Guide

Branding: the basics

Your brand and your customers

Knowing what your customers want and how you can deliver it is an integral part of the branding process. You need to know what drives your customers, and what makes them buy. In most cases, it's not only about price or performance.

Researching what customers want

Ask existing customers what they like about doing business with you and ask potential customers what they are looking for.

If your brand values are in line with what customers look for when they're buying, you have the beginnings of a useful brand and you're ready to start building on it. However, if they're not, you'll need to reconsider either the benefits you offer to your customers or whether you're targeting the right people.

For example, a clothes shop that has high end fashion as a brand value can capitalise on it if its customers and potential customers want to buy the trendiest clothes. However, if its customer base is made up of, those brand values may not be in line with customers' buying needs.

Read more about customer research: what you need to know.

Communicating your brand to customers

Once you have defined your brand values and your customers' needs, you can start to build your brand by consistently communicating your brand values.

Remember that every possible contact you have with a customer or potential customer needs to reinforce your brand values. This may include your logo, business name, staff uniforms and product packaging.

If all these are consistently in line with your brand values, your brand will be strengthened. But if they are not, your brand - and your business - could be damaged.

Get regular feedback from satisfied customers to check that your business is consistently delivering on the promises your brand makes. Ask dissatisfied customers or former customers for feedback as well - you can gain valuable, and sometimes more honest, information from them about how your brand is perceived.

You should remember that your customers can change too. Read more about brand management techniques.