Creating a Brand: Business Marketing 101
When starting a business many think coming up with a name, developing a logo or even crafting a slogan or catchphrase is the extent of branding. The reality is, there is so much more.
Since marketing experts define branding as establishing and maintaining relationships, a company’s graphic identity is only a small component in a never-ending interplay between the business and the people who use its products or services.
How important is branding? In many cases, branding may be the key point of differentiation when people have so many different commodities to choose from. Therefore, it’s important for any organization, even a well-established business, to take a close look at its branding strategy and search for ways to maximize and leverage its relationships with consumers.
An essential part of any business plan is conducting market research to determine whether it makes financial sense to establish a new enterprise. Who are the chief competitors? What’s the target audience? If there’s nearby competition where the business will be located – whether it’s a bakery, a real estate agency or a dry cleaner – what will set the business apart? The answers to these questions can form the basis of branding strategy.
Once this identity crisis is solved, a business owner needs to think about the people who will be involved in the branding relationship.
Research is the key to finding out a customer’s truth. Mele explained helping a client establish a brand starts with mountains of data that is analyzed and boiled down to arrive at the essence of the brand.
Once a company has decided on a brand that reflects its core values and the message it wants to communicate to the public, the next step is to identify all the places where customers interact with the business: incoming phone calls, store locations, website, use of the product and more. Branding should be consistent throughout all these touch points, and uniform brand messaging must be communicated through all channels, including advertising, public relations and social media.
The basics of branding have remained the same for many years, but the way brands are communicated has changed dramatically over the past couple of decades, primarily because of the digital revolution, starting with the internet and moving on to social media.
How We Stack Up 2018
Each year, Nevada Business Magazine collects data comparing Nevada to other states and to past years, tracking economic cycles and delivering a snapshot of what it’s like to live in the Silver State. In the first edition 12 years ago, Nevada was riding high economically, with 4 percent unemployment and the challenge of finding enough workers to fill available positions. Then came the housing crash and the recession. In 2011, Nevada led the nation in foreclosures, bankruptcies and unemployment, and it had lost 175,000 jobs.
In 2018, it’s safe to say that Nevada has fully recovered from the recession. Housing prices and home equity are up, and unemployment is down. New residents and new businesses are streaming in. Nevada leads the nation in private-sector job growth and once again faces the challenge of finding qualified workers. In 2006, Nevada education lagged far behind other states, the crime rate was dangerously high, and the state faced shortages of healthcare professionals. Although the economy has rebounded and now compares favorably to other states, these troubling issues have remained relatively unchanged.
Travel & Tourism
Travel, tourism, conventions and gaming are the lifeblood of the Nevada economy, directly responsible for more than 25 percent of all jobs in the state.
In many ways, people who live in Nevada’s cities are similar to residents of other states, although they do experience a unique 24-hour lifestyle and many more entertainment options. Rural residents enjoy more open spaces than the national average, with only 24.6 people per square mile compared to the U.S. median of 87.4. However, parks, museums, arts and entertainment are all available throughout the Silver State, and Nevada recently added professional hockey with the Vegas Golden Knights to its list of sports options.
Healthcare rankings in Nevada continue to be a concern, especially in a state with the second-highest rate of population growth.
Although Nevada still ranks in the top five states in the nation for violent crimes, it did drop from third to fourth this year. However, underlying issues such as poverty, drug abuse and a transient population certainly factor in to Nevada’s crime rate.
Home prices are up dramatically in all areas of the Silver State. This sellers’ market is good news for owners of existing homes, and the better news is that mortgaged homes have seen a dramatic increase in equity since Nevada led the nation in foreclosures.
Cost of Living
Rising housing costs in Nevada’s two large metro areas have pushed their cost of living up slightly from last year, when costs were 100.4 percent of the U.S. average in Southern Nevada and 102.8 percent in Reno.
The unemployment rate across the nation declined 0.4 percent from June 2017 to June 2018, and Nevada’s rate fell at the same pace — from 5.1 percent to 4.7 percent.
When all is said and done, the choice to move a company to Nevada is made by people with families to consider, and those decision makers take a hard look at some of the challenges reflected in the accompanying charts. Although Nevada is making great strides in areas such as employment and economic growth, it must find solutions to some of these longstanding problems if it is to enjoy a successful future.