Marketing Head, VRLA Manufacturing Company
Need to understand benefits of branding.
Despite the fact that branding is absolutely imperative for the business like small and medium enterprises (SMEs), we still seem to be unaware of the advantages that corporate branding has to offer. It is indeed sad that only a handful of marketers today believe in the brand-building process and most companies do not perceive the benefits in transforming their businesses into strong, clear and differentiated brands.
What most Marketers fail to see is that branding can bring in new business, exclusive clients, and an opportunity to eventually garner higher revenues and thus ensure long-term profitability?.
I believe that intelligent branding serves to create confidence not only in one's business, but also in one's products and service offerings. Which means that this confidence impacts not only the Marketers and his employees, but most importantly, the customers too?
A Marketer who wants to take that first step to prepare a branding strategy, I would strongly suggest that one needs to first have a thorough understanding of one's customers or target market, and business offerings including one's competition. After a thorough research in these areas, he would be in a better position to identify how to best position his business. Undeniably, effective branding usually allows a business to charge more for its products thus leading to increased profit margins.
Another trend I have noticed is that established SMEs often make the mistake of assuming that branding is not important for them and that only new players need to worry about it. On the contrary, branding is equally important for both new and old businesses, owing to the fact that effective branding strategies significantly help a company in creating a highly effective and well-established corporate identity.
I would like to reiterate the fact that for any Marketers, a strong brand image can prevent the erosion of market share of one's products, ensure higher growth margins and can serve as a weapon against consumers switching to products offered by one's competitors.
Consistency key to successful branding
What is your favorite brand of laptop, hair dye, tooth paste, or electric vehicles? There are thousands of companies that are producing these categories of product, but when confronted with such a question, most of us would hardly take more than a few seconds to give our answers. We have only a few names picked out for each. That's how branding works. It helps one to quickly differentiate a product or a service from other similar products or services. From a marketer's point of view, branding, therefore, can be a magic wand for success.
Is it possible for a small firm to become the most talked about brand in the market? Some skeptics view it is difficult -- nearly impossible -- to create a successful brand while big guys are competing for share of the same cake. But I believe otherwise, and there is no dearth of small business success stories to support my view. Any business, big or small, can build a sensational brand from scratch, and many small and medium enterprises (SMEs) already did that in the past with extraordinary success. For example, Nirma, once started as a one-product, one-man outfit from a 100 sq ft room in 1969, is today among the most well-known brands in its category in and around the country.
Today, every small business owner knows that branding is critical to business, but many still do not seem to have a clear idea how a brand image could be created. Their efforts just never go beyond creating a unique logo, launching a product, marketing it, and putting some money on advertising. Of course, these factors are important by their own means, but branding does not happen that way. You cannot create a lasting impression just by doing that.
At the heart of branding, there must be consistency, determination and integrity.
None can create a successful brand within a few months. You have to think long-term, and work constantly on how your company can be transformed into a renowned brand. Branding is all about creating a lasting impression in your prospective customers' mind, and naturally it will take time. The journey is usually very long and tiring -- most of the times generating no immediate result. Only those who are determined enough not to give up can succeed.
Consistency and integrity are crucial. No doubt, a unique product may help you attract your prospects, or your marketing efforts will let them know about your brand, but so long you don't take these actions consistently, you can hardly move a step forward in creating a successful brand. In addition, branding must be built on what is true. You have to do what you say, deliver what you promise, and better if you over-deliver.
Market research Market research takes one's business to the next level! It is perhaps time for businesses to work out new strategies to succeed in a highly competitive global scenario. And the best way to succeed is to take up a thorough market research.
Invariably, the ultimate goal of any company is to sell its products or services to its customers. To be able to achieve this primary goal one needs to understand one's customers and their buying behavior. Businesses need to gather, analyze and interpret information on customers, market, market niches and competition. Undeniably, today, market research is an integral part of any business planning.
The first and foremost step in this direction would be to understand one's existing and potential customers. Try to find a suitable answer to the vital question: 'Why would he buy from me?' Moreover, a business must take into account the sensibilities of the end users while making their marketing strategies.
Any marketing guru will tell you that to do business without knowing the requirements of your customers is like shooting an arrow in the dark. Now, the question is: are you aware of what the end user sees or wants from your product or service? If not, you are missing out on a lot!
For an exporter, market research can go a long way in identifying several issues and help in discovering opportunities existing in the current markets or in the imminent future. Market research can help evaluate various decisions taken earlier by the management and subsequently to look for alternatives that best define the company's goals.
Exporting will always be mired in problems and issues which can be successfully negated thorough market research. Identifying the potential of a particular geographical market and to understand strategic control of that market by competitors is imperative for a business to succeed.
Market research can provide value accretions to businesses which provide both sustainability of business and viable returns based on accurate decision making mix. Market research can give a company the advantage of taking major decisions related to its product range, pricing, promotional measures and distribution channels.
So instead of crying over the decisions taken by the government to scrap schemes like DEPB (Duty entitlement Pass book) is an export incentive scheme, we need to see the positives and move on. Our success is in our own hands and to succeed, one needs to do a lot of planning! So are you ready?
Experts on Marketing
Kotak Mahindra Bank