If you're looking for ways to brand your company, you may want to take a seat.
In this post, we're going all out to share with you the basics of brand building and why it is an integral part of your overall growth strategy, whether you're a startup or an established business.
Before we take the plunge, let's get a couple of things out of the way.
What is a Brand?
Your brand is how your prospects or ideal customers perceive you/your business.
Here's what we mean.
People perceive Mercedes as a high-end brand. Their cars suggest prestige, durability, and world-class engineering. Customers are willing to splash hundreds of thousands of dollars for a Benz.
Slap Toyota into the mix, and the scenario changes.
Make no mistake about it – Toyota's are good cars. Still, people think of them as cheap, low-end vehicles. No one is going to spend a million bucks for one, even with customized features.
Note - You can control people's perception of your business as long as what you deliver is in tune with how you brand it.
Takeaway – Your brand is the "personality" of your company/business and a promise to your prospects/customers.
What is Brand Building?
Brand building is creating awareness and promoting your business using various marketing tactics. The idea is to carve a niche and, most notably, generate a positive perception from your prospects.
Some of the ways to increase brand awareness include;
- Branded packing
- Creating a user-friendly website to showcase your business
- Influencer marketing
- Promoting your company on social media
- A well-choreographed SEO campaign
Takeaway – A strong brand attracts customer loyalty. When building your brand, be sure to convey your prospect's values in a way that nurtures an emotional connection.
Branding is Much More Than Visual Identity
Your brand isn't just your visual identity. It is much more than the design of your website, logo, fonts, etc.
It is the customer experience you provide. It is your company's culture and philosophy. It is the feeling the mention of your business stirs to customers.
In short, branding is what makes your business stand out when pitted against competitors.
Does Branding Matter?
Yes, it does! What are the statistics?
- A Stackla survey shows that 86 percent of customers will support a brand if they feel it's authentic.
- 77 percent of marketing executives say a strong brand is essential to their growth plans.
- A customer will interact with a brand five to seven times before he/she remembers it.
- 48 percent of shoppers say their first interaction or purchase is the best time to earn their loyalty according to PWC.
Now that you understand the basics of branding let's move on to the next step.
How to Brand Your Company the Right Way
#1 Start With the WHY
Why are you in business? Why do you want to help your prospects?Why is it crucial for you to stand out? The answers to these questions will help you identify your mission.
A brand's mission is the reason your company exists beyond making profits.
Walt Disney is a perfect example of a business championing brand purpose and doing it remarkably well. The company's mission is to be one of the planet's leading producers and providers of entertainment. They want to bring joy everywhere – and that's precisely what they do!
Why is Brand Purpose Important?
Well, because people like it!
An Edelman study found that 67 percent of customers will buy from a brand for the first time if they agree with its opinion on a social or political issue.
So, be sure to speak about your company's beliefs. Show your prospects that you care, and you're not all about profits. When done correctly, brand purpose;
- Adds value to the lives of your customers and by extension, the society
- Sets you apart from your competitors.
- Helps foster a strong corporate culture.
How do you Find your Brand Purpose?
Find out what the world around you needs, while keeping your prospects in mind. Consider qualitative research to know what your customers care about. Of course, you have to involve your team – they too have ideas about your brand and what it means to them.
Takeaway – Use your company's mission to connect with prospects on a personal level. Further, the purpose has to match your product or service to appear authentic.
#2 Know What to Avoid From the Get-Go
Successful branding isn't one of the easiest things to do.
Do you know what this means?
Well, it implies that you have to follow a well-thought-out process to create a strong brand.Here's a rundown of practices that'll set you up for failure – avoid them at all costs.
Mimicking your Competitors
The primary aim of brand identity is to make your business unique. Guess what? That’s not going to happen if you copy what your competitors are doing.
Sure, it makes perfect sense to analyze their branding efforts,but you have to tweak things to make your company shine.
Contradictory Customer Messages
The last thing that you want to do when brand building is to give your customers mixed messages.
But there's a way around it – use language and visuals your prospects can understand. Remember, just because something is making sense toyou doesn't necessarily mean it will make sense to your customers.
Failure to Balance Online and Offline
Brand consistency is crucial.
Here's the thing,
A company that brands consistently is 3.5 times more likely to generate visibility than an inconsistent one.
The long and short of it is that your colors, message, and theme must remain the same over time both on print material and online.
Takeaway – When you take care of small stuff right off the bat,it will help you focus on other areas of growing your company.
#3 Build a Cult Following
What do McDonald's, Southwest Airlines, Apple, and Kanye West have in common? Cult followings – following so strong that fanatics will find an excuse to praise them on social media or bring them up in a conversation!
Let's take Apple, for instance.
The company created a brand that is remarkably popular than any single item they sell.
That way, it doesn't matter whether it is an iPad, Mac, or iPhone; the fact remains it is an Apple product.
How do you Create a Cult Following for your Business?
Give People Something to Talk About
Did you know that Southwest doesn't charge for flight cancellation?
Yes. Simply head to the airline's online portal and change or cancel your flight in a couple of clicks! What's more? The company checks your first two bags for free.
Now, that's something that will get people talking, right?
Make your Customers Feel Part of the Club
Imagine walking into a coffee house to order a Frappuccino that the next person might not about.
Well, that's what Starbucks is doing with its "secret menu."It goes back to create a buzz by making consumers feel like they have classified information. The ripple effect is that consumers believe they're members of a club.
While your brand building may not be at the scale of these major companies, it makes perfect sense to develop a fan base, one day at a time.
Identify the benefits of your products/services to your prospects and develop a branding strategy around them.
Also, ensure that your message is unapologetic and straightforward to avoid brand confusion. A Siegel & Gale study found that 69 percent of customers are likely to recommend your brand based on its simplicity.
Takeaway –Focus on creating a killer brand, not a killer product. Develop products and experiences based on your core message to nurture a cult-like connection with your prospects.
#4 Concentrate on a Small Market…for a Start
Market share is the most important metric to look at when measuring your brand’s influence.
Even then, one of the most discouraging mistakes you can make when starting is seeking to appeal to a broad customer base.
Trying to please as many prospects as possible doesn't translate to more customers or profits.
The business world is upside down, and the opposite is often true, especially if you're in a niche with lots of consumers and profits – thus high competition.
Sure, a market with plenty of customers is ideal for any business. But, that's only beneficial if you position your company well.
Here's what we mean;
The SEO market, for instance, is super competitive. But, the SEO for IT companies that sell software niche is easier to break into. This market,along with other less competitive niches, with the right background ortraining, you're the ideal person to serve.
Even better, you can offer specialized SEO-related services such as page creation, keyword research, page optimization, link building, or technical audit.
Sadly, most businesses fail because they don't believe in focusing on a small market. They're scared of missing opportunities by being too narrow, so they go all out and try to impress everyone.
Think about it,
Who would you hire if you're diagnosed with a brain tumor – a neurosurgeon or a general practitioner?
Takeaway – The more you can specialize, the more you can be successful with your branding efforts. Of course, you can scale as your company becomes more established.
#5 Plan, Plan, Plan
Have you ever heard of a company called Jim Beam?
Well, if you haven't, pay attention.
Jim Beam is a whiskey company. But that's not the gist of the story. This brand of bourbon whiskey started production in 1795. Yes.That's over two centuries of operation!
Do you know why the company has remained in business for all those years? …because it goes for ignored markets.
More specifically, Jim Beam targeted women who prefer spirits to vodka. In fact, the company manufactured products exclusively for women such as Bethenny Frankel's Skinnygirl Cocktails, a margarita. And you guessed it right– this is a number one selling brand!
A successful brand plan starts with a vision. You must have ideas about what your brand will symbolize and represent.
Next are strategies that define a road map on how to get there. You must identify your prospects and the demographic to support your brand.
Jim Beam found a lucrative market its competitors were ignoring and seized the opportunity. As a result, they have weathered the storm year after year.
Takeaway – Planning is an essential part of brand building. It helps extend your company's longevity, even if you're in a competitive market.Ask yourself – how can you reshape your brand to stay ahead of the curve and remain relevant?
#6 Consider Co-branding
The truth is,
While you can take steps to brand your company, as we've described so far, it takes time. As you wait for your brand to grow, you can get your businesses' name in front of a broader audience by partnering with a successful brand.
Still, don't choose any brand. You're better off working with one whose mission and goals align with yours for the collaboration to make sense to your audience.
Here's what you should be on the lookout for when co-branding.
The Other Brand's Audience
Will your partner's audience be interested in your brand? Can they trust you? Can you get the people to listen to you? Most importantly, does your partner reach consumers in a way that instills confidence?
Your Offer to the Other Brand
What are you bringing to the table? You must have something to offer to your partner to make this a win-win-win situation – for you, your co-brand, and the customer.
Is the Other Brand Respected?
Choose a well-known and reputable partner. Why? A Clutch survey found that 76 percent of people make purchasing decisions based on the brand’s social responsibility.
Start your Brand Building Journey Today
Indeed, branding your company or business is a huge undertaking.But, the sooner you start, the better. What works is creativity and strategic planning.
You’ll Make Mistakes, But that’s Okay
Of course, things may not go according to plan from time, but the secret is to keep the momentum. Remember, branding is an ongoing process,so keep learning and have fun while you're at it.
...One last thing,
Growth Generators will help you get your brand off the ground. On top of that,we'll take your business to the next level through SEO and lead generation. It starts by working with the right partner!
Wednesday, May 20, 2020