Branding is the DNA of your business; it tells your clients and customers who you are, what you’re about, what they can expect from you and why they should work with you.

Here are four steps to building a successful brand.

Define how you want to be perceived.

Organize your business based on this promise.

Communicate your promise.

Be consistent.

4 Steps to Building a Successful Brand

Over 90% of small-business owners believe that having a unique brand differentiates them from the competition.

Half of them report that branding is critical to attracting new business. What secrets do brands like Apple and Coke hold?

What can we learn, and how can small-business owners use them as a source of inspiration?

Here are four steps to building a successful brand.

1. Define how you want to be perceived

Your brand is your promise to your customers – a promise that’s different from your competitors.

When your customers have finished using your product or service, how do you want them to describe their experience?

For example, If you own a restaurant, what do you want them to say?

“Wow, this restaurant has the largest portions in town. That’s great!”

“The dishes are simple but so delicious — you feel like you’ve been invited for a traditional Italian family dinner.

“The service is quick and the food is OK, but the price is unbeatable!”

2. Organize your business based on this promise

Keeping the promise that sets you apart from your competitors implies that you’re doing something more than what they’re doing.

For example, a restaurant that wants to be recognized for its unbeatable prices must find a way to maximize the number of customers served per table. The margin per individual customer will be less, but the number of customers will make up for it. In other words, your brand will greatly influence the winning formula that you’ll base your business on.

3. Communicate your promise

All of your marketing material – from the colours of your logo to your website text – must be developed as a function of this promise. What you say on Facebook or LinkedIn must be aligned with this message, as must the decoration of your premises. Your brand becomes central to your advertising campaign. What’s more, your ads will be even more effective, since you’ll have a clear message to convey.

4. Be consistent

After defining how you want to be perceived, organize your business based on this perception and communicating this promise.

For example, Apple is recognized for making products that are both elegant and innovative: it cannot afford to launch a new phone that’s

unattractive, or a new tablet that’s technologically behind, because that would mean breaking the promise it has made to its customers.

The idea is to develop trust. Your customers must no longer see your brand as a promise, but as a reality. Consistency offers the greatest rewards.

Over time, a well-managed brand stops becoming a company promise and becomes a customer expectation.

For example, there may be 10 Italian restaurants in the neighbourhood, but only one where customers expect to experience a traditional Italian family dinner. That restaurant’s brand is no longer its name or logo – it’s the expectation of its customers.

CONCLUSION: Your brand is your business’s most valuable asset, and has the biggest impact on your bottom line. So, when applying such a strategy, your business will gradually be able to increase both its prices and sales.