What is a brand, really? Is it that chic logo you’ve just designed or is it that cool name you just christened? A brand involves much more than that. Your brand is your business’s identity and represents your audience’s perception of you. It is what your customer thinks about your business.
Creating a brand does not take long; Building a strong and memorable brand takes time and a lot of persistence. It is the process of building a reputation that will get customers to recommend and say good things about you even when you’re not around.
But first, you will need to make sure you have set a strong base that can firmly hold your brand’s reputation. Let’s talk about turning your brand into an experience to remember in 7 effective ways.
1. Consistent Branding
Consistency is key to creating a strong brand. Not just the visual elements of your brand, your values and the way you treat your customers need to be consistent. When you maintain brand consistency from the beginning throughout all mediums, you are slowly getting implanted deep in the minds of your audience.
Regardless of the marketing channels, consistent branding will ensure better brand recognition. It also helps build trust and confidence in the brand when customers know what to expect from it. Brand consistency can assist you in influencing the perception of your customer. This plays out as a huge advantage over your competitors because you can now communicate with them through your consistent brand elements.
What should you do (or shouldn’t do) to maintain brand consistency –
- Avoid changing your brand name or logo as much as possible. Sometimes, rebranding is unavoidable. It is good to be cautious while rebranding and try to stick to some of your core elements.
- Maintain a similar style guide throughout all your visual elements – the color palette, logos, website, fonts, marketing material, advertisements, backgrounds, etc.
- Ensure your visual elements can be easily accessed by all involved in marketing and communicating your brand. A centralized repository of your assets using a asset management solution would be ideal for this.
2. Focus but Stand Out
As your brand grows, it is easy to get lose focus on your mission and vision. New opportunities, technologies and ideologies are good to keep up with to stay relevant and competitive. But it also poses as a distraction that can lead many businesses to wander away from their own identity. It is not plainly important to focus on your mission but also on what you are good at. Concentrate on the qualities that lets you stand out of your competition.
- Remind yourself everyday about your mission and where you want to see yourself in the future.
- Make a note of your qualities by assessing why your customers are happy with you and what keeps them coming back to you. Jot down things that you are most passionate about and excel at.
- Make sure all your brand elements (including customer service team) tell the same story. They should reflect your mission and your vision consistently.
- Find your niche, focus on it with all you got and shine at what you do.
3. Research, Research and more Research
We cannot stress more on how important research is for your brand. Organizations invest big on developing brand identities. Of course, this does not come without sizeable amount of risks. With well-done research and competitive analysis businesses can considerably reduce risks. Brand research allows you to be more confident in taking gutsy design decisions and stand out of competition.
Spying on your competition isn’t creepy when you’re using data that is freely available. It’s all about the numbers after all. Statistical data goes a long way in predicting the future of your brand. It lets you uncover market trends and gaps in the market. Building a brand without enough research is like bungee jumping without a harness.
- Create a competitive analysis strategy by first listing out all your competitors in the market. Use a spreadsheet to list out
- Identify your competitors’ brand strategy, audience personas, content, sales and marketing strategies. Understand their strengths and weaknesses with a SWOT analysis.
- Once you have gathered all your data, analyze and identify how you can stand out. Discover how you can fill the gap with your products and expertise.
- Pay more attention to local competitors as they either have everything you’ve got or they’re lacking something you ought to be doing.
4. Target – Personify – Personalize
Let’s get this straight. You cannot please “everyone”. The products or services that your brand personifies cannot possibly be related to everybody. You have to establish a target audience for whom you will be tailoring your brand, your content, marketing and more to.
Targeting a particular set of audience also reduces the number of your competitors. Your marketing advertisements have higher chances of showing up to a smaller yet potential set of consumers rather than a wider and bigger set of generic audience. It is bound to get buried under the rest.
- Identify your set of potential consumers and make sure your branding meets their expectations. Use all the data from your research here.
- Get to the details. For examples, if your product wants to cater to women, you can be more specific of their age, married or single, college student or a working professional.
- Create multiple (3 to 4) personas of your target audience. Identify and list out details like their behavior, likes, dislikes, websites they visit, what they shop for online and more.
- Identify the appropriate marketing channels to reach them. For example, you could use Instagram for some and LinkedIn for others.
5. Invest in Your Website
If you have a business, there’s no two questions about having a website in today’s rapidly evolving world of technology. Your website represents your online presence in its true sense. According to a recent study, nearly 88% of consumers who look up for a business / store online, either call of visit the business within 24 hours. And having a well-designed website with outstanding user experience pays back at least a 100 times more! A research by Forrester shows that for every $1 you invest in UX of a website results in a return of $100. That is, a whopping ROI of 9,900%! Your website should display what your consumer wants to see. Start thinking like your customer.
- The website’s homepage should tell the users about your products and services, rather than about you.
- Ensure your website performs well. A high-performing and fast website is the need of the hour. Else you could easily lose your customer’s attention to your competitor.
- Invest in an open-source Content Management System (CMS) that lets you/your team update your website with fresh content easily. A CMS like Drupal is not only free, it helps provide users with unmatched user experience while allowing businesses to customize and scale their website to any level.
- Your website should be easy to navigate through. It shouldn’t take your customer more than 2-3 steps to find what they’re looking for.
- Invest in a good SEO strategy and resources. If you don’t show up on Google, you don’t exist. Aim to rank on the first page on any search engine.
- You have 0.05 seconds to impress your user. You need to make sure you have a responsive website that looks great both on web and mobile devices.
6. 360-Degree Marketing
What is a 360-degree marketing strategy, you ask? This should be your go-to marketing strategy to target your potential customers from all possible sides. This lets you broaden your reach and are more likely to find new consumers and engage with existing (and new) ones. Building a strong brand depends a lot on a strong marketing strategy.
- Email – Although old, email campaigns still work. 81% of SMBs still use email campaigns as their primary marketing channel for customer acquisition. Create a strong email campaign with well-crafted content and the right list of audience.
- Host conferences – Whether online or in-person, hosting networking events and conferences has always proven fruitful. It hugely helps over the long-run and getting your brand recognized.
- Content Marketing – Use content to its fullest. Write quality blogs and publish them in the right spaces. Interact in online forums about your blog.
- Video Marketing – Video marketing is soon emerging as one of the most powerful marketing channels. It is extremely engaging and when done well can reap big benefits.
- Social media marketing – This medium could possibly be your most important source of leads. Reach out to your audience with the right content, ads, videos and images with social media to make an impression.
7. Ace the Customer-Service Game
After everything you have done to earn yourself the reputation for your brand, if you don’t treat your customers right – it is worthless. It takes seconds to lose a customer. And without customers you can’t have a company.
- Customer is King. Ensure that not only you but your entire team follows this policy.
- Kindness and courtesy go a long way. Train each and every team member to be kind and friendly to the customer.
- Be authentic and transparent. Your customers will take honesty any day than a sugar-coated lie.
- Offer your customers more than what they expect from you.
Creating a strong brand is not a one-time effort. It is a long-term commitment that takes a lot of time and dedication. As someone rightly said – “a brand is a story that is always being told”. Your brand has a personality of its own. Style it well and express it the way your audience finds appealing.
Shefali Shetty is the Marketing and Communications manager at Specbee, one of the top Drupal development companies in the world. She loves exploring and writing about technology and its impact on business growth.