Successful people or businesses ride on impressive and formidable brand equities. Some names are synonymous with certain skills, trades or vocations. When you mention Pablo Picasso, we know you are talking about painting. When you hear Wole Soyinka, you know it is about English Literature. Tiger Woods will bring golf sport to your mind, just as Serena Williams will bring tennis game to your consciousness. All these examples have succeeded in building their brand equities, and their services keep riding on their brands.
What is Brand Equity? “Brand equity is the value premium that a company realizes from a product with a recognizable name as compared to its generic equivalent.”(Investopedia.com). A brand’s power is derived from the goodwill and name recognition that it has earned over time, which translates into higher sales volume and higher profit margins against competing brands.(Business dictionary.com). Brand Equity has value and can be measured. However that is not the thrust of this write up. Our focus today is how to build your personal or business brand equity.
First, it is important to note that brand equity grows from brand’s presence, value, perception by customer, and loyalty by customer. James Carnrite listed the four components of brand equity as Brand Recognition, Brand Experience, Brand Preference and Brand Loyalty.
To achieve these, you need the following :
Create a niche: Define your market and carve out a position in the market that you are best positioned to serve relative to other providers of the same service or product. You might find a cost advantage position, a technology advantage position or a skill advantage position. Without a strong niche, you can’t build a strong brand. This is what will determine how your presence will be felt in the market. In the world of story telling, Nnamanda Ngozi Adichie has created a niche for herself as a non-fiction story writer. Find your niche, usually in what you can do better than anyone else.
Service Excellence: Beyond niche, you need service excellence to keep your market loyal to you. So whatever it is you offer must be delivered with excellence. Excellence in service delivery, after sale, and support is key. How can people reach you? How easy is it to pay for your services. Is your product or service worth just the exact value you have placed on it, or there is a premium that makes people feel they have more than enough value for their money? It must be total service excellence.
Business or Personal Character: With your niche and great service, if you lack the right character, you can’t build a successful brand. As a matter of fact, you will have a negative brand. It is important to define your values and let them guide you in your transactions and dealings. Be a promise keeper. Be a builder. Don’t be known as a bad employer. Aim to be the best place to work or the best person to work with. You can’t command good brand perception if you have a bad image out there. One of the reasons why we invest a lot in attracting foreign investments is because of our poor national character. Investors are interested in your character more than your skills or services.
Be Open: Honesty and transparency are great door openers. Be ready to admit your mistakes and to learn from them. Don’t be a buck passer. Be straight in your dealings. Communicate the features of your product or service correctly. Don’t promise what you can’t deliver. Be known for your integrity.
Social Responsibility: either as an individual or an organization, be socially responsible. Identify a good social cause to invest in. Be responsible to your environment. Be responsible to your immediate community. Make your presence felt.
In summary, a strong brand equity can keep you going when the chips are down and others are struggling. It is wise to build a strong brand equity.
God bless us all.
Good morning Africa!
Good morning Nigeria!