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Picture the scenario. You have invested a substantial portion of your marketing budget in to a new website. You have set it live and are waiting for the business to come rolling in. Problem! Your new site looks great but your customers still have no idea why they should buy from you. What makes you different? Why should they spend their hard-earned money with you?

In our post-recession price sensitive marketplace the small differences can make a huge difference when it comes to your customers deciding to buy a product from you instead of your competition. Research and consumer psychology provides a valuable insight in to the buying cycle and shows that time after time the mass consumer is more likely to buy from a trusted ‘brand’ even if the price is slightly higher than the after-market alternative.

Developing consumer trust in your brand is one of the key components in developing your overall brand strategy and can be heavily tied in with the long-term success of your business. As your business grows and passes each successful milestone your customer’s requirements are likely to evolve and in simple terms the bigger you get the more your customers will demand from you.

Creating a powerful brand can be a profound and exciting journey which I would encourage all business owners to embark on regardless of your company’s size or offering. Your brand starts with you and the people in your business, it comes from the blood and sweat that you pump in everyday as you cross the threshold. As the leader of a successful business this responsibility must start and finish with you.

The first step is to quantify your personal and professional values and use these a basis to grow your brand. Speak with your customers to find out what they believe you do well and what you do poorly. Then speak to prospective customers who don’t know you and ask them what they want in a preferred service provider/ product supplier. Finally look at your competitors in razor sharp detail to analyse what they do well and what you can take from them.

Use all this insight to help form a vision for how you want to be perceived in your target marketplace and across the wider consumer world. Create a short and simple statement that embodies your company’s vision. This will be your brand essence. For a clear example of a good brand essence take a look at EasyJet. Their brand essence is ‘The no frills airline’.

The key now is to ensure that this new ’brand essence’ is rolled out across every aspect of your business from your hiring strategy to your operation processes, and most importantly across your business development and marketing planning. The final part of developing your brand is consistency. You must promote your brand message consistently over a sustained period to ensure that your customers understand why they should choose you over the competition. If the message is not consistent it will quickly become diluted and blurry in today’s ‘connected’ world where brands are fighting for the trust of the consumer.

by Austin Waddecar on 11/03/2014

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