How is your business coming across to your audience? What are the values that you share with your customers? Is your company recognized as one that expresses those values? It’s time for your business to start considering these questions if you have not already done so.
How your business is defined, or how it is branded, will play a huge role in the success you have among your audience. Consider popular brands that you love and recognize such as Nike’s swoosh, McDonald’s Golden Arches or Apple’s simple apple. These brands have created a community around them, with millions of firm followers. How did they do it? They stuck to the basics of branding, and so should you.
Don’t consider branding your business as a light matter. You’ll need to brand yourselves in a way that your customers gain a sense of trust for you and that dedicated loyalty to your services, products and vision. Here are the basic steps to branding your business in a way that draws in those followers.
Identify Your Audience
The first step to branding is obtaining adequate knowledge of who your audience is, what kinds of media they are consuming and what resonates with them. Your goal is to have your customers keep coming back to you. Understanding your audience’s needs and wants is going to be the key to do just that. The manner in which you present your business needs to connect with those customers’ taste.
Ask yourself, what are your audience’s greatest needs, hopes and desires? Can your business help fill some of the gaps in their lives? If not, it may be time for some rebranding around your office. If you can’t give your audience what they are looking for, then they will go look for it somewhere else. Show them up front that you have what they need.
Build an Identity
Once you better understand your audience, you can move on to constructing an identity for your business. This identity is the brand that people remember. It will be how your audience views your company.
Some features to include when building your brand’s identity are:
- Logo: Like with the brands mentioned before, a logo can be one of your most powerful branding tools. Without seeing the name of the company, you instantly recognize who the business is from their logo alone. That doesn’t mean that your logo shouldn’t have your company name, many do. Just make sure that it is a memorable logo, and one that isn’t too complicated. Do some research about why some logos resonate with your audience while others don’t.
- Brand Colors and Typography: Again, don’t make this complicated, but don’t take colors and text too lightly. Each color and each typography type carries with them a message you are sending to your audience. Make sure you are sending a message that makes you appear authoritative, friendly, passionate or however else you would like to appear.
- Tone and Voice: The content your company creates should have a voice that is also consistent with your values and vision. Go back to your audience research and study up on the content they are consuming and sharing. Does it have an upbeat or serious tone? Is the content quirky or professional? Most importantly, ask yourself if this kind of content is consistent with your brand’s tone. If so, then follow a similar fashion for your own content creation, but with your brand’s unique flare.
- Visual Elements: Every image, every photo and every video you include on your company’s page should work towards promoting who you are as a business. Color and typography could also be included in this category, as well as how your content is presented and how you incorporate your logo. Because so much of what your audience consumes is visual, perhaps your branding should put more focus on visual elements.
- Taglines: Be careful of mimicking other companies’ taglines. Stand out in your industry and avoid cliche catchphrases. Just remember your own unique selling position if you are having trouble developing a tagline for your brand.
Once you’ve constructed an identity for yourselves, stay consistent with your image. Creating a brand style guide that you can refer back to is one helpful tool to keeping that consistency.
Create a Brand Culture
The culture you form around your brand is in great part connected to the identity you create for your business. When a new customer comes in contact with your business, they should quickly be able to notice what your company is all about.
One author suggests creating a culture in your company from the brand up. Everything your business does, from customer service to management, should originate from your original brand values. If your employees understand your commitment to your brand, your customers will start to see it, too.
Be Real, Be You
Above all, don’t pretend to be something you’re not. Your brand will stand out from competitors when it is uniquely you. It will also stand out if you are consistent with your brand, over time and over multiple platforms. Continually strive to stay true to your brand by staying true to you.