Brand building is definitely a process. 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. The following are 7 steps I have put together to help your business or personal brand gain a more loyal following and a better connection to your relevant consumers or clients.
Step 1 : Define your brand’s target audience.
I can’t stress enough how important this is. The foundation for building your brand, is to determine the targeted audience that you’ll be focusing on. Your brand should reflect your target audience and speak directly to them
Get specific on your consumers. Figure out detailed behaviours and lifestyle of your consumers.
For example, you could be targeting single mums who work from home, tech-savvy early adopters, college students studying abroad, executive recruiting professionals, etc
When brand building, keep in mind who exactly you are trying to reach. You’ll tailor your mission and message to meet their needs. Solidify a picture of your consumers, then create a brand identity that they can understand and relate to.
Step 2 : Determine your brands mission statement.
You need to know what value your business provides before you can build a brand that your target audience trusts.
The mission statement basically defines a purpose for existing. It will inform every other aspect of your brand building. Everything from your logo to your tagline, voice, message and personality should reflect that mission.
A few examples of some of the world’s most well-known brands mission statements.
Facebook – “To give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.”
PayPal – “To build the Web’s most convenient, secure, cost-effective payment solution.”
Twitter – “To give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers.”
Pretty simple statements perfectly executed on a large scale. What’s your business mission statement say?
Step 3 : Research brands within your industry or niche
You shouldn’t copy what the big brands are doing in your industry. But, you should be aware of what they do well (or where they fail). The goal is to differentiate from the competition. Convince a potential customer to purchase from you over them!
Research your main competitors and observe how they have effectively, and ineffectively built their brand.
Are they consistent with their message and visual identity across channels? What is the quality of their products or services? Do they have customer reviews you can read, or social mentions about them? Use this information to your advantage.
Step 4 : Highlight key qualities or the benefits your brand offers.
There is always going to be brands with bigger budgets and more resources to command their industry but remember your products, services, and benefits belong solely to you. You must figure out what you offer that no one else is offering. This might seem hard but start by asking existing clients for feedback.
Focus on the qualities and benefits that makes your business unique. It could be that your response time is quicker, you are more affordable, you have great communicate skills, whatever it is, give them a reason to choose your brand over another.
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Step 5 : Create an awesome brand logo & tagline.
The most basic (and arguably the most important piece – I am bias here) of brand building, is the creation of your company logo and tagline. This visual graphic will appear on everything that relates to your small business. Be willing to invest the time and money to create something exceptional. You’ll be putting the logo on everything, to reinforce visual identity of your brand. Hire a professional designer or creative agency with branding and identity design experience, to help you build your brand. Their expertise will ensure that you get a unique and timeless mark for your business. A designer can also develop brand guidelines, to ensure consistency for any future application of the logo and associated color palette.
Also don’t be afraid to rebrand your business if you find that your current brand is not in line with your target market. A rebrand can inject new life into your business, especially if it in more in line with your target audience.
Step 6 : Form your brand’s business voice and a business pitch.
Your brands voice reflects your company mission, audience, and industry. This is how you communicate with your customers, and how they respond to you. A business voice could be: professional, friendly, humorous, promotional, conversational, informative, etc. There are endless adjectives and possibilities. Choose a brand voice that makes sense and resonates with your target customers, but also be authentic, that the voice is still a reflection of yourself.
Now you have chosen your business voice, your message should be intricately associated with your brand, and conveyed in 1-2 sentences. It goes beyond your logo and tagline to define the key aspects of who you are, what you offer, and why people should care. A brand message is an opportunity to communicate on a human level, making a direct emotional connection with your consumers. Most importantly: when crafting a message, address not what your product can do…but why it is important to your customer.
For instance, my brand message would be – I help businesses to be recognised through effective branding.
Step 7 : Integrate your brand across every aspect of your business.
Your brand should be reflected in everything that your customer sees (and doesn’t see).
This applies to everything from your office space, personal interactions, any tangible products like business cards, adverts and packaging. It should be across social media and your website and email, incorporate your voice, message, and personality into all your content.
Consistency is key. Brand building never stops.
And remember, once you have built a brand that works for your business, you (and your employees) are the best advocates to market your brand. You are a walking, talking advertisement. Make sure you have everyone who works in your business on the same page.