How to Establish a Strong Brand That Can Carry Your Business to Success
The importance of a good brand strategy should never be underestimated. Just think about all those products we call by the brand’s name instead of the actual name like Kleenex, Google, Thermos, and Jacuzzi.
That is the ultimate goal of brand strategies — to slip into people’s private lives, to go beyond commercials, and have people think about your products, services, and brand messaging beyond the scope of using your product or services.
Getting results from a solid brand strategy doesn’t happen overnight, though. It takes a combined effort from your marketing, design, and sales team, as well as your media presence, customer support team, and the type of products and services you offer.
In this article, we’ll explain how to get started on establishing a strong brand presence that will reflect your values and beliefs, as well as differentiate you from your competitors and give you a palpable edge on the market.
A good logo goes a long way
Your logo is your main visual identifier and a powerful tool for success. That is why it’s important to leave designing it to professionals. Some brands try to save money by creating a visual identity on their own, but it often leaves them with a messy logo that is unclear, too small, too complicated, or poor quality.
A great logo is timeless — it sends a clear message, works amazingly in different sizes and with different media, and is unique.
Food-focused brands usually use primary colors like red and yellow, since they encourage appetite and are naturally found among food products. Blue and purple are less often used for food branding, but they are often the colors of cosmetics and social media platforms.
When it comes to shapes, circles and ovals send out positive emotional messages and can represent community and unity. Squares and triangles suggest balance and professionalism, while vertical lines suggest masculinity and strength.
Once you agree on a logo, don’t change it periodically, because you want to build brand recognition and don’t want to confuse your customers. Even if they forget the name of your brand, they’ll remember the colors and packaging.
It is important to know how your competition brands themselves, in order to avoid making your designs too similar. Your logo should differentiate your brand and if it can also tell the story of how it’s different, that’s a winner.
Once you create your logo, work from that and create your entire brand identity and a brand book. This is essentially a style guide for your employees and partners. It should describe the color palette, fonts, different variations of your logo, sizes and preferable ways of implementing your logo on different materials.
Brand messaging that doesn’t sound like buzzwords
There is nothing more disheartening than seeing brands call themselves clean, eco-friendly, and healthy, all while their product labels show the exact opposite. Your brand messaging should tell the story of your brand and not the current trend in the industry.
Show your customers what you stand for and what makes you special. If you’re not the cheapest food delivery service, but all your deliveries are made by bicycles, you won’t brand yourself as the most affordable solution, but as the most eco-friendly solution or the one with the smallest carbon footprint.
A great way to figure out what to put forward as your brand messaging is to ask these questions:
- Do you know your audience?
- What do all your competitors lack?
- How will your brand change someone’s life for the better?
- What emotion do you want your customers to feel while engaging with your brand?
Knowing your audience is the cornerstone of a great brand strategy. The best way to familiarize yourself with the people on the receiving side of your brand messaging is to make good use of Google Analytics. Moreover, monitor your social media insights and create a buyer persona accordingly.
A buyer persona should be a fleshed-out character, with a level of education, a job, a certain family situation (married/single/in a long-distance relationship/with or without kids, etc.), lifestyle habits, hopes, and dreams.
It is important that you understand their life outside of the time they spend purchasing and using your products and services. This can benefit you in your advertising campaigns. For example, a language school that offers courses for children won’t advertise their services to children, but their parents.
If that language school knows that they have a sizable audience that earns an average salary, they can use that in their advertising by focusing on the long-term benefits of knowing different languages and how it can open doors for their kids.
By appealing to someone’s emotions and showing them how your product or service can positively impact their life (in this case, give their children a better future), you’re evoking positive emotions like hope and making your clients see the bigger picture.
That is something you should strive for with all your branding efforts. Always be mindful of the emotions you’re trying to convey and invoke.
Differentiate yourself from the competition
Another great way of going about creating brand messaging that sticks out is to analyze your competitors and see what they’re basing their brand on. As a part of your SWOT analysis, you should pinpoint your weaknesses and threats, as well as your competition’s biggest selling points.
You need to be familiar with their approach, but don’t think about copying or using their branding as building blocks for your own. Is there something about your service that is completely unique?
Are your ingredients ethically sourced? Is your brand a family business that’s using the same original recipes as the generations before? Maybe you’re going against the stream and you’ve decided to focus on people other brands have been ignoring.
Vera Wang started her fashion carrier at 40 when she realized there were almost no options when it comes to wedding dresses for “older” brides. She saw an untapped market and used it to her advantage.
Sometimes brands can also be created around things that don’t necessarily have a lot to do with the end products.
A great example of that is the branding of Coca-Cola and Pepsi. While they both produce sodas, one brand went with a family-first approach, that celebrates spending time with your loved ones, especially around Christmas time. The other brand, however, focuses on young people, celebrities, and pop culture.
The branding couldn’t be more different, even though the products are very similar. That is the best course of action! Once you figure out what makes you unique in the marketplace, use it in your branding and stick with it.
Copying someone else’s approach can tarnish your brand and get people to switch to your competitors. Just think about Wendy’s Twitter, and how all fast food brands quickly decided to jump on the bandwagon and try to be funny and sassy, instead of whatever they were doing in the first place.
Make sure your core branding is incorporated into all your interactions with customers, internal branding, PR, social media, product design, and everything else associated with your business, products, and services.
Staying consistent is key! If you have decided on a carefree, millennial tone of communication in your ads, don’t talk to your customers like they’re in a job interview once they contact you on social media.
How to approach multichannel marketing
The best way to work on increasing your brand awareness is to use multiple channels and here is why. While brand awareness campaigns don’t put a focus on selling your products and services, they lay down the groundwork for those types of campaigns.
Put yourself in the situation where you’re looking for new running shoes and it comes down to two brands: one you’ve never heard of and the other one you’re familiar with, even if you can’t quite put your finger on how you know about it.
You’ll be more inclined to go with the brand you’re familiar with and that is the result of brand awareness campaigns. Seeing banner ads, TV spots, and social media posts leaves your audience with a sense of familiarity and they’ll be more inclined to trust you.
For a well-rounded campaign, you’ll want to use different social media sites, as well as banner ads on platforms your audience frequents. Social media users differ from platform to platform.
Instagram is great for reaching a younger audience. And, since it’s a visual platform, it’s important to convey all your brand points in a form of a picture or video.
Facebook, on the other hand, is better for reaching mature audiences. You can give more information about your products or services and include engaging imagery. You can accompany your visuals with lengthy texts, post links, and engage in a conversation with your audience.
For those brands who need longer format ways of expressing themselves, YouTube is the best bet. It lets you pack a punch with a longer video explaining how you got the idea for your brand, how you’ve positioned yourself in the market, and who is benefiting from your products and services.
LinkedIn is great for SaaS and IT brands, who have a lot of know-how to share with their audience. Advertising on LinkedIn is significantly more expensive than other social media platforms, so make sure you are sure about the impact it will have before you start your campaigns.
Darshan Somashekar, who runs popular classic games site Solitaired.com, regularly runs retargeting campaigns to improve branding. “We retarget users who visit our site across various platforms so our brand is always present to them. We find these users return to our site more often to play our solitaire games, and many become power users.”
Outside of the scope of your own channels, try working with influencers and tastemakers in your industry. Influencers already have huge audiences interested in a specific industry. They have a lot of power and can help you reach a lot of people who are most likely to buy your products.
Influencers have to make engaging and creative content if they want to thrive, so you’ll easily get amazing content that showcases the best parts of your products and services.
If influencer marketing is not for you, we have a great idea: work on making your employees your brand ambassadors. That’s what brands like Buzzfeed, Zappos, and others are doing. This is a long-term campaign effort that won’t show results right away, but you can count on them over time.
This type of brand awareness campaign elevates the public’s trust in your brand, since having employees using the products they’re producing shows that they believe in the quality and longevity of them.
A strong brand can help your business in more ways than one, but you have to work on it continuously and holistically. The only way your branding will stick out in your audience’s minds is if you use it as a starting point with everything you do. Otherwise, why bother?
People love stories and your brand story should be told over and over again. Use it to bring people together, bring them behind the scenes, tell them what makes you stand out and what you believe in.
The more you share, the more people will relate to you. Don’t be afraid to use your brand’s voice to talk about things important to you and use it to build relationships with suppliers, partners, and customers. You’ll be sure to leave a lasting impression.