If we are embarking on an endeavor to build a new, or breathe life into an old brand, there are many factors to consider. Visuals are just one part of the story. As entrepreneurs, we may know a lot about our business and the industry we are competing in. Still, the concept of branding may be elusive to us. It is so much more than a buzzword being thrown around by marketing gurus and business magazines. It encompasses a wide range of activities, all aimed towards our company’s good reputation in the eyes of the consumer. Especially useful for a financially-strapped startup enterprise, branding can be a perfect method for reaching out to a wide audience. Without paying attention to building a brand, some companies can struggle for years to gain market traction. Let’s go over the key points when it comes to maintaining our company’ branding, irrelevant of the amount of presence it had in the market.
First of all, we need to clarify what the term itself constitutes. Branding is a way our product, service or company is identified and distinguished from others in a chosen market. Arguably this can also be called “positioning” amongst the competition. The premise is the same, make our idea unique and different from others. Branding can also be the experience that our target audience can get when in contact with our idea. One can argue that a brand can be literally anything that sets us apart from the competition in the same industry. When it comes to visuals, there are many tools that are used regularly. Names, images, logos, designs, a message to convey, and other uniquely identifying features are all tools of the trade.
Building our strategy
We have covered what a brand is, but what about a brand strategy? This term represents a plan that consists of specific, long-term goals as well as the means to achieve them. It incorporates all the components of our company and its character to make it identifiable in the market. To have a proper and well-executed brand strategy means that all aspects of a business are affected. Some of the key points to revolve our strategy around are consumer needs, emotions, and our competitive advantages. Our brand is not our product, logo, website, service by themselves. It is much more than that – it is a synergistic effect of all of these elements. It is the intangible unison of all the different efforts that go into our business. And creating that elusive feeling in our customers is what separates and distinguishes from the mediocrity. Building a branding strategy can be seen as an art form, rather than a science.
The key to staying consistent is providing content that is relevant for continually enhancing our brand. If we are adding new content to our social media, the first thing we need to ask ourselves is “what does it mean for us?” Will it bring us benefit? Is it in line with our general message? Or will it confuse our audience or be misunderstood? For our brand to have solid footing, our messages need to be cohesive. Consistency will contribute to our brand recognition, which will, in turn, ensure customer loyalty in the long run. One of the first things we need to do is to reserve the rights to our name and logo. Registering these basic elements will ensure that we get exclusive rights to it. There are plenty of brand registration companies that can help us with this. Imagine your brand becoming all the rage, but also being free for anyone to use it. Now you would not want that as it is your intellectual property.
Your personal brand
If you are the boss of a company, the way people see you is also a reflection of the company. Therefore, it is crucial that you portray a personal brand that is in line with the values and goals of your business. Looking the part will help portray the right image and having a suitable wardrobe that sends the right message will go a long way. Briony Croft are specialists in personal branding and will help you define the right image, exude confidence and maximise your target client base.
Managing customer emotions
Contrary to popular belief, customers are not always rational. A good portion of them will part with a lot more money just because of the branding associated with the product. Imagine that we are presented with two products or services of the same overall quality. Now, if one of those is much more easily recognized and praised. Statistically, we would gladly spend a significant amount of money on top for that privilege. This is what is called “emotional branding”. Certain companies use it by creating communities around their brand. If we provide our customers the opportunity to be a part of a larger group, we become more a part of their everyday lives. A community more tightly-knit than just a bunch of individual product or service consumers. Why is that a thing? Humans have an instinctive affinity for building relationships wherever and whenever possible and that can be used to our advantage. Along with that, a very important feeling of belongingness also appears. One of the top needs in Maslow’s hierarchy is to be a part of a group, to belong. The takeaways we can get from these old lessons in human nature are truly powerful. We need to construct a way for our customers to connect to our brand on a deeper and emotional level. It can be done in many ways. We can give them peace of mind, make them feel like a part of the family. Alternatively, we can make our customers feel special, strong, or even dangerous. Using these emotional triggers is one of the most powerful tools that we can wield for our brand. Of course, it all depends on the brand we want to promote and the context behind it.
There is always an infinite number of things we can do to try and make our brand identity rich and detailed. And that is where we might fall into one of the most common mistakes. There is a line between rich and oversaturation. Too much of anything is bad, and will not serve us any good. We need to choose a concept for our brand style and stick with the idea. It might seem impossible to accomplish with all that we have covered, but simplicity is our goal and a good friend. Having these principles in mind keep your brand as fresh as the day you came up with it.