Building a Brand
As consumers, we often associate industry-leading brands with an iconic symbol (logo) or unforgettable catch phrase. While both of these elements can have a heavy influence on a target audience, the strategy and behind-the-scenes work are what create an unforgettable brand.
Do Your Research: Develop a Communications Plan
Knowing your audience in detail is essential. Before you can decide the how and what of communicating with your audience, you must understand their lifestyle, values, needs, etc. Research how potential competitors communicate with your audience. Figure out what is effective, what is not effective and what you can learn from this analysis. These conclusions can be implemented in your own strategy moving forward. Once this is accomplished, you can formulate your brand – starting with your mission, values and goals – to accommodate your audience profile. This information then allows you to customize a plan for cohesively and effectively using different communication channels and tactics to create measurable results.
Design Your Visual Brand
As society becomes more and more visual, we have to acknowledge the power of imagery as it applies to making a statement with a brand. The visual elements of your brand include anything from color combinations, shapes, fonts, textures, etc., that make up the visual quality, voice and overall aesthetic of your brand. Think of this as a visual expression of the communications plan. Various combinations of these visual elements evoke different feelings, aligning your visuals with your mission as a company, as well as what appeals to your audience. This visual message must be concise and impactful. Most importantly, your visual brand must stand out within your industry. You don’t want your logo swimming in a sea of similar fish, you want your logo to contrast anything that seems “typical” without jeopardizing the message you are communicating.
Develop Messaging and Determine Your Positioning Statement
Similar to you visual brand, your messaging should be concise and obvious, and must stand out from other competitors. Any brand can explain what it offers to its specific market. More importantly, you need to highlight what you have to offer that other alternatives do not. This is what we call a positioning statement. Address issues that are not covered by the alternative. Explain the solutions you provide that others don’t, and set yourself apart. This method is much more impactful than a typical explanation of how you provide within your industry. Be sure the voice used here is cohesive with your brand aesthetic, mission and goals.
Start a Blog/Podcast
Content generation sets a brand apart within its industry. Supplying fresh content and becoming a resource within your market opens new windows of opportunity. The content you develop can also be shared across multiple mediums and social platforms. Post a blog or podcast on your website and share it through social media marketing. When others share your content, they are ultimately sending the user right back to you, versus sharing information created by another entity. This is great for SEO and a great way to stay on top of current market trends and therefore remain prominent in the eyes of your audience.
Enforce your Social Media Presence
Nothing beats social media when it comes to interacting with your audience and other people in your industry. Social media is not only a platform to communicate information to your audience in one direction, it is a platform that supports two-way communication, allowing for a more personal connection with potential clients. Being social is exactly what social media is for and an extremely cost-effective method of doing so. We see trends in customer service moving toward the use of social media as well. Customers are much more likely than ever before to address concerns via social media instead of reaching out through a website or direct contact. Let your clients know that you are available to them through these different platforms by posting often and promoting relevant content to your brand and industry.
Be Consistent, Be Visible
As we talked about with social media, being current and present has a large impact on how your audience views your brand. Continue this within your community. Be visible. Be involved with community events and organizations that fit within your industry. Having a presence within your area is great for business development. It is an easy way to network and contribute to community efforts, all of which promote your brand in a positive way.
There is no exact recipe for building a successful brand, but with each of the focuses we explain, you can customize your strategy in order to make an impact within your industry from your mission, messaging, visual aesthetic, and on and offline presence. These are the elements that work together behind the scenes to create what we consider some of the largest brand leaders within today’s consumer markets.