Any business that tasted success has an on-point branding to thank. You cannot expect your entrepreneurial endeavour to work out if you did not take the time to figure out what your brand and it's story is all about.
Consider branding as the blueprint of your business. A guide for all the decisions you make from the time you establish your business. Your brand is how you appear to the world. It’s how you make a first impression on consumers who you’re trying to convert.
When it comes to branding, your goal is pretty straightforward. You want to be able to tell your story. If you can influence people to love and value your brand, the better.
On-point branding triggers emotional responses from consumers. These responses most often lead to a purchase. And that’s all there is to it, really. You want your target market to buy into whatever you’re selling. Sustained sales will ensure that your growth targets will come to fruition.
Here are steps to follow for branding that gets your story together:
Know your brand’s purpose
A brand without a purpose has no point in existing. And it won’t command the attention of consumers either. From the get-go, your brand’s purpose should be clear to you. Think about Apple’s goal of revolutionising communication technology. Yours does not have to be that grand. But it has to be uniquely yours.
To figure out your brand’s purpose, ask the following questions:
· Why does your brand exist?
· What sets you apart from brands of the same nature?
· What problem do you address?
· Why should consumers care about your brand?
Zero in on your target audience
Your brand should be informed by who your target audience is. This is where market research comes in. You need to determine which market segment will most likely show interest in your product or services. You cannot just pursue a target market because your intuition told you so. Approach the process as scientifically as possible.
Consult with existing sales statistics and data. Or better yet, commission an independent marketing firm to do market research on your behalf. The information you’ll retrieve from the process will prove beneficial in figuring out how to position your brand.
Know your competitors
Consider this step as another layer of market research. And your goal is not to copy how big brands do business. Your goal is to learn from the best performers in your industry.
Look into these business aspects and the strategies being implemented by your competitors:
· Message and visuals
· Product or service quality
· Marketing efforts
Once you get a grasp of what successful brands are doing right, do it better and do it in your own unique way—that is, in a way that sets you apart as a new competitor.
Define your brand’s personality
There are many ways to sell bathing products. You can be hip and cool or classy and sophisticated. Whatever route you take, it should be informed by your brand personality.
Here, brainstorming with your creative team will come in handy. You all need to treat your brand as a person. How can you make this person likable enough, at least for your target audience, that they’ll be invited into people’s comfort zones?
Once you’ve figured out your brand personality, you’ll be better equipped at coming up with a unique brand voice, which can help inform your brand identity and brand marketing.
Come up with mission and vision statements
You probably have a mantra. You say it either vocally or in your head every day upon waking up. Your brand could make use of a mantra too by way of mission and vision statements. Consider these pronouncements as your brand’s daily kick in the rear. It’s what keeps your brand motivated to do what it does, regardless of challenges and roadblocks.
A mission statement is short-term. It’s what you want to achieve now. Meanwhile, your brand vision is where you wish to take your entrepreneurial journey. For example, in 10 years, you want your brand of bathing products to have grown into an eco-conscious name that has ventured out beyond the bathroom.
Create your logo and slogan
Your logo and slogan are the most visible aspects of your brand personality. Think of them as the face of your brand. You want that face to look nice, recognizable, and memorable. You know you’ve made it if your customers can recognize your face even before they see your nametag.
Do not scrimp on these creative outputs. Hire the best designer and copywriter you can get. Remember that you’ll ideally stick with your logo and slogan for the long haul. There are pros and cons to updating them later in the game.
Tell your brand’s story
Your brand personality should be complemented by a compelling brand story. This is how you came to be. The trials and tribulations you powered through. The successes you’ve enjoyed due to your patience and dedication. Your story should manifest in all aspects of brand marketing.
For example, the user interface of your website should mirror your brand’s story. The same goes for the digital and traditional marketing activities you employ. All these efforts should cohere. Your customers should understand the story you are trying to tell.
You cannot just wing it—branding that is. Branding is both an art and science. It’s an art because you need to exhaust the emotional power of every branding route you take. It’s a science because there are tried and proven steps that will guide you throughout the process.
Here, there are no cutting corners. It pays to approach the process as meticulously as possible. As they say, the devil is in the details. If one aspect of your branding does not work, that’s enough to compromise the legitimacy or reliability of your brand.
So make sure your branding is well-thought-out, with all parts aligned. Make sure you do not just sell your products or services too. It’s equally important to pursue top-notch brand marketing.
Remember that your goal is not just to convince customers to do business with you. The better goal is to convince customers to maintain a personal relationship with your brand.
Note: This article has been written by David Williams of Intermedia Print Solutions.