The importance of a successful brand
Standing out in today’s competitive market is a challenging task for startups and small businesses. Small businesses are competing against larger brands that are already established and have devoted customers.
Branding goes far beyond just a cool logo or an engaging website. A successful brand needs to be consistent in both communication and experience across various application from point of sale, print and signage to website, social media and advertising.
A successful brand isn’t established overnight. Building a brand is a tedious process that takes a lot of persistence and dedication. However, the ongoing effort will result in establishing long-term relationships with your customers. This can mean an increase in sales, more projects, word-of-mouth referrals, and advocacy for your products or services.
You may be wondering, where do I start? Below are 10 steps to building a successful brand.
1. Determine your target market
One of the key foundations of building your brand is to establish who you’ll be targeting. Your target customers are those who are most likely to buy from you. Here are a few questions to get you started:
• Are your target customers male or female?
• How old are they?
• Where do they live?
• Is geography a limiting factor for any reason?
• What do they do for a living?
• How much money do they make?
Once you define your target market, you can create a brand identity that they can relate to.
2. Create a mission statement
The mission statement defines the purpose for your brands existence. Before your customer can trust your brand, you first need to know what value your business provides.
The entirety of the brand from logo, mood and personality should reflect your mission statement.
We all know the Nike tagline: Just Do It. But do you know their mission statement?
Nike’s mission is: “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world”.
You can see the Nike mission everywhere. They focus on all types of athletes using Nike products to be their best self.
Nike goes even further with their mission, by adding a footnote to the statement: “If you have a body, you are an athlete“. Think about how wide their target audience becomes with a disclaimer like that!
By creating a mission statement it helps you determine your company’s direction.
3. Research, research and more research
It is important to know what others in your industry are doing. Particularly, what they’re doing well and where they are failing. Researching your main competitors show us how they have built their brand. Visiting their website and social streams are a great place to start.
4. Define your unique selling proposition (USP)
You’ve done your research and have found a lot of companies are doing the same thing or have a lot of similarities in how they are being perceived in the market. You need to delve down deep and figure our what you offer your customers, that no one else offers. Are you offering a discounted rate, safer product or better technical support network.
You now know who your target market is, so give them a reason to choose your brand over your competitors.
5. Create an appealing logo and tagline
An obvious part of creating a successful brand is developing an engaging company logo and tagline. The logo or brand mark will appear on everything that relates to your company from website and social media to company stationery and advertisements.
Be prepared to invest time and money to create something remarkable. This logo will be used on absolutely everything, so make sure you’re completely happy with it.
In addition to the logo design, the designer can also create brand guidelines (style guide) for you, to ensure brand consistency throughout any collateral you produce no matter who works with you. This can include anything from logo placement and colours to imagery and typography.
6. Create your brands voice
The voice of your marketing should come from your brand’s USP. The tone may vary depending on your audience and medium, but the voice always stays the same.
Think of your brand as a person. Your brand’s tone represents his or her moods and vernacular in different conversations and situations. Yet the same person is always speaking, no matter the circumstance. That consistency is your brand’s voice.
A business voice could be:
• informative, etc.
There are endless adjectives and possibilities.
7. Define your brands message
You need to connect with your customers and tell them WHO YOU ARE!
The imagery, music and or language you use, should be understood instantly while connecting with your customer on an emotional level. The message should be clear and right to the point. Most importantly, your message needs to tell the customer what your product can do, and why it will benefit them.
Take Macquarie Universities new television adverts for example. This strategy uses engaging video and music to connect with people on an emotional level showing them how Macquaries high end education can and has changed the world.
8. Let your brand personality shine
Customers want to use your services because they believe that you can offer them a tailored solution to help them achieve the results they need.
It can be as simple as:
• a conversational voice in communication (using “I”, and “you”)
• sharing behind-the-scenes content
• telling stories about real experiences
• describing your products/services in a quirky manner
9. Don’t stop at a logo and website
Developing your brand never stops. Your brand should be discoverable in everything that your customer sees. If you customer visits social media streams like Facebook and Instagram, make sure they will be able to search and find you on there. Create marketing materials or digital marketing plans to get your brand out there and noticed.
10. You’re your brands biggest advocate
Go to networking events where you can chat among like minded companies. When hiring employees, make sure they suit the brands cultures and values. Ask for word of mouth referrals and testimonials.
Never stop pushing your brands limits. If you are persistent and stay true to your brand, your brands story will be heard.
Wrapping it up
Branding goes way beyond just a logo or graphic element. When you think about your brand, you really want to think about your entire customer experience…everything from your logo, your website, your social media experiences, the way you answer the phone, to the way your customers experience your staff. When you look at this broad definition of branding, it can be a bit overwhelming to think about what is involved in your brand.
In short, your brand is the way your customer perceives you.