History has it that some of the greatest brands were built in the midst of a crisis. Entrepreneurs by nature are problem solvers, problems emanate from crises and in the midst of these crises that’s the right time to rise and build a strong brand that will survive in the crisis and beyond. Did you know that Hewlett-Packard (HP), Microsoft and Uber are amongst some of the companies founded during a recession? Here in Zimbabwe we have Nash Holding and Impala Car Rentals that were established in the 2006-08 economic crisis. Let us get in detail of how one can build a brand in the midst of the pandemic
Know your business
The first crucial step towards building a brand is in knowing your business. Sounds silly, isn’t? But we have seen some entrepreneurs confused over what they should really offer in their business, their values and message, mission and vision and how to monetize.
Then another class often struggle to describe the value in their services and products and the problem they are solving. To be able to generate revenue in business, you should be having a real problem you are solving. Your product or service should be an adequate solution to the problem you will be solving, when you know your service or product, it becomes easier to craft marketing messages that will attract clients.
You should as well know the current state of your business and where you wish to take it. You should ask yourself questions below:
Is my business growing?
Are my products and services selling?
Where do we want to be before year-end and in +5 years to come?
When you answer such questions, it is time to employ a rightful strategy with clear steps on how you will get to year-end, how you are going to grow and possibly diversify. That is a vision, and a vision is one thing that motivates entrepreneurs to keep on going regardless of the challenges they face in their journey.
Know your Target audience
Another important part in developing a brand is in knowing you target audience.
Whom am I targeting?
You should be able to define your target audience by interest, location, age group and perhaps gender. When you clearly understand your target audience, put yourself in their shoes and again ask yourself this:
What do they need?
What are their frustrations?
How can we deliver beyond their expectations?
The strength of an entrepreneur lies in how much he or she relates to his customers. Asking yourself such questions will ultimately lead to a product or service that will be outstanding in the market. Be ahead of your potential customer and be able to provide something they need before they realise they need it.
When you fully understand you target audience, think of where they are found and establish yourself in those places.
Does my targeted audience read newspapers?
Does it listen to radios?
Do they spend most of their time on social media?
Having answers to these questions will greatly assist you in coming up with your marketing channels and strategy.
Put a team and the rightful resources together
After knowing your business and your target audience, you definitely need to put a team and the rightful resources together.
It is unfortunate that when you are still a start-up you are forced to keep your team as small as possible. In that regard, you have to identify key skills that your business needs. If you have some of the skills then you may do it yourself. However, if you don’t have some of the key skills you may have to hire someone. Hiring helps you in delivering quality services that will lead to customer satisfaction, hence a good brand name. With your team, carry out a brand review from time to time. Analysing your business process and making them more efficient to customers.
Being a start-up also requires you to work with limited resources whilst not compromising customer satisfaction. There are some resources that are key enablers in starting a brand and you might need to put together those resources as well before you start your business. Imagine yourself as a customer wanting your services or products. How are you going to know of the business, what channels will you follow, how will you close a sale and what are the after sales services? These questions will help you in identifying the key resources that your business would need.
Employ the right business model and strategy
The next step towards building a great brand is on employing the right business models that enables the business to generate revenue, hence fostering sustainability and growth. There are quite a number of revenue generating models you can consider depending on the business you are pursuing, but one way to summarise all this is through the business model canvass. You should be able to fill in every tile of the diagram. Attached below is a template of the business model canvas. You can also read more on the business model canvas through the next link:
Building a brand is a process it requires patients and consistency. However, a good strategy can always make things faster. Seat down with your team, do a diagnostic of your current position, discuss where you want to be in a specific period and brainstorm on how you can get there with minimum resources and at the shortest possible time.
Branding is an investment
In your journey towards building a business, branding is a key investment. Engage a branding consultant and come up with a logo that represents your company. A logo that speaks to your customers about the quality of your services. The same goes towards coming up with corporate colours, company profile, service brochures and fliers.
Branding is an investment; let it speak to your customers before you say a word. It gives the first impression to a prospect and the first impressions always matters in business.
Capitalise on strong digital presence
We are now in a world where your prospects spend more than 90% of their time on phones. You need to capitalize on this by building a strong digital presence. Have business pages on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media platforms that your potential customers spend their time on.
Most clients are now searching for goods or services they intend to buy online, have a good looking and interactive website that answers all the questions a prospect might be having. Also capitalise on Search Engine Optimisation (S.E.O) and other features that helps you stand out of the crowd.
Focus on customer retention as much as you do on customer acquisition
Most entrepreneurs often focus on acquiring customers only. However, you should go beyond that and employ strategies that promote customer retention. Always make sure that the customer is satisfied and he or she gets value for his or her money. At some point, you should not only think like the seller, you should also think like the buyer that is how best you can promote customer retention.
Carry out business reviews and be consistent
Building a great brand requires you to carry out business reviews from time to time. This will enable you to always improve your product or service. Never as an entrepreneur reach a point you are satisfied with your product or services. Always find ways to improve.
You cannot however carry out reviews if you are not keeping track of your business. Always compile reports and learn from failures or setbacks. There are also bad days in business and those days can be easily identified if you are keeping track of your business. The earlier you notice setbacks the better, employ the right strategy to grow from then.