Branding is a way of communicating the identity of your business to customers and members of your own team. A successful brand can communicate the core values of your company and help people identify your company in a crowded marketplace.
Creating a strong and recognisable brand is not only for big organisations. Small businesses can benefit enormously if they get their branding right.
But how do you create a brand?
We look at seven steps you can take that will guide you to brand building success!
Who Is Your Target Audience?
Many brand building exercises fall at the first hurdle as they don’t properly consider who they are trying to target. It’s virtually impossible to appeal to everyone, so it’s best to carefully consider the type of person you’re trying to target?
It’s worth considering what characteristics your perfect customer might have. You could start by looking at the following areas;
Determining your ideal target market will also help you when it comes to advertising your business. If you know who your ideal customer is you are better placed to create marketing campaigns that directly focus on them.
Research Your Industry
You don’t want to copy what your competitors are doing, but it’s good to get an understanding of how other businesses in your niche have branded themselves. Depending on your industry, you can look at national or international businesses as well as smaller companies that are perhaps working in the same region as you.
You want your brand to stand out from the crowd and be remembered by potential customers. Learning from competitors successes and failures will help you understand what works.
What Are Your Unique Selling Points (USP’s)
What does your brand do and what does it offer that sets you apart from everyone else in your market. Why should a customer choose you over one of your competitors?
This can be tricky, as, in many industries, there aren’t too many differentials. However, if you can’t think of something that sets you apart from the competition, then your customers most definitely won’t be able to.
This is a good exercise as helps you understand why customers may choose to your services.
Create a Brand Logo and Tagline
One of the most exciting parts of any brand building project is to create your logo and tag line. The logo will be used on everything that relates to your business, including business cards, websites, invoices, letterheads and any promotional or marketing material you produce.
With this in mind, it can often be beneficial to seek outside, professional help when creating your logo. Having extra input and fresh pairs of eyes from graphic designers with experience in logo creation can prove invaluable.
Develop Your Brand Message
Your brand message is essentially the key information that you want to communicate about your business. This links back to your target audience; you want your message to speak directly to these people in a way that appeals to them. Your message should outline what you do and tell customers why they should choose you over other companies offering similar products/services.
Develop Your Brand Voice
It’s not just about what you say; it’s also the way you say it.
Consider all the different ways in which you will communicate with your customers. It might be face to face, via the telephone, on social media, or even live chats on your website. Your brand voice is the way you engage with customers and the language you use. It should be consistent across all forms of communication and across all individuals within your business.
Communicate Your New Brand
There is no point in spending time and energy, developing a new brand if you’re not going to use it. Now that you know your target audience and your unique selling points and have developed a brand message and brand voice, you’re ready to start promoting and marketing your business.
How you go about this will vary from business to business and industry to industry but tried and trusted tools such as business cards, leaflets and flyers, banner advertising and sponsorship are all worth considering.
Whatever you do, stay true to your brand and the ideas and ethos behind it!