Your unique brand is more than a logo or design.It’s one thing to have your logo designed and to print your first set of business cards. But actively building a successful brand that will turn your users into raving fans? That’s the stuff of legends!

A brand is your potential customer’s first interaction with you.

A strong brand reduces your customer acquisition costs and increases your retention rate.At the core, branding starts from a name. It’s the name people will associate with your product. On another level, it is a personality. It’s the entity that your users will interact with when they use your product.

So, the name Toyota evokes affordability and durability. In most African mobile phone market, Tecno is your neighbor; Nokia is your old uncle, and iPhone is a celebrity.

Your brand lives in everyday interactions with your customers. From the images, you share to the messages you put up on your website.  The content of your marketing materials, as well as your social media posts, demonstrates your brand persona.

So what can you do to grow the appeal of your brand without breaking the bank? Here are six tips that can help you do so.

1.Define Your Brand

Whether your brand is a single person or a whole company such as MTN, you still need to think about the public face your business presents to the world and how you can improve your public interactions.

To identify what your brand should represent, you need to provide answers to few questions: what is your core product? What is the product’s primary use case? Who are your main users? What do they value? To what do they relate?

Your brand lives in everyday interactions with your customers. From the images, you share to the messages you put up on your website. The content of your marketing materials, as well as your social media posts, demonstrates your brand persona.

Say you run a boutique management consultancy targeting SMEs, here’s an example of how you can develop your brand persona: Afrigenius is a small business management consultancy. Our core product is providing expertise and knowledge that can help small businesses grow. Our customers value the expertise we bring to their projects at a price they can afford.

Also, read Branding 101 for startups 

2. Know Your Customers

Your existing customers may skew toward a particular demographic or socioeconomic group. They might share a similar problem, interest or need.
Identify their core values. Your brand has to appeal to and connect with these people.

They’re your target audience; the customers you specifically aim to serve. So do your research – learn the needs, habits, and desires of your current and potential customers. Don’t assume what you think your customers think. Find out what they think! Know your customers.

3. Provide Great Products And Services

Even the most likable small business owner is never going to bring clients back unless the product or service they provide meets and exceeds expectations.

Some companies stop focusing on building great products and services when they become successful. This is a mistake! Even a strong brand will suffer when it creates average or below average products or services.

Don’t lose sight of your product – keep refining it and making it better. Make sure you always put product first, never the money it brings in.

4. Aim To Build Long-Term Relationships With Your Customers

Here you need to identify how you reach your customers. How you encourage them to identify with your brand and how you build their loyalty.

Don’t promise what you cannot deliver. Create trust with honest branding. Be true to the values that drive you and your business each day.

Although this is common sense, you’d be amazed how many small business owners ruin relationships with their existing customers by failing to keep their promises.

Happy clients who feel good about your business are your best source of referrals.

Always ask yourself the simple question “What do our customers expect from us?” and “What do our customers want from us?”

5. Speak To Your Customers With A Consistent Tone Of Voice

What you say is important, but don’t forget the way you say it matters. Your brand’s voice is the language and personality you will use to deliver your branding message to your clients.

For messaging, reuse key phrases that are your unique selling points. Put your slogan or tagline on everything. Whether in your printed marketing materials or on the web. It’s your brand promise boiled down to a catchy, memorable phrase after all.

It will help reinforce the business’ character and clarify your offer. So your potential customers are aware exactly what to expect from your product or service.

The most important place to start is with your current activities. There’s need to review how your customer interactions take place.

How do you answer the phone? How do you interact with customers? How do you write emails? How do you follow up with clients? What type of support services do you offer?

Looking at these activities will identify places where you can improve customer interactions. You might find that you have no clear guidance on dealing with customers. Maybe you speak too casually or too formally for your target market. This guide by MailChimp on brand tone and voice is quite useful.

Creating new lines of communication and creating new ways of building relationships are also two of the cheapest and easiest ways to quickly improve your brand presence.

Establish new lines of communication, based on where you are most likely to find your target markets.

Are they on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Email, and Mobile? Can you reach them there? Well, of course, you can.

So develop any new lines of communication you can. Then start using them to create new relationships.

Cultivate brand loyalty quickly and easily in following ways:

  • Thank your customers – through email, cards anything!
  • Create platforms for them to feedback into
  • Ask them for feedback
  • Make help and support available to them in the easiest way for them
  • Keep them updated.

6. Keep Your Visual Identity Professional and Consistent

Branding your business effectively; from creating a logo to designing packaging and graphics, can set you apart from competitors as a quality and respectable business.

Use the same color scheme, logo placement, look and feel throughout your brand collaterals. From business cards and logo to your printed marketing materials and signage.

In conclusion, whatever your product or service may be, your brand is your key vehicle for selling.

Implementing these simple, low-cost strategies will not only increase your customer satisfaction, but It will also enhance their loyalty to your brand and make them into brand advocates.

You will start to build a brand that people identify with, the way you need them to, and your brand will start to grow.

First Published on TheStarta