Have you recently launched a startup that needs an engaging brand image to accompany it? Do you have an established business model that needs rebranding? Do you have an existing brand that needs an update?
Your brand is your business.
Branding is what customers observe, interact with, and relate to when approaching your business. It connects you and your products and services to your prospects and customers. Building an appealing and appropriate brand for your business is crucial for your long-term success.
Every step of the branding process, from choosing a name to planning to decision-making and broadcasting, is essential in its own right. All of your branding decisions will impact your future success in one way or another.
Use these 10 steps to establish a solid brand for your business and integrate it into your strategic sales and marketing efforts.
10 Simple Steps to Successfully Build a Brand
1. Identify your mission and vision
Your business’s vision, mission, and identity within its greater market need to inform your branding decisions. Likewise, these decisions must remain true to the mission and vision you have chosen for your business. In doing so, they’ll provide your customers with a consistent and authentic experience throughout the sales funnel.
Your mission explains the reasons why your brand is doing what it does in the first place.
Your mission statement is one of the most crucial promises you’ll make to your customers. It’s a declaration of exactly what you plan to do for them and how you will do it.
This mission statement also needs to introduce your brand’s values to strengthen the emotional bond you can foster with your core clients.
2. Get to know your customers
In essence, building a brand boils down to creating a close community with the people your business serves. You need to understand exactly how to relate to your target audience to do this. This requires knowing more about them than simple statistics about their ages, occupations, and interests.
What makes them tick? What are the biggest pain points and most important things in their lives? You need to know exactly who your customers are, what motivates them, and how they prefer engaging with brands just like yours. Once you have this data, transform it into customer personas that will inform and structure your future marketing campaigns.
3. Tell your brand’s story
Storytelling is deeply ingrained in human nature. Contrary to popular belief, most customers really do care about the story behind your business. Knowing the story makes them feel as though they are a part of it.
Sharing your story allows you to build trust between yourself and your audience. This often translates into better customer engagement and loyalty over time.
Start by adding your business’s story to your website’s ‘About’ page. Then, include it in your media and press kits. Your tale should be a memorable one that’s easily shared, repeated, and resonated with.
4. Clarify your brand equity
People gravitate towards brands not because of what they sell, but the promises they make and the way they make them feel. Your brand’s equity captures this concept and tells potential customers exactly what you stand for.
Earlier, we covered your mission statement and why it’s important for customer engagement. Clarifying your brand equity means embodying that mission through your words, actions, interactions with customers, published content, and social responsibility impacts.
Your equity should be clear to anyone who interacts with your brand, regardless of how brief that interaction may be.
5. Create an unforgettable brand design
Research has shown that we make subconscious judgments about things within just a few seconds of seeing them. This means that most of us do indeed judge books by their covers and base decisions on subliminal cues and biases.
For brand developers, this means that you need to make an exceptional first impression with every person who encounters your brand. In doing so, you’ll establish credibility and trust with leads and potential buyers.
The first and most obvious way to make a great first impression is through your brand design. This design is the visual expression of your equity that gives your brand a unique personality and conveys authority and reputability to your target audience.
Once you’ve chosen impactful design elements that align with your brand’s personality and equity, use them consistently across your brand’s media to drive the message home.
6. Find an authentic brand voice
Your brand’s visuals need to pair up with a clear communication strategy that gives your brand an authentic and compelling voice. Consider how you would speak with your customers if you met them at a conference. Use this correspondence style to draft brand voice ideas.
Many experts recommend coming up with a few signature phrases and words that will become associated with your brand. This shared language will help to build community and recognition between you and your audience.
7. Design a consistent experience for your customers
Possibly one of the most important keys to creating a successful and memorable brand is consistency. Statistically, as many as 90% of consumers expect the customer experience to be consistent across all devices, channels, and social media platforms through which they interact with your brand.
Consistency builds trust and makes your brand more memorable. Additionally, it helps to foster audience loyalty by ensuring that your customers have no doubt about who you are as a business.
8. Post unique and thoughtful content
Modern customers have no time for robotic, inauthentic brand correspondence that’s devoid of personality and value. Over 60% of Millennials feel that online content drives their loyalty to brands. The more frequently you interact with them, the more loyal they will become.
Posting original content helps to extend your brand’s identity beyond the services and products you provide. It gives you a channel through which to show your customers the human side of your business and to confirm that you aren’t only about business to begin with.
Use your content to convey to your followers that you genuinely care about them and want to provide them with as much value as possible.
9. Attract your core customers
Once you’ve built your brand, you will already have a good idea of who your core customers are. Your brand and content will be designed to engage them, too.
Now it’s time to locate and attract your brand’s ‘tribe’.
There are plenty of tools such as BuzzSumo and Feedly that pinpoint where your customers are hanging out online. These tools search for websites and topics that relate to whatever keywords you enter.
Searching for a topic like ‘female business owners’, for example, will show you lists of articles related to that topic that are shared most often online. It will also show you the platforms those articles were shared on. This will tell you exactly which websites are attracting people that are potentially interested in your business.
Use this information to create consistent brand presences across the social media platforms and websites that your target audience most regularly frequents. This strategy will give you the best chance of engaging people who will engage with your brand and, ultimately, invest in your products.
10. Partner up
No brand exists in a vacuum. Bearing this in mind, one of the most effective ways to grow your brand’s awareness is through partnerships with similar brands, influencers, and loyal followers.
Partnerships are a little-known trade secret for building a memorable and resilient brand. They are easier than ever to foster in the technological age. You can connect with influencers on social media, artists and photographers who have amazing online portfolios, businesses that would benefit from a partnership with you (and vice versa), and any other businesses that you’d like customers to associate with your brand.
Working with other brands lends extra credibility to your content and correspondences with customers. Plus it helps to introduce you to potential customers who are just waiting to discover your products.
Build a brand that lasts
To successfully build a brand, it is going to take time, diligence, effort and persistence on your part. However, when you put the effort in, you will be making an investment that will pay you back time and time again in the future.
Building your company’s brand will enable you to find and engage with your ideal target audience in a way that promotes long-term loyalty. It will also drive consistent sales and create a passionate community that truly appreciates whatever your company brings to the table.
This guest blog post was written by Carmen Docampo. She is a freelance writer who has a background in photo editing. Carmen spends her free time enjoying the outdoors and discovering new hiking trails.