competitive advantage over our market peers on a long term basis. Google has a lot to answer for!
If there is too much competition in a saturated market, then I suggest that one of the most commonly overlooked sources of gaining competitive advantage is business branding – the corporate identity.
If you have not invested a bit of free time into looking into this essential business tool – then please read on, because a distinct brand personality and voice will help your business, product, service, website and any other communication stand out from the competition and create a competitive advantage with your audience.
Yes, you can cut back on staff costs, or you can increase your advertising budget, you can offer discounts etc. – but the real bottom line is that if the outside world doesn’t find your company an attractive proposition – they simply will not buy from you. It doesn’t matter if you are the very best service and at the very best price, you’re always going to lose money to competitors if their business branding identity and perceived VALUE is more attractive to your shared audience.
Corporate Branding in a nutshell
Effective corporate branding is based on defining your company’s target market and their needs and then creating an integrated visual brand identity system that appeals to this demographic. The businesses that successfully attract the most customers are businesses that have invested the time and money in making sure that they have a unique and distinct value proposition with a unique visual identity that makes them stand out from their competition. And they use both of these consistently across ALL external (and internal) communications – so your website, brochures, pull-ups, stationary, power-points are all perfectly aligned – working like a well oiled efficient business machine.
Although the logo, colours, typography, and messaging are essential; the business brand is not just a visual thing – this is a common misconception. As mentioned, it is the VALUE that a company holds for the actual customers – it is an offering of something compelling and unique – something that sets you apart from your peers who may sell exactly the same thing.
Defining value – your WHY
The fundamental idea behind all brand work is that in every activity that your business does, every communication, everything it produces – it should project the core VALUE that defines your company – why you exist and what makes you different. It is your WHY. So the starting point is clearly defining your unique vision and mission and tone of voice – or how you talk to your audience. It is what you are about, what you stand for, what you believe in.
But if your WHY does not align and resonate with your target audiences needs – then it ain’t gonna work! So you need to:
1. Understand key values in the mind of your customers
2. Build the customer’s values into your product or service
3. Associate your corporate branding with those values
This ‘WHY” value is sometimes very difficult to define by yourself because you are probably too immersed in the current identity. So outside help by a brand expert might be needed to ask the right questions, pushing the right buttons to research and develop business branding.
We all know a professional corporate brand identity system can be horribly expensive to create, with local UAE brand agencies charging sky high fees that the average business owner cannot afford. The cost of building and maintaining a brand is one reason why local business owners tend to avoid spending much time or money on their branding – especially in smaller companies. But this is a huge mistake. Brand development is not cost, but an essential investment in your business’ success!
A well-managed brand is so powerful that it can overcome almost any other competitive advantage. And this is why larger companies spend a lot of time and money on corporate branding.
But what do you do if you don’t have these huge budgets? I have FREE brand resources to download on the landing page – that ask the typical questions needed to start this important business branding work. (scroll to the bottom of the landing page for the downloads.) Give it a try; it can’t hurt and you can gain great insights. And if you get stuck? Well if you look hard enough, there is probably a committed, passionate brand professional very near to you, who does not cost the earth and would love to help out ; )
Any questions? I’m always happy to advise.
Frank Brands is committed to helping UAE businesses who want and need that agency level excellence at a more reasonable price. With empathy and insight, our mission is to empower business owners – by creating unique and compelling business brand identities, website design and the best communication tools to ensure visibility, credibility & brand success in life.