The first thing that probably comes to mind when thinking about the definition of a brand is the name of a specific product or service provided by a company. It’s like American ranchers who used to “sign” their animals with “branding” irons more than a century ago. In simple words – the signature is the main association.
But the truth is a little bit more complicated – the brand is all about consistency, both in customer experience and in communication. It is expressed by the store, office, online presence, visual identity, sales, customer service, and many other factors that are difficult to collect not only in one sentence, but even in one book. This was well summarized by Amazon’s CEO and founder, Jeff Bezos, who said:
It’s about being distinctive and endowed with trust and loyalty. But, because we’re talking about the beginnings, let’s start with recognition.
Just do it: think about your target audience
The first step to achieving success is to identify the group you want to focus on. At the end of the day, you cannot do everything for everyone, right? Try to be specific. Who would like to buy your product? Why does the customer need it? Why would they prefer your product than one from a competitor?
Describe detailed behaviors and think about your clients’ lifestyle. Who exactly do you try to reach? You can also consider the image of your customers and their profile personalization. We’ve written before about the advantages of taking these steps when posting about buyer personas.
Think different: what are YOUR key qualities or benefits?
There are probably a few things you are worried about, and the most important is competition – brands with a larger budget, creative team and loyal customer base. How can you get ahead of them?
There’s no point in stressing out—just ask yourself one particularly important question.
Why is your product outstanding?
You can even make a checklist of your strong points:
However, a checklist is just the beginning. Behind all the good things you offer, there’s the experience, which is the value your customers actually care about. Of course, it is worth emphasizing the advantages of your offer, but the winding road to success leads somewhere else. Try to communicate the benefits of your offer in a more engaging way. You can find some examples below:
In other words – sell the result important from the customer’s point of view, not just the feature as you know it.
The best-known example of such a form of showing benefits is Apple’s evergreen “Think different” campaign. It’s a perfect example of focusing on ease of use, clean design and overall simplicity, but expressing it all with an unexpected twist. The claim spoke for itself.
- Nice design—check.
- Spend less time servicing and reducing the time needed to service the system and costs related to team employment (instead of “fast-acting, easy-to-use system”);
- Check your emails wherever you are (instead of “integrated email application”);
- Unpack and play (instead of “batteries included”).
I’m lovin’ it: falling in love with logo and visual identity
Logo, colors, photographs, iconography & co. (and whatever your company visually needs) are required to create a website, advertisement, infographic or any other content you can think of. Also, they are one of the ways you connect with your customers or, broadly speaking, audience—the visual side of your brand is what they see in front of their eyes when they think of you.
That is why you need a brand bible, consisting of all those features together with fonts, color palette and other graphic elements. They are the components of your brand book, a go-to resource for visual identity. Even if you do not have a creative or design department, it is worth investing in a professional service. Memorable visual consistency and brand values must together be a perfect match, like peanut butter and jelly. The logo is the ultimate expression of this idea and a brand-building must-have.
The few. The proud. The Marines: sit tall in the saddle and fight for recognition
Each business branch can use different social media channels, depending on its needs. It is worth thinking about which one is for you – all in all, you will spend at least a few moments a day working on it. We do not recommend being everywhere you can—when you try to do everything, you may achieve nothing.
Step outside of your social media bubble and think about the specifics of your market and business. Do you create services for people in China? Check out WeChat. Are you focusing mainly on issues related to design? Use Pinterest. Do you prepare a lot of business presentations and would like to show them to the world? Create an account on Slideshare. Nowadays, the internet gives you so many possibilities. And remember that Facebook and LinkedIn don’t guarantee publicity and success.
Because you’re worth it: brand building is fun!
Creating a new brand is like dating someone you’ve always dreamed of. That person represents your customers. Each day, you’re building an emotional connection with them, and that’s the key to effective brand building. Selling your product or service is an addition. You’ve got to take good care of this relationship.
Such a strategy will bring results. Maybe not in a week, but in time you’ll notice how the brand provides for itself and for you. And you will definitely be able to say that all this effort was worth the hard work.
We’re keeping our fingers crossed for your achievements. In the meantime, do everything to please your customers in a way a brand can. Try new things and do not forget that gaining recognition requires time, effort and planning.