When you start your own business, it’s often challenging to get out of the minute details required to keep things moving and take a high-level view of the bigger picture. Focusing on building a brand, rather than just growing a business, often gets sacrificed as a result.
While there are many small pieces to building a good brand, you will discover that taking the time to do so creates a strong foundation for the rest of your efforts. When things go astray, you’ll always have a safe place to return to, so that you can recuperate and make your next move. Here are some of the main reasons building a good brand is important, and steps you can take to get started.
Your Brand Defines Your “Why”
Organizational Consultant and author Simon Sinek captured consumers’ buying mentality perfectly when he said, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” A core component of building your brand is deciding what your business stands for and what you hope to accomplish beyond making money. It fuels the idea that business owners are pursuing their passion, and the brand should speak to that pursuit.
Take some time to sit down and consider why you got into this business, beyond the potential for monetary gain. How do you want to help people? What problem will your product or service solve for your customers? Defining your “why” will help you craft a mission statement that will act as a guiding light for your business.
Define Your Target Market
The one size fits all approach rarely works in marketing and branding. While the thought that casting a larger net will catch more fish makes sense in many aspects of one’s existence, it won’t work when trying to build your business.
A part of building your brand is defining your niche or target market. It includes thinking of who is most likely to purchase what you’re pedalling so you can gear your promotions and optimization efforts toward those people. Building your brand can help you narrow down your target market and vice versa.
Start by crafting an avatar of your ideal customer. Bring them to life by giving them a name, physical features, a job, a family. All of these should tie back into the general demographic categories of your target market, such as age, geographic location, gender, race, income level, etc. Creating an avatar helps make your potential clientele more tangible.
As you go through and see who your target is, you may make changes to your approach. Your penchant for casual, fun fonts and language may not appeal to your ideal customer who is a seriously driven C-suite executive. Alternatively, your use of bold, masculine branding might not appeal to a new mom looking to connect with like-minded individuals.
Messaging and Visual Representation
When someone thinks of branding, it’s the logo design, colours, and fonts that first come to mind. We know that Nike has the iconic swoosh logo and often uses black and white in their designs. Rarely do we think beyond those visual representations into their messaging– i.e., how they speak to us.
Coca-Cola has one of the world’s most recognizable logos, but what is their message to us? Lately, their brand strategy and messaging are crafted to associate the visual representation of the business with parties, fun, and carefree living.
What do you want your business to be associated with? What emotional response do you want to elicit when speaking to your potential customers. Do you want them to be filled with inspiration and motivation to become great? Do you want them to consider all the fun they’ll have with their friends after purchasing your goods?
These considerations will help you determine the type of language you use to communicate with your target market. Whether you take an elite, formal approach or a fun, approachable angle, your messaging is a significant component of your brand strategy.
Communication and Consistency
Once you’ve figured out who you are, why you’re doing this, and in what way you’ll speak to your audience, you need to figure out how to reach them. By what methods will you make a connection? This part of building your brand is closely entwined with your overall marketing strategy. Having a strong marketing strategy ensures that all the hard work you did to build a brand gets noticed by your customers.
Whether you choose to engage in social media marketing, email marketing, print advertisements, trade shows, or any combination of all of these methods, consistency is key for success.
Your imagery and messaging should remain the same whether you’re sending an automated email to drive traffic to your sales funnel, if you’re posting on Facebook, or when you need to customize for your trade show booth and greet customers face-to-face. Remaining consistent will build brand awareness and trust in your authenticity as a business.
Putting a lot of time and effort into building a good brand will yield a positive return on investment for your efforts. As your business evolves, your brand will evolve as well. Regardless of how it changes over the years, a good brand will always provide a strong roadmap to success.
Guest Author: Nikita Ross is a professional ghostwriter and business developer who lives and breathes marketing. With a strong educational background and eight years of practical marketing experience, Nikita knows that the key to marketing success is continuous learning and adaptation.