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The four elements of effective branding – Part 2

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Continued From Last Week

Is Your Business Branded?
I can almost hear your loud reply, YES! Believe me, I truly sympathise with you. I wish your yes was a realistic one. But I won’t totally put the blame on you as we have a lot of so called brand experts who tell you your business is branded just because they designed a corporate logo and have splattered a few colours here and there on your website, company profile or product/service brochures.

So you see why I wouldn’t really blame you for answering yes. Because I know you have a fantastic logo, an attractive business name, a beautiful buy line or slogan and a persuasive corporate colour to wrap it all up. All of these can truly make you feel branded, but I’ve got bad news; branding is NOT about imagery, branding is all about TRUST. The market you are trying to reach doesn’t care about your colourful logo or stunning adverts, they only have one thing on their minds; can you deliver?

Welcome to the Information Age
The information age is both a blessing and a curse. The blessing is this; people now want to do business with companies they trust than any other time in human history. Customers are now becoming fans or as Seth Godin rightly put it, tribes. They are now gathering around companies that stand for and do what they [the customers] also believe in. Meaning, your colorful ads and brilliant lies ain’t going to fool anyone. The market is well informed, so you’ve got to do much more than that. This is the curse for those businesses who still think customers are as naive as they were back in the industrial age, NO!

In the information age, customers want results and not promises. The palatable promises of the industrial age will not bail you out in this information age. The market no longer lends you their trust based on what you SAY. They lend you their trust as a result of what you DID, have DONE and still continue to DO. Results are the new standards for market recognition. Results are the new yardstick for earning trust in the marketplace.

Simply put, the customers of the information age are saying to entrepreneurs; “Stop telling me what you will do or who you are, show me what you’ve done.” Why? Because that says a lot about who you are and what you will do. As entrepreneurs, we are not our words, corporate colors or image; we are the summation of our actions and their corresponding outcomes. And this is what clearly separates a business from a company. Companies [branded businesses] do specific things for specific people for specific reasons. This makes their results easily noticeable in the marketplace. Businesses engage in any form of activities for anybody so long as it brings in money. This makes their results less obvious in the marketplace, because their actions are not specific, integrated and consistent.

Elements of Branding
What Makes A Business Branded? A set of consistent actions that is capable of yielding consistent results that helps in communicating a set of consistent messages to a consistent target market. In other words, a business is branded when it has these 4 key elements of branding;

Consistent Actions
Consistent Results
Consistent Messages
Consistent Target Market

The key word underlying these four important elements of branding is consistency. At the core of branding is consistency. All the logo design, corporate colour, slogan, brochure designs and any other creative activities are all tools for re-enforcing the consistency of the brand. Consistency is the foundation on which trust is built and market recognition is nurtured. Consistency is about coherence, integration and harmony. Meaning, everything you do in your business as a company starting from your actions, results and messages must be in alignment with the target market you are in business to satisfy. Tito Philips Jnr. is a young Nigerian that is M.A.D – Making A Difference.


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