The image that a company portrays to the outside world is never an accident. Just like the way that we make carefully crafted choices about our own personal appearances before starting each day, the brand builders behind companies do much the same for their businesses in order to ensure that people perceive it in exactly the right way.
But it's not as simple as deciding what outfit you're going to wear. Brand building is a lot of hard-won, conscious decisions that you need to put together in a meticulously crafted way. It takes a lot more than creating a nice logo and hoping for the best.
If you're in the thick of brand building and aren't sure where to go next, keep reading. We'll walk you through our top ten brand building tips to get you started.
1. Your Brand Aligns with Your Business Plan
This is a crucial first step. If you don't have a solid business plan, you need to go back to the drawing board. Because without your business plan, you won't have a roadmap for where you want your company to go.
Your business plan is going to decide what your branding identity is. There are a number of questions you'll want to ask yourself here that will help you form the basis of your brand building efforts in the future steps.
What is the purpose of your brand? What does your company do? What are your specific company values?
Now, take a look at what your potential is. Are you able to achieve the things that line up with your purpose? Also, what are you promising your customers? How do you get there?
These are all important questions to consider when brand building.
2. Be Clear on Your Goals and Capabilities
Now that you've got the answers to those questions in hand, it's time to take a good look at them. Are you capable of following through with them? Are these goals you want to strive to or are they things you're able to achieve now?
If they're end goals, how do you plan to get there?
The main goal of this step is to help you understand what your situation is right now. You want to be able to create a clearly defined path with measurable goals. That's how you'll deliver the message to your customers through your brand in the end.
3. Understand the Customer You're Targeting
Now that you've got a solid idea of what your own business is like, it's time to take a look at who your customers are.
It's worth both the time and the money that it will take to survey your potential audience. You want to find out what they need and what they want in order to understand how you can deliver your product to them in the most appealing way.
4. Understand Your Shortcomings
It's important to take a look at your company with an honest eye. You cant build a reliable brand if you aren't willing to acknowledge and attempt to fix your shortcomings.
You have an image in your head of what you want your brand to be. But in order to get there, you'll have to understand your gaps and create clearly defined paths to fix them.
5. Know Your Competition
Look around at other successful companies that look like yours. Make sure they have similar goals and aspirations as you do, and then study them.
From there, you'll have to find ways to make yourself their competition. You don't have to strive to be better than them, because this could come off evident in your branding and could leave a sour taste in your customer's mouths.
Instead, try to find a way to differentiate your brand from the other ones. If your competition is cheaper than you, make yours more premium.
6. Create a Narrative Around This Information
By this point, you should have a solid idea of the sort of image you want your company to portray. Now what you need to do is craft that information into a story.
Your story has to start with the promise that your brand aims to deliver on. Then add the facts that you know about your company and how you plan to use them to deliver on that promise.
Make sure your story is unique and compelling.
7. Don't Try to Be Everything for Everyone
This is an important one to remember. There's no way that your company's brand is going to speak to everyone. You won't collect the entire world as your customer.
And that's okay! You don't want to be the right brand for everyone. You want to be the absolute perfect brand for your target audience.
So make sure you have a solid understanding of who that target audience is and create your brand building around them.
8. Be Consistent
Once you've got a brand idea in mind, you want to be consistent with it. This brand is the identity of your company, and the last thing you want to do is change it depending on the day or the social media platform you're using.
Make everything exactly the same. If you're crisp and clean on your blog, make sure your social media and storefront follow through with that same imagery. You don't want to send mixed messages to your customers.
9. Associate With Strong Brands
In order to build your brand up, you'll have to get in good with some other strong brands. This doesn't mean trying to make yourself the number one company in any area, because sometimes that can be expensive and unattainable at first. But instead, try to associate with brands that can help to build your credibility.
You can do this by being featured in big name blogs to start with.
10. Go Outside of the Box
Once you've got your brand in mind, you'll want to get creative with how you solidify that brand in your customer's mind.
Spread your brand awareness by creating infographics, offering free content, giving away merch with your brand on it, running contests on social media, and partnering with local businesses.
Brand Building in the Digital Age
Brand building in the digital age doesn't have to be complicated. Now more than ever businesses have the tools in their hands that they can use to create solid brands that speak directly to their target audience. All it takes is time, patience, and the willingness to put forth the work in order to reap the benefits. And solid brand building has a lot of benefits.