7 ways to use your brand to accelerate your business – part 2

Last week, I released part 1 of this little two part series on the topic of branding. More specifically – how can you build a brand that means something and has the power to drive your ambitious business? It’s a big question – even for an article in two parts – but I do hope that here I can get you started on the right track. Part 1 can be found here, and read on for part 2.
5.   Make magic with you story if you have one
Most entrepreneurial brands have one consistent thing – a powerful start-up story – and it can add depth and integrity to a brand for customers.
At Ella’s Kitchen, Paul Lindley’s job title is simply Ella’s Dad because he started the business to solve the problem of his daughter’s dislike of healthy foods. At bespoke tailoring company A Suit That Fits, the wonderful story of co-founder Warren teaching in Nepal underpins the ethical manufacture that continues to this day – and customers relate to the brand more because of this. So if you have a story, make it part of your brand make-up.
6.   Spread your brand everywhere you go
Once you’ve got clear on what you want to mean have fun spreading it everywhere – using every touch point with your customer as an opportunity to create a good impression.
Innocent drinks is the original brand that created such a strong and personable brand that came alive everywhere. Why did they do it? Because it created a brand that customers loved so much, that when a multitude of competitors entered the market – including many lower priced supermarket versions – customers still chose them and the brand continue to grow.
Similarly, Moo created themselves a compelling personable brand because it helped to simplify printing and make it accessible. In so doing, they have revolutionised the industry. They have branded everything right down to their automated emails – which they send from their ‘little print robot’ – which leaves a strong impression in the mind of their consumer. That impression drives word-of-mouth, and that turns into free marketing that Vista Print could only dream of.
7.   Put your brand values at the core of everything you do
You cannot be superficial about your brand. We have all had instances when a brand that says they are ‘all about the customer’ has customer service that simply isn’t. It lets you down, and you don’t trust them again.
This is why you have to define how your brand should act and make it run through the core of the business like the writing through a stick of rock. Every touch point that a customer has with the business – from the packaging, product and the customer service staff – must act in a way to positively reflect the brand.
John Lewis realised they had got in a bad place in this way – recognising that nothing made them stand out from their cluttered department store market. What they did in response is truly impressive. They defined that they wanted a brand ethos of ‘exceptional customer service’. But they didn’t just decide it then advertise it as their new tag-line. They built it into the very fabric of their company, even restructuring their company to make their shop assistants ‘partners’ who feel part of ‘their’ store and therefore always deliver great service. This is branding at it’s very best – and it is a vital lesson for young businesses planning to scale: Left undefined, the way the founders or management team do things gets lost through the business and the customer experience becomes lacklustre, so define it early and don’t fall into the trap.
Branding is a complex and emotionally led business, but has tremendous power in its ability to connect with customers and drive that all-important thing called ‘loyalty’ that every high-growth business wants.
 
Written by Christina, a business marketing specialist and founder of The Nurture Network: The on-demand marketing department for ambitious start-ups, and entrepreneurial SMEs  – bringing great marketing people into your team just when you need them. 
More about Christina:
Christina is a marketing specialist, business strategist, as well as an all round make-stuff-happen type.  She spent much of her career managing and growing FMCG brands worth in excess of £100 million, and then founded The Nurture Network, the UK’s on-demand marketing department for ambitious SMEs; and co-founded the Brand Gathering community to help young businesses achieve more by working together. 
Christina’s extensive experience working with entrepreneurs and dynamic businesses mean she is a much in demand thought-leader; she is a business mentor at University College London, a Titan for School for Start-ups and a regular speaker at industry events including those at The British Library and Google Campus. She writes regularly for the likes of Marketing Donut and GrowthAccelerator as well as the business publications of HSBC, BT and Vodaphone. Her mission is to revolutionise marketing for ambitious start-up brands.