Branding is more than just creating a logo and slapping it on a website or the side of a van. Developing your brand takes time, but the sooner you start, the sooner you’ll see results. Your brand makes you recognizable to consumers and without having it clearly established, your company becomes lost in the crowd. You want to impress your prospects and brand development does a lot of the work for you. Get ready to put your other projects aside, because right now, developing your brand matters most.
Developing your strategy
Brand development is a multi-stage process with the ultimate goal of building brand equity in a consumer’s mind. Brand equity is an intangible set of assets that cannot be tracked on a balance sheet. But, the value of that equity is the most valuable asset a company can own. Think about Kraft, Amazon, Apple, Steve Carell or Servpro. What emotional ties do you have with these brands?
Developing a brand must be part of the larger marketing plan for the company. It is often the biggest challenge, but the most critical. You don’t have to invest millions to develop your brand, but making the effort will pay off.
You first need an understanding of the clients you want to reach. Don’t assume you already know them, and instead take the time to do some research. You want to figure out your brand’s buyer persona. This includes your audience’s demographic and even their psychographics, such as their goals and motivations. Put yourself in their shoes and think about what they want to see from you. From there, you can be sure you’re focusing your brand on the correct target audience.
Defining your brand
Next, focus on your brand definition. This definition can be in the form of a story or statement that clearly reflects what your brand is all about. Your marketing team will help you define what you are offering, how your target audience will benefit from it, what guarantees your offer, and what your unique selling proposition (USP) is. Remember to ask the question, what can this brand do or stand for that no other brand can say?
Think of what valuable services your company provides to customers that make their lives better. In order to compete with other brands, you need to have key differentiators that set you apart. Make a list of all you have to offer and then determine which unique offer stands out the most. This can be your lead differentiator you use in your branding when trying to appeal to your target audience.
Logo and Slogan
For your next step, you want to design a logo. Your logo should help convey your message to the audience you want to reach. Also, keep in mind that your logo is like the face of your brand, because it’s often the first thing people recognize. For example, if you think about Starbucks, McDonald’s or Louis Vuitton, their logo probably immediately comes to mind.
Now, you need to consider creating a slogan. This is part of letting your customers know what your company is about. Your slogan needs to be concise and relevant to your business. If you have trouble coming up with one on your own, consider using a slogan generator. You might also include your slogan in your logo, or create another version of your logo with the slogan in it that you can use, when suitable, to further establish your brand.
You know your buyer persona, you have your logo and slogan, now examine your company goals. How do you want consumers to see you? You need to make your brand strategy align with your goals and ideals in order to be consistent with your business. This step is important, because if you do not get it right, the rest of your brand strategy will fail. Take time to evaluate different possibilities and narrow it down to the one you think works best for you. This doesn’t have to be a one person job. Put together a team or get in contact with a marketing company for a fresh perspective.
Still unsure? Check out: The Brand Development Process Demystified
Growing your brand
You’ve established your brand, but you’re not done yet. Now you need to help it grow. Put your brand out there for everyone to see. Incorporate it into your social media, SEO, ads and more. Specifically, focus on your website. Potential customers come to your website for a number of needs, so you want it to reflect your brand in the best way possible. Your new brand can also help you stand out at trade shows. The more public appearances your brand has, the more recognizable it will become. Don’t be intimidated by the amount of work it takes to grow the brand. It will be worth it when you start seeing the results of your carefully curated strategy.
Have patience while you wait for the results of establishing your brand. This is not an overnight process. So, take a look at your website and business analytics and continue to monitor them on a weekly or monthly basis. If your brand is a success, analytics will be able to show you how its helped your company flourish with growing numbers in connections and clients.
Going forward, continue to monitor your brand, conduct research into more growth opportunities and update as the market changes. Don’t let all your hard work go to waste by letting your brand fall behind. Better yet, invest in receiving help from a marketing company. Often, they know the best techniques and practices for your brand development. With them, you can be sure your brand has the best chance to excel in your industry.
Dan Gartlan helps companies of all kinds drive their business initiatives and achieve their goals with strategic marketing programs that deliver results. As President of Stevens & Tate Marketing, he has over 20 years experience across various industries, and continues to share his expertise to build brands nationwide.