Does your business have a nice-looking logo? How about a catchy tagline? If it does, that's great news! But that doesn't necessarily mean that you have a strong business brand.
It's common to confuse "branding" with "visual identity." Modern-looking logos, fun company names, pithy taglines, and slick websites aren't the big differentiators that they used to be. The level playing field of today's technology means that anyone with a few hours and access to a computer could come up with the baseline visual identity they need to advertise their business.
To build a strong brand, you need more than just a baseline visual identity. You need to create a compelling story about how your customers can improve their lives by using your product or service.
If you are willing to invest time into creating a compelling brand that connects with your customers' aspirations, you can stand out from the crowd of superficial brands and build a loyal following of repeat customers.
Here are 6 practical tips to building a stronger business brand:
1. Know Your Values
Be specific and consistent about what your brand stands for and values most. Is it the impeccable quality of your product or service? Is it your compassionate care for your customers? For example, are you dedicated to providing the world’s best cookware? Or are you deeply committed to employing workers with disabilities? Do you donate part of your profits to charitable causes? (If you haven't written down your brand values now is the time!)
Defining your values and communicating them regularly will help you resonate with the people who share your passions, beliefs, mission, and goals; and internally, it will keep your employees unified, engaged, and enthusiastic.
2. Know Your Position
What space does your brand fill in your customer's minds. Do you want them to perceive you as the luxury, high end option? Or the fast, affordable alternative? Remember you can't be all things to all people. How does your position compare to that of your competitors?
3. Know Your Audience
Business owners need to keep their ears to the ground in order to build a successful brand. This means staying deeply informed about your target buyers, observing your competition, and constantly researching the need for your products or services. Knowing your marketplace will help you to stand out in a crowded environment, appeal to your target buyers, maintain competitive pricing, and stay relevant in an ever evolving marketplace.
- Get to know your target buyers
- Monitor their feedback through social media channels and reviews
- Conduct frequent market research
- and stay deeply in-tune with what they want and aspire to
Once you know your audience on this level, you can speak to them about how your brand takes them from point A to point B, from where they are today to the better version of themselves. Chances are that few of your competitors are speaking to them at this level.
Remember that markets grow, shift, and evolve as the years and even months go by. Staying attuned to your target buyers will help you create a brand that resonates with their style, captures their attention, and wins their loyalty.
4. Be Vigilant
Your brand should be easily recognizable at every level of the customer journey, from the moment a new buyer discovers your business, all the way through to how that buyer is treated as a loyal client.
To build a strong brand you must make every touch point with your customer a branded moment. This takes a lot of vigilance because branding touches literally everything—down to the hold music on your phone system.
Send a Unified Message with a Clear Brand Voice
Define the voice you use when you talk to your audience. Are you friendly and fun? Professional and serious? Whimsical and creative? Maybe somewhere in between?
Keep your voice consistent throughout every level of the customer experience; from the tagline people read when they see your name, to the copy they read when clicking through to your website, to the way your office staff greets customers on the phone. A unified brand voice builds recognition and loyalty.
Use Consistent Visuals
Your visual identity is the recognizable face of your brand. The colors, fonts, and symbols that identify you extend to every area of your business—from your office decor to your logo and your print brochures to your website. A polished visual brand identity will help you build brand recognition, connect with target buyers, and create a loyal following.
It's critical that wherever your brand visuals appear that you make an effort to keep them consistent. This is especially true for social media. Our opinion is that it's much better not to post than to post something off-brand.
Know When to Outsource
Branding touches every employee on some level, but creating the visual components of a brand can be a specialized skillset. Depending on the size of your business, you may not have the in-house creative talent or marketing staff to execute your brand visuals. Outsourcing design projects to skilled creatives can elevate the quality of your visual brand. And creative agencies can often provide you with a toolkit to help you assemble your own brand visuals more quickly on your own.
Pay Attention to the Details
Weave your branding throughout your entire business; from the sign that hangs outside the office to the newsletter you send to your clients, from the person you choose to greet visitors who come through your door to the voice you use for your website copy.
5. Be Remarkable
Does your brand stand out as exceptional in your industry? How does your brand compete with the hundreds (or even thousands) of companies who sell exactly the same thing?
Your company might make great guitars, sell delicious coffee, or offer amazing online classes. But what really sets you apart remarkably? Is it about providing world-class service? Donating proceeds to charity? Or delivering a one-of-a-kind customer experience? Know what makes you remarkable - and showcase that remarkableness whenever possible.
Look for unusual, unexpected, and creative ways to show your customers that they matter to you. This can that truly set you apart.
6. Be Patient
Be patient, hang in there—branding is the long game. Remember that a strong business brand doesn’t happen overnight. Your brand is defined by how your customers perceive you, and that rapport comes with time, lots of practice, and a willingness to change and grow.
Identify clear, bite-sized, actionable goals, and be transparent about what they are. Define both short-term goals that you can accomplish in a week or a month, and long-term goals that you’ll work towards this year—or even ten years down the road!
Defining your goals makes it much more likely for them to be accomplished, helps your team work toward a clear objective, and gives your stakeholders a clear vision of what to expect from your company.
If your customers are saying things about your brand (in person, in reviews, or on social media) that match with your desired perception then you know you're doing it right!
Stay true to your values, be in-tune with your customers, and remain enthusiastic about taking next steps. By following the 6 tips listed above you will be on track to building a strong business brand with a loyal following and a bright future.
Looking for help building a strong business brand? The friendly experts at Harvest Media are here for you. Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us directly at 847-352-4345.