Branding should start from the perception of customers
Brand is all the perception of consumers and targeted customers have about the products or the enterprises. To customers, brand represents the attraction, total value or unique features that help them recognize and distinguish one product from another.
Therefore, a brand is much more than just a product. Only when a product embodies visible, invisible and psychological factors of an enterprise can it become a brand. In other words, only when a brand is accepted by consumers can it stand.
The key ideas in a branding strategy are the methods of structuring, managing and positioning brand (of products/services and enterprises). To build a brand strategy, enterprises need to base it on the comprehensive business strategy, competitive strategy, marketing strategy…
Branding strategy needs to harmonize with media strategy to ensure that brand is always properly positioned and maintained in the mind of customers. This harmony resembles the combination of physical and mental training of a person.
In the context of knowledge economy development trend, information explosion and social media nowadays, branding and media strategies of enterprises are playing a more prominent role, even a critical factor of a business strategy. Building a brand is not enough; it is making people know, understand and accept it that guarantees the success of branding.
Hence, branding should not be restricted internally; it should be directly promoted at the market to make a strong impression on the customers.
Without a brand, it would cost an enterprise a great amount of time, effort and money to persuade customers to purchase their high-end products or services. This could raise cost for personnel hiring, prolong sales cycle, and lead to a loss of profit in the long run.
Protecting the brand in a crisis
To handle a PR crisis, the sincere attitude of enterprises would win the trust of customers, which helps reclaim everything. In terms of particular methods for crisis management, it is necessary to prepare for any possible situations, assess the risks, identify the potential threats, and prepare a plan to tackle all of them.
Concurrently, enterprises should promptly respond to public opinion, identify the problems, pledge to pursue investigation… but it does not mean enterprises have to instantly claim responsibility for the crisis. Immediate responses indicate the penitent and responsible attitude. However, the transparency of investigation process and the publication of investigation report must be absolutely guaranteed to reassure public opinion.
Some basic solutions for a PR crisis is: optimizing the press as a channel of communication, using correct information to refute false one, and rectifying mistakes.
Enterprises should not try to immediately remove the articles on mass media, or remain silent to elude their responsibility. Whether it is a large enterprise with well-earned reputation or an inexperienced start-up, sincerity would help them gain the trust of customers and everything would follow.
An excellent reputation is not earned by not creating crises but by handling them skillfully. Sometimes, it can even turn a small risk into a good chance to promote the influence among the public.
In any case, whether we are right or wrong, even when legal instruments are needed, the responsible manner of the enterprises during the crisis could provoke positive reaction from the public.
Apparently, in the context of close integration nowadays, in commercial transactions, there are no “winner” and “loser” any more. Both sides should aim at a “win-win” result, and customers should be the one that enjoy the most benefits.
Competition on the market and the brand economy
In a market and globalized economy, the terminology of “knowledge economy” is regularly mentioned but “brand economy” is not, though it is quite important.
“Branding” has been a familiar terminology of Economics and Marketing rather than only a trademark, which could bring a great amount of profit up to billions of dollars. Therefore, it is easy to understand that since “M&A tidal wave” fiercely hit Vietnam in the race for brand positioning, domestic enterprises have been pushed into an intensely competitive game named “brand economy”.
In the world, brand equity becomes an economic influence and a widely-accepted terminology. Some locally and internationally famous brands gain the ultimate “soft power”, which not only substantially boosts the revenues of their own enterprises but also stimulates the national economy, especially when they have a dominant influence over the market by an effective strategy of brand acquisition.