We’re in the midst of a business boom, with SMEs fuelled by passion determination sprouting from every corner of the digital and physical sphere. And while goals can get you so far, creating the perfect combination of branding still remains the all-important X-factor. Ultimately, a killer image determines whether your business will sink or sail past competitors in a crowded market. This is what makes your business unique to its core – so it’s worth putting in the hard yards from the start.
Unlike what you might have heard on the hyped-up videos of self-proclaimed marketing experts, it’s about far more than just managing a top-tier social media presence. If you can get down and personal with your audience, great, but branding goes far beyond just being able to ‘be alive’ on these channels. You need to know exactly how to represent your brand’s personality and voice when it matters most and make smart decisions on your tactics.
Really, igniting your brand enough to gain breakthrough success takes a mixture of thoughtfulness, careful planning, and a dash of social psychology. If that sounds a little intimidating to you; fear not – we’re breaking down the eight basic building blocks of brilliant branding down.
1. Dig for data
Data is the baseline for any venture you dive into, no ifs, buts or maybes. Without it, you can’t make informed decisions. It should be a crystal ball into your efforts, allowing you to see the most important numbers behind your performance. You’ll also see where the gaps in the market are, allowing you to build your brand around them. There’s never any point in heading into anything blind, so don’t walk the tightrope without a clear picture.
2. Get inside your customers’ minds
Branding is all about how your business is perceived, we all know that. In order to understand what that might look like, however, you’ll have to step outside of your perspective within the actual brand and see it from the eyes of your customers. In fact, you’ll have to step into the life of your target audiences, and set aside time to really understand how your brand fits into their world. The best strategies come from solving your prospects’ biggest problems and challenges, so you should always be solidifying a brand presence around this notion.
Think about what their day to day lifestyle is like, how you might influence them and their decisions, or even how you make them feel. Do you align with their values, or is there a gap? How can you present a purpose to them? If you can’t speak to their ideas and values, they won’t speak to you
3. Plan your brand
Creating a business, be it corporate or small, takes a lot of work and drive. But those elements aren’t enough to make you a market leader, either. There’s plenty of backstage components keeping the gears turning that your audience doesn’t see. Front and centre, all they can identify is your brand, so ensuring your surface image is powerful, accurate and trustworthy is key. And that takes planning.
This involves everything from:
- Defining exactly what your mission is, and how you’ll make a mark on the market.
- Understanding who your customers are, down to their personality traits and habits.
- Creating visual guidelines that wordlessly communicate your identity to those people.
- Developing a unique voice that speaks to your target audience, combined with a thorough content strategy.
- Finding a spot within the market where your identity stands out and shines in its uniqueness.
4. Know yourself, and let your audience know you
Building a brand is about far more than just a logo, signature colour, and voice. It’s about having a mission and a purpose – and getting that crystal-clear is the secret to success.
- Why you’re the best at what you do.
- Why you got into what you’re doing; what market space are you filling?
- How your business improves people’s everyday experiences and interactions.
- Who your brand is built for, and who it speaks to.
- What kind of statement do you want to make with your branding and marketing, and what kind of response will it provoke?
5. Express yourself in strategically creative outlets
Marketing and advertising are the bridge between a brand and its prospects. Once you’ve done the groundwork and defined both you and your audience, it’s time to get creative and catch their attention.
Developing marketing and advertising campaigns that appear on platforms and outlets that are frequented by these audiences are key. But to do that, you’ll need a careful strategy on how to create lead-generating content and a compelling message. Find out where your audience wanders on the internet and make sure your message catches their attention – in a way that fits your identity and predefined voice.
6. Showcase your success to build brand authority
Knowledge is an invaluable commodity. It can shape the perception of the public, and in a world where perception is everything, that’s critical. Finding an outlet to showcase the successes, inspiration, and values of your brand builds authority with your audience and inspire them to trust you. After all, the pen is mightier than the sword.
7. Know where you stand in your industry
Branding is as much about placement in the industry as it is about uniqueness and personality. Placing yourself within the context of other competitors and the wider industry is important in understanding where your brand fits in. This will allow you to fill in any gaps and establish yourself as a leader in a niche. This is another reason why data and analysis are so important from the get-go – you can make an informed decision from the beginning, and build your brand around desirable aspects that haven’t yet reached the market.
8. Become one with your company
Every business has its view, identity, and purpose. Becoming intimately acquainted with the inner workings and identity of your company is essential to building brand success. If you don’t believe what you preach, then you need to re-assess where the differences are, and why.
Ultimately, it’s important to pay attention to what it all says about you as a person, and vice versa. The two sets of values need to be united, and brands that don’t streamline this area will quickly fall behind with their audiences.
Crafting a company that people resonate with is yours for the taking if you choose to adopt the right approach. So go out there and make your mark – we’re watching.
Want to speak to an expert from Content Marketing Agency to see how we can help you brand your business, or give it a voice? Get in touch now.