How important do you think branding is? To answer that, think of Calvin Klein, Puma, Nike, Levi’s and Gucci; do they all create an image in your head? Branding is essential and can propel your business to unfathomable success if done right. The best fashion brands are etched into our psyche, whether we buy their products or not, we can spot their products instantaneously.
Effective branding occurs when you create a unique image of a product or service in a customer’s mind through consistent advertising. However, branding is more than just a logo, it is a culmination of a business’s values, hopes, story and integrity. When you think about it, your brand is as important as your product. There are several elements that integrate to communicate your brand including the logo, web design, colors and packaging. There are a few things to consider as you start the branding process of your business.
Your brand is personal
To build a great brand, you must look at the story your business wants to tell. It sounds like abstract advice, but what this means is that your brand should have a story behind it. Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be and how you want people to identify you. Simply put, don’t come up with a brand that is not personal, and don’t try to imitate or create a brand for the sake of creating a brand. Your brand needs to feel real, personal and meaningful. If that doesn’t happen, there will be an obvious disconnect between your business and your brand. So study your business, your products, services, how your business makes you feel, the sort of image you want others to see when they think of your business, and from there start visualizing your brand. Along with your name, a well-thought-out brand makes it easier for consumers to understand what your business is all about and will help in marketing and advertising.
Two examples of well-thought out brands are Alexander McQueen and Nike.
As the fashion industry grows, it is becoming harder to make your brand unique and memorable to people. What differentiates you from other similar businesses is not just your logo, tagline or colors, it is what services or products you offer that sets you apart from all other competing companies. In other words, it relates to your business’s area of specialization. It doesn’t have to be major; it can be a small signature difference. Uniqueness makes it easier for potential customers to detect who you are and choose you as their preference over another similar business.
In terms of branding, differentiation can mean anything from the physical characteristics of your product or service to pricing and customer experience with your brand. There are several ways to make your brand stand out, the skill mostly lies in developing a brand differentiation strategy. Some of these methods include;
- Pricing; you can differentiate yourself from competition by varying the cost of your products or services. So, you can either offer best value products, low prices with great quality or offer premium products with high prices.
- Have a niche; by specializing on a certain product or service you become an expert in your specific area, and thus creating high quality products/services while limiting your competition.
- Memorable buying experience; your business should always go above and beyond when it comes to customer service. Make your customers feel special by offering unique additional services.
- Convenience; the easier you make the life of your buyers, the more desirable your brand will be. Thus, things like delivery, online cash payment, strong social media presence for queries makes you stand out against other businesses.
- Give back; if your brand is involved in some sort of community service, then that creates brand loyalty among your customers, they are proud to be associated with your brand. As a result, corporate social responsibility is vital in emotionally tying your customers to your brand. See Buyu.
It’s not easy to differentiate yourself from other businesses, especially seeing how crowded the fashion industry is these days, you will need to conduct a great deal of market research and analysis.
URU Diamonds is a Tanzanian jewelry line founded in 2009 that offers mesmerizing bracelets, pendants and chains among others. URU Diamonds is an example of a brand that has quickly expanded from Africa, to the Middle East, Europe and America because of its high quality and exclusive accessories.
What makes their products so unique is that they incorporate traditional African techniques to make their jewelry. Their bracelet straps for instance, are made from hand knotted threads or natural leathers in a diverse range of colors and designs. In addition, their pieces are created using hand-cast precious metal, gold and silver combined with rough gemstones like emeralds, diamonds, sapphires, tanzanite and tsavorte. Despite their great value, their jewelry is surprisingly reasonably priced with some retailing at Ksh. 20,000.
Needless to say, due to their high quality products and the distinctive method they use to make their jewelry, URU Diamonds has captured the attention of many and not just in Africa. Moreover, in cooperation with SOS Children’s Village, URU Diamonds donates 10% of its profit to support the education and welfare of children in mining areas.
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