Having built several multi-million dollar companies from scratch and a global brand ‘Naked’ which boasts restaurants, beauty bars, coffee shops, particularly popular in Malaysia and now a new cosmetic brand, ‘NKDb’ by 4th Base Cosmetics, launching in April in the UK, award winning global entrepreneur, , gives his expert advice on how to brand your business for global success.
You have created a world class company. Your product is perfect, your customer service of the highest quality; you are unique and your price is on point. All is set for global success, yes? Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. I’m never one to shoot down the efforts of others, but in a day and age where children as young as two can point to the golden arches of McDonald’s in desire of a happy meal long before they can say ‘chicken nuggets,’ nailing your branding can and will be the element that makes or breaks your business.
Apple, Virgin, the simple Nike swish. These brand identities are widespread across the globe and recognised by almost all, regardless of age or nationality.
These brands look unique. They have an image and identity that suggests the product is inimitable. Clearly, one fast-food cheeseburger is much like any other and unfortunately a tick on the side of your trainers will not make you faster. Yet still, brands such as these consistently maintain a fan base, regardless of whether another brand offers higher quality or lower cost. They have you hooked. Why? Mostly, it is not what they are flogging but how they are branded.
Whilst, as a consumer, you may dislike the idea that you are easily swayed by aesthetics, as a businessman or entrepreneur looking to build a brand, you will relish the human desire for a brand that is pleasing to the eye.
To ensure your brand not only hooks consumers from launch, but develops long term relationships with them that will enable your business to grow on a global scale, here are my top tips:
Being bold isn’t enough
It may seem obvious that bold branding will set you apart but I would suggest surpassing this. Don’t just be bold, be controversial, as controversial as you dare. I opened a restaurant in Malaysia and named it Naked. To call a new restaurant Naked in a Muslim country was certainly provocative but I gained more exposure prior to opening than I could have ever wished for. From newspaper headlines to TV discussions, everyone knew about Naked in Malaysia and I had achieved my goal of attracting a clientele that was looking to be seen in an up-and-coming, talked about hotspot before I even opened the doors.
I am not the first one to have done this. Just look at Richard Branson with Virgin in post-box red, certainly another equally contentious image, but look how it scaled globally to become one of, if not the most successful franchise world-wide.
Brand to expand
Both Naked and Virgin create an image that in not linked by time, location or product and thus these images enable the scalability of the brand far and wide both in product offering and location. It is important that your branding is not so specific either to one product or a certain place, for instance, that it is unable to grow. Think big even if you start small. For this reason, it must be relatable and easy to apply elsewhere.
Starting small helps to mitigate risk. This is key when starting any brand and increasingly saturated markets, establishing a global brand is becoming even more challenging. To lessen the risk you take when starting up consider where you decide to start your brand first.
Establishing a brand in a country where start-up costs and red tape are less overwhelming than in the UK will help to mitigate the risk of delays and unexpected costs when you have less time or budget for it.
You should also consider testing your brand out on a small scale before jumping in the deep end. If you are selling a product, perhaps after you have invested time and money into creating your product and implementing the branding techniques above, you should gauge appetite for it online before renting floor space. You can always grow but you don’t want to have to downsize.
Leveraging your brand on social media has never been more important. Twitter, Facebook and Instagram speak to the consumer masses and help you build a customer base globally. Invest time in building up an identity for you brand on social media and money where possible in sponsoring posts to boost your brands visibility. However, it is very important not to treat social media like a running advert. Consumers will switch off to this and regard your brand spam. Be smart with your posts- publish content that appeals to the consumer there and then. For example, if it’s Friday, consider posting a ‘TGIF’ (thank god it’s Friday) animated Gif that your following will find amusing and retweet- seeding your brand’s profile far and wide. Commentary on news in the sector keeps your content fresh and engaging but always have your audience in mind- if you were one of your followers- what would appeal to you? Also consider timing- posting early in the morning and late afternoon will catch people on their commutes meaning there would be more chance of them seeing your posts.
Now, being beautiful in the most common sense may not be relevant for all businesses but almost every brand, regardless of whether they are selling luxury goods or plumbing services, will benefit from slick aesthetics. This is all the more important in this day and age when it is so easy to get on your smartphone and google the name of a company. Immediately your potential customer will have made a judgement about your brand on how you have presented it on a screen. Is your website pleasing to the eye? Does your logo look modern and are you colour themes consistent across all your social media profiles?
You must look at your brand as if you were a potential customer being presented with this image for the first time. If it does not sing for the right reasons, it has also never been easier to go back to the search engine and click on the link below to another business offering something similar. In an instant you have lost a customer, possibly for good. Get it right and they may be yours forever.
Marco Robinson is a Number 1 bestselling author and award winning entrepreneur, winning Tatler’s Best Restaurants, 2015, and the People’s Choice I-Property Best Real Estate Investor, 2015. Marco is author of the ‘The Financial Freedom Guarantee’, a guide which advises on how to sack your boss and become financially independent! https://marcorobinson.com/