"A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well" - Jeff Bezos.
It's natural to want people to like your company, but likeability doesn't always result in sales. A solid brand does.
Unlike products that are manufactured in factories, a brand is the product of the mind. It's possible to assess your product's physical value, but the customer's perception of your brand value is what matters the most.
According to McKinsey, technological advancements has given rise to the era of 'digital Darwinism' where brands who adapt to the right marketing tactics to create a solid brand are more likely to survive and win.
A solid brand stands out in the crowd resulting in higher sales, seamless customer experience, and a positive brand reputation. It becomes a sales tool for your marketing team and a lens through which potential vendors see you.
But, does creating a brand alone suffice? Probably not!
Measure the effectiveness of your branding strategy to ensure you're on the right track. From measuring interactions, engagements with brand mentions, and brand tracking studies, measuring KPIs is necessary if you want to create a trustworthy brand. It lets you detect the potential issues and rectify them before they jeopardise your business.
Here's a fool-proof guide to creating a strong brand to help you connect with your target audience.
1. Start with competitor research
When it comes to establishing a reliable brand, creativity is just one piece of the puzzle. Set your baseline by carrying out thorough competitor research for a solid brand foundation.
Your competitors are textbook examples to take inspiration from. Research lets you remain forward-thinking, and you can revise your marketing or branding strategy based on the insights uncovered. You need to track both what your competitors get right and wrong to amplify your brand's positioning.
The point is here is not to replicate what already exists. It's to understand what works and what doesn't.
Your competitor research should cover:
- brand personality
- product or service offering
- customer experience
- intellectual property
- company culture
Do: Evaluate their strategies in comparison with your brand.
Don't: Plagiarize their ideas, content etc.
2. Know your customers
Before you start defining your brand, you need to determine who you're trying to reach. Knowing your customers is essential to increase trust, loyalty and increase instances of repeat business. The most successful brands have a customer-centric mentality ingrained in their values.
This is where a buyer's persona will come into the picture. A well-defined persona gives you a detailed description of how your buyers buy and the ways you can reach the buyer in a timely fashion with relevant information.
According to research, 66% of companies that updated their buyer's persona in the last six months surpassed their lead and revenue goals. You cannot overlook the buyer's persona when creating a strong brand. It lets you understand the needs and wants of your target audience.
For an authentic buyer persona, you need to:
- survey existing customers
- invest in one-on-one interviews
- check your analytics
- survey on social media
Do: Find a niche that defines your brand and get to know your target audience better.
Don't: Develop multiple personas.
3. Create a professional logo
Do you remember the old western films when herdsman branded their cattle? They did it to mark their ownership of the cattle. Your logo should serve the same purpose.
A logo is your brand's face and it creates the much required 'positive first impression.' The human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than words, so a visually branded logo is your key to success.
Successful logos are those which are immediately recognisable, and which reflect the brand's message. They imbibe trust, look professional, and are timeless. If your logo can narrate a story while striking the customers' emotions, consider the job done.
From fonts, style, colour, tones - all of these come into the picture and set the stage for your brand's story. With colour increasing the brand recognition by a whopping 80%, choosing the right colours from the palette is essential.
Your logo should be:
Do: Use more than one colour.
Don't: Focus on a super fancy logo.
4. Create a tagline or slogan
Apple taught the world to "Think Different." MasterCard persuaded people of all age groups that "There are some things money can't buy. For everything else, there's MasterCard." Uber gave us "Everyone's private driver."
Over the years, slogans have become imperative - setting the tone for how the company interacts with its customers and positions itself in the market. Using just a few words, these slogans tell a story, and strikes the right chord with the audience.
Using the right words, you can control the value and meaning of your brand. This is why taglines and slogans are imperative for a brand.
Your tagline should:
- align with the brand
- be short
- encourage a positive sentiment
- be easy to understand
- be memorable
- differentiate your brand from the competitors
Do: Use inspiring phrases.
Don't: Stuff unnecessary words.
5. Find your brand personality
Humans are built for connection and love personifying everything, even brands. Every brand has a distinctive personality, building blocks for enhancing brand loyalty and
increasing customer retention.
If you imagine Apple as a person, what would be the personality? Someone young, dynamic, and creative? Apple has worked hard to achieve this position.
With 95% of purchasing decisions being based on feeling instead of logic, customers prefer brands that resonate with their gut instinct.
So, brand personality boils down to a set of characteristics that shapes the customer's perception. There are five types of brand personality:
- excitement - youthful and spirited
- ruggedness - outdoor, rough, and tough
- competence - reliability, and expertise
- sophistication - charming and elegant
- sincerity - genuine and honest
Your brand personality should reflect:
Do: Be subtle in determining your brand's personality.
Don't: Focus on more than one personality type.
6. Maintain consistency across every channel
In branding, consistency is key and differentiates a successful business from the unsuccessful ones. According to Forbes, consistent branding across channels increases revenue by 23%.
Would a customer who comes across multiple logos or taglines remember your brand? Obviously not!
Maintaining consistency across social media channels is imperative, but don't overlook print media, blogs, newsletters, email replies, and even conversations with customers.
Do: Create a brand style guide.
Don't: Use different versions of your logo, slogan, or colours.
7. Promote your brand
What's next, once you have created your story, logo, tagline, and brand personality? Even the most awesome slogan will not result in a penny if customers don't know about your existence.
This is why you need to promote your brand.
If you want to build a marketing plan or create online presentations - you need to do everything to put your brand in the limelight. Take your brand everywhere you go. Let it shine on your t-shirt, bags, laptop, hats, giveaways, phone covers, and more.
Copyright 2020. Article was made possible by site supporter Arianna Lupi of Outreach Humans