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  • Writer's pictureAminu Hashim

Making your business your brand with brand associations

A big mistake many new business owners make is to focus on the brands they carry, and not on their own name. Because different manufacturers and product lines fall in and out of favor, build your business with an eye on establishing your store name as a recognisable brand. If you do this, your store will stay strong regardless of fluctuating trends.

Promote your store’s name, not the name of a manufacturer. Repeat this phrase 100 times, write it on the blackboard another 100 times — and before you go to sleep every night, say it again. (I know I am being a pain about this, but it’s that important.)

Your goal should be to carry merchandise that is unique to your store. People go to Mr Price because of the quality and style of their merchandise. People go to Chicken Republic because its meals are affordable and tasty, not because it gets its meat from Zartech or the open market. The affordability and taste of the meals is what distinguishes Chicken Republic from its competitors — what builds its brand.

Understanding brand associations

Branding is a game of associations. When you think of McDonald’s, you have a whole set of associations such as fast food, inexpensive, good place to take the kids, delicious French fries, clean — I could go on and on. As a retailer, you need to control the associations the public makes with your business as much as possible. The following is a list of the most common brand associations and the reactions they elicit from customers:

  • Familiarity: “I’ve heard of them!” (This one’s still number one with me!) 􏰁

  • Reliability: “You can count on them.”

  • Service: “They’ll be there to help if something goes wrong.”

  • 􏰁Quality: “Their stuff really holds up over time.”

  • Consistency: “I know they’ll have it.” (Whatever “it” may be.)

  • 􏰁Security: “You’re safe doing business with them.”

  • 􏰁Value: “You will always get your money’s worth at their store.”

  • 􏰁Speed: “If you’re in a hurry, go there.”

  • 􏰁Strength: “Their products are powerful and dependable.” (For example, Ford trucks are “Ford tough.”)

I could go on and on about the emotions that are associated with brands. But now it’s time to take a little of what you know about brands and brand associations and put this knowledge to work.

To help you focus on a brand for your store, think of your brand as your store’s image — it’s what attracts customers. You have to make sure that your brand is unique and recognizable. To help you clearly define your brand, ask yourself the following questions that are based on the 8 key elements for understanding Retail.

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