Steps To Successful Brand Building
Brand is to a company what personality is to the individual. It is shaped by values, experiences, and priorities, with a few quirky qualities thrown in. In the same way that most people are more trusting of a friend than a stranger, 59% of consumers prefer to buy products from brands familiar to them. If your company’s end goal is the successful building of a long-term relationship between you and a loyal consumer base, then branding is the way to get there. We’re laying out the roadmap that will take your brand from anonymity to familiarity.
Step 1: Define your values
This is your north star. These values are non-negotiable, concrete and unwavering. They should be at the center of your company’s culture. Once you decide upon your values, you won’t be able to alter them after you’ve begun building your consumer base. Aside from losing your existing consumers, you will lose the “life story” of your brand that defines the personality you are aiming to cultivate. With this in mind, make sure to definitively outline your values with the utmost intention.
Step 2: Determine your audience
Who do you want to reach? The answer to this question should be specific enough to allow for fine-point targeting, yet broad enough to reach a large and viable audience. You might be able to build a consumer coalition which includes multiple demographics. In this case, you can tailor the message of your branding, depending on the targeted audience. However, make sure you always remain true to the values you have defined in step 1.
Step 3: Research
Once you determine who you hope to reach, try to learn everything you can about them. Where is your demographic spending the majority of their free time? What social media channels are especially popular among them? You should research not only your potential audience, but competing brands that have the same target audience. Study their marketing strategy and get a better understanding of how you might be able to succeed within the same demographic.
Step 4: Differentiate
After you’ve learned about brands that are competing for the same target audience, it’s important to create a solid strategy on how to pull their audience away from them and toward you. This often means competing with a brand that has a much larger and more powerful platform. For example, how can a local business differentiate itself against a product that is available on Amazon and has thousands of 5-star reviews? Amazon has many advantages, and any business that wants to compete must assess the features that Amazon is lacking. For example, a local store has the advantage of allowing potential customers to see, touch, try on, or test out the product before buying it. If the location is an especially strong indicator of community, the ability to shop locally and support neighborhood or family businesses might be an important distinction. Environmentally-conscious shoppers may prefer to purchase a product in-store, rather than to waste resources with extra packaging and shipping. Whatever advantages you have over your competitors should be strategically reflected in your branding and messaging.
Step 5: Put your message into the world
Leave no stone, or social media channel, unturned. You should be wherever your demographic is connecting with family, friends, or co-workers. Make sure to have a consistent tone, voice, and message across social media channels. Think of your presence across social media as a type of elevator pitch: communicating who you are, what you do, and why it matters. This can touch every piece of your messaging, from your Instagram bio to your in-person conversations. As always, make sure your values are at the heart of your brand’s message as it reaches your audience.
Throughout: Operationalize your values
Your values should be reflected in every aspect of your brand. Values are lived in the form of daily action, not in surface-level performance to increase sales. From your logo to your employee benefits, your tagline to your return policy, your values should be at the bedrock of everything you do. Hire employees who fit your company culture and will advocate for your brand in an authentic way. These actions will help loyal customers to find your brand, and to play a role in building support within their own personal networks.
For the success of an individual, the best advice is to just be yourself. For brand building, the advice is largely the same. Define who you are and be that brand day in and day out. Along the way, you’ll find an audience that is both engaging and loyal. Just follow the simple steps outlined above, and you’re practically there!