Creating a consistent image for your brand can facilitate a closer connection between your business and your clients, particularly if you run a service company as opposed to one with physical products. A brand gives clients something tangible to relate to and form opinions about. But they are not the only ones for whom you should build your brand image.
How you define your company will also dictate the role it assumes in its sector and local business community. The way peers and prospects view your brand is intertwined – if you strive to be seen as an authority in your industry in the eyes of potential clients, it is likely that competitors will have the same impression.
Branding requires reflection
While you may have thought about how you want your clients to perceive your business (as an expert and/or a company that prioritizes service), your standing in relation to competitors will also influence their opinions. Differentiating factors not only serve to help prospects identify with your company and decide whether they want to establish relationships with you. It also gives you something on which to focus, a goal you and your team members can work toward every day.
By establishing your brand, you have drawn a line in the sand and stated that “this is who we are.” That is now a measure against which all other competitors will compare their own efforts. For a client-focused business, the others in your sector will be either better or worse at delivering service that satisfies their clients. If you brand yourself as an expert, competitors will be more knowledgeable or less so.
This is the scale against which your prospects will judge your business when weighing their other options. Your brand must be relevant in your industry and to your consumers. In order to do that, Joel Rubinson, chief research officer for the Advertising Research Foundation, suggests in a piece for Fast Company that your offering must be functional(providing a solution), social (something to which the prospects can relate), self-expressive (standing for a clear message and mission) and content focused (being relevant and staying top of mind). This last component is one of the most crucial – the material you present on your website, in blogs, on social platforms, in newspaper articles and during seminars is how you can demonstrate your expertise and credibility.
You need to spend some time considering what role you want to play in the sector. For instance, will you be the company that is most accessible to clients? Or would you rather be seen as a selective organization that is the top of its class? How will your client relationship management practices compare to those of your competitors? How do your product offerings differ from others?