Regardless of your business size, be it a sizzling new tech start-up or an international company with decades of prestige and legacy, you want your outfit to keep growing and being successful. Branding is crucial in all cases.
What Is Branding?
It’s the marketing practice that a business employs so that everything from its tagline and logo to is very name winds up being very distinct against its competition. If you want to top everyone in your industry, then consumers and clients need to be able to identify your brand easily and quickly.
In the following content, I cover how important branding is, what you can do to establish a consistent branding strategy, even from scratch, and also why it’s a crucial initial step for all your branding efforts.
Why Is Branding Important?
Branding proves essential due to the fact that it determines how customers, both potential and existing, perceive your brand. It’s also useful in growing your brand equity, retaining current clients, and drawing in new business.
What Is A Branding Strategy?
As with any large project which involves multiple stages and people, you’re better off coming up with a comprehensive strategy to navigate the entire process. Since just one branding strategy might run from several months to several years, you should incorporate various elements, such as the following:
- The end goals for your company’s branding campaign
- How you’re going to obtain those goals
- Step-by-step processes leading to said goals
- The primary stakeholders held responsible for each project
- How all of this ultimately benefits your clients and customers
Analysis Of Your Competitors
Branding Tip: Building up a branding strategy isn’t the same as building the brand itself. Building up your branding strategy is how you use core brand assets, such as social media accounts, websites, company colour palette, and your business logo, in order to convey something to your audience, be it purpose, emotion, or just feeling.
When you outline a list of goals that you would like to accomplish, it’s crucial to consider the following:
- Brand Awareness: What brand qualities would you like to make familiar to customers?
- Positive Associations With Your Brand: When a customer thinks about your company, what’s the first thing that springs to mind?
- Loyalty To Your Brand: What do you ideally see in your most loyal and regular customers?
- Perception Of Quality: When customers talk about your business, what specific qualities of your products or services do they highlight the most?
- Preference For Your Brand: How do you make sure that customers pick you over your competitors?
- Brand Experience: What are customers likely to say once they try your products and services for the very first time?
Why Is It Important To Build A Branding Strategy?
Developing an effective branding strategy leads to multiple positive developments. The following are just a few of them:
An effective branding strategy aligns all of your various marketing efforts.
One very clear benefit that you’ll reap from a good branding strategy makes sure that you’re consistently on-brand with all social media marketing, imagery, and campaigns. It will even work as a good framework when you have brainstorming sessions for more marketing.
A comprehensive brand strategy makes communications with customers a lot more clear. Clear, consistent messaging makes it all the more likely that you’ll both attract and then maintain loyal clients and customers.
It brings multi-disciplinary teams into alignment.
Your customers won’t be the only ones enjoying the consistency, as your employees will benefit from the focus as well. If there is too much variance in the specialities, big projects might get muddy. Things can quickly get more complex than anyone ever wanted. Clear branding vision lets everyone get back to the basics routinely enough for mental refreshing, meaning that any and all decisions are taken in the direction of the broader branding goals.
You can analyse what actually worked, and you can see what didn’t.
A crucial element to the end of any large effort is taking time to reflect back on it and evaluate how well it performed. The right branding strategy helps your team get refreshed and reminded of what the initial goals were, so you can see if you actually hit them or not.
How You Can Create A Branding Strategy
Gather your team for a collective sit down, so you can all consider what elements your brand requires.
Your initial step in any brand strategy, when doing one from scratch, is defining your brand. This happens across several different categories:
- Brand Personality: This is a collective set of rather human characteristics that get attributed to or associated with your business. If you want to build brand equity, then you need consistent brand personality all throughout your external-facing communications. When brainstorming brand personality, it’s crucial that it properly aligns with your predominant products and/or services. For instance, if your business is a law firm, then you might choose to be associated with the human characteristics of strength and trustworthiness. On the other hand, if you work in a design agency, you might prefer to be known as whimsical and creative.
- Brand Voice: This is similar to the concept of brand personality, but it’s more about making sure that word choice, tone, and grammar are all uniform for consistently precise communications about your brand. This is how your brand conveys its personality to a broader audience. The themes that brands frequently employ include understanding, approachability, and friendliness.
- The Identity Of Your Brand: This brings together any visual elements you use in communicating your brand, including images, logos, graphic design, and the colour palette. All of these visual aids share the goal of making your brand easily identifiable and distinguishable to customers, both new and returning.
- The Values Of Your Brand: In the modern economy, branding isn’t just about whatever products or services you sell, but also the ethics and values of your company. Customers want to know that they’re actually doing something good with their money, and when you can interweave your values into your messaging, that can happen.
Establish The Purpose Of Your Brand
It might be a little hard to distinguish brand purpose from brand values at first, but not if you consider brand purpose as being the very reason that your brand even exists. Your first thought might be that it’s to make money, but there has to be something more captivating than that.
Apple tries to make money off of iPhones and Macs, but they say that their purpose is the empowerment of creative self-expression and exploration.
Nike makes money off of shoes, but their stated purposes include inspiring athletes around the world, bringing innovation to the sports world, making more sustainable products, and positively impacting the diverse communities around the world.
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Here’s a good idea when considering your brand purpose: Go back to when your business started. What gap were you trying to fulfil?
Identify The Objectives Of Your Brand
Define what your branding efforts are going to do for you. These are usually specifics like retention, conversion, brand loyalty, brand awareness and quality perception.
Determine Who Your Focus Audience Is
Of course, you’d like to have a brand that aspires to reach many different demographics. However, different branding campaigns are more likely to reach specific audiences. Invest the time and resources into figuring out who your focus audience is, and then conduct experimentation about how best to reach them.
Your Visual Identity
One crucial core element of any branding effort is going to be using design power to assist audience communication. This is where your brand kit steps in, things like logos, fonts, photography, and brand colours. Everything should merge well with the comprehensive strategy, as well as all your goals. Never fear tweaking things or even rebranding yourself. The biggest and best companies have done this over and over. Netflix once branded itself as a DVD by post rental outfit, before switching over to being the dominant streaming service, and now they feature more original content than everyone, even while their movie selections decline.
Analysis Of Your Competition
One simple way to make your products and services better is simply by sizing up your competitors. What you want to get out of this sort of analysis is assessing their weaknesses as well as their strengths in ways that help you make better-informed branding decisions of your own. If you’re not sure where to start, consider using the following questions:
- Who is our competition?
- What are they doing better than we are?
- What weaknesses do they have?
- What particular branding strategies are they using?
- Are their chosen branding strategies working well for them?
Keep in mind, your strategy can change and adapt over time.
One final thing you should note: your overall strategy is never going to be set in stone. The modern world moves very fast, but that can be to your advantage. Never before has it been easier to try new angles or even entirely new directions when you realise your current strategy is not working. You should always give your own original ideas a chance, but also keep in mind that you will learn new things along the way.
Do you need help? Let’s have a chat.