Comment: The importance of a brand

By: David Boyce, CEO, NZ Trucking Association


Learn the importance of good brand image, it's benefits, and how to build your brand, even if you're a small business

Many small businesses make the mistake of thinking that a brand is something that only large companies have and, therefore, it’s not something they should spend time working on. But a brand is more than just a logo you put on signs and business cards.

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It’s the identity or image of your business and the first thing people think of when they think of you.

Having a good brand image will make it easier to get new customers, make your company more recognisable, and give your staff a sense of pride for where they work.

It also means customers or potential clients will think of you first when they are in need of your service. How you build your brand is a large part of what will determine your success in the market. So how do you build your brand?

Determine your target audience

Are there certain traits your customers have in common? Are there common reasons why customers buy from you instead of competitors? Do you brand yourself in a way that will appeal to these customers? You can’t target your brand towards everyone and everything, but with a target audience in mind, you can tailor your identity and mission directly to your customers.

Create and refine your value proposition

When you know who your target audience is, you should build your value proposition or mission statement. Your value proposition tells your customers and potential clients why they should buy from you instead of a competitor and should be based on areas of your business or service that customers like.

A generic statement will produce generic results, but a targeted one can connect with customers and give you an advantage over your competitors.

Make customer service a priority

If your customer service is terrible, then regardless of how nice your logo or business cards are, customers won’t come back and word of mouth will drive away potential clients. These days, there are many businesses competing in the same industry, and it’s more difficult than ever to retain customers.

Good customer service builds trust and poor customer service gives customers a good reason to look at a competitor. Customer service often matters even more to customers than price.

Great customer service is also a powerful tool for increasing your brand awareness, as your customers will let others know about it. Your employees need to understand they are representatives of your business, and everything they do will reflect on your company and its brand.

Have a good company name and logo

It almost goes without saying but your company name and logo are the first things a customer will see on your printed material, websites, social media, business cards, advertising, signage, or products.

A memorable name and logo make your company much more recognisable. It can be difficult to define exactly what a good name or logo is, but when thinking about a company name, a good start would be asking yourself whether the name sounds good when said aloud, whether it conveys the meaning, and whether it is able to be trademarked and not too generic. 

Have a consistent social media presence

There are a number of social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. While a company website is great for ensuring customers have access to all the information they need, a social media presence can ensure that they don’t forget about you.

Taking advantage of such sites is an easy way to reach out to potential customers and also connect with other businesses. Posting semi-frequently helps to increase your brand exposure, is low-cost advertising for your business, and lets you connect with your customers in a more personal manner.

It can also help to increase your companies rank in search engine results, meaning when people search Google for services in your industry, you can appear near the top.

Keep your promises

While it might seem like common sense, many businesses ruin their relationship with their customers by making promises and then failing to deliver.

If you deliver on time, for the promised price, and with a high level of service, customers will keep coming back and refer you to others.

It’s of utmost importance that you meet—or better exceed—the expectations of new customers. If you oversell your product and then under deliver, disappointed customers will not want to do business with you again. You should keep a written record of things, such as due dates, specific promises, and special offers, and these should be conveyed clearly to customers.

Deliver value for money

Customers don’t want to feel ripped off when they pay for your service. You don’t necessarily have to offer the lowest prices, but your customers should feel like they got what they paid for and good value for money when then pay for your service. Businesses that deliver a great customer experience retain customers and grow.

When you consider what value your service delivers to customers, you need to ask yourself some questions: what sets you apart from your competitors? What value do you provide to customers and how does is that different to what your competitors offer? How could you improve your customer experience more?

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