The importance of branding has never been higher than it is today. In fact, studies have shown that Millennials actually view their brand preferences as being nearly as integral to their identity as they do religious preferences. That level of commitment and evaluation cannot be understated!
This can be both a daunting and exhilarating realization—branding can make or break your business. As such, it is more than just important to effectively build a brand; it is unequivocally vital. If you want to retain consumers—and you do, because repeat customers make up approximately one-fourth of all online purchases—then stellar branding is irreplaceable.
From first impressions to internal consistency to long-term loyalists, strong branding benefits every facet of your business. Like most things, though, building a brand easier said than done, especially in an increasingly competitive and complex world that relies heavily on internet-based customer engagement.
So, how do you build a better brand? While there is no one-size-fits-all approach, there are some universal practices that can be applied to basically any type of business. Read on to discover our top seven practices to better branding!
Determine Your Brand’s Target Audience
Strong branding starts with specificity. You have to know who you’re building a brand for before you can start construction. The dream client, or buyer persona, may even pop into your imagination as you think about a target audience.
The challenge then becomes how to populate your target audience with that dream client. Thankfully, this is much easier in 2019 than it has been in the past. No longer do you have to rent a roadside billboard, decorate it with an outlandish advertisement, and cross your fingers for success. Instead, you can use technology and advanced market research to pinpoint the perfect audience for your business.
Once you have determined your brand’s target audience, you can begin to understand its mindset more clearly, form customer relationships, and create detailed, effective ads.
Research Brands within Your Industry Niche
Analyzing and learning from brands similar to your own is essential in building a successful brand. Not only can you imitate those who are excelling in the industry, but you can also avoid making the same mistakes that unsuccessful businesses have made. It’s truly a win-win!
It is important to note that brand research is not limited to the beginning stages of your development. Just as your business will evolve throughout its life, your branding will adapt as is grows and the market changes. Researching other brands that have kept up with the ever-changing trends in the marketplace is never a bad idea!
Outline the Key Qualities and Benefits Your Brand Offers
While this may sound like an activity you’d find in an adult coloring book, it is actually an exceptionally useful tool for clarifying your ideologies and identifying both your strengths and weaknesses. In fact, it could be said that this is a vital step toward building your brand. How can you build something without first establishing a foundation, after all?
As an added bonus, this is an activity that can serve the dual-purpose of team building. So, not only will you be explicitly categorizing the key qualities and benefits your brand offers—thereby giving you a base to build on and a defined set of positive elements to present to customers—but you’ll also be strengthening your most valuable brand asset: the people behind it!
Build a Brand Message and Elevator Pitch
The value of a positive first impression cannot be understated. In fact, a study in the UK showed that 36% of adults trust a well-dressed person better to do their job. The same holds true for brands—a customer’s initial encounter will stick with them and influence their perception of your business.
Having a defined brand message and concise, well-constructed elevator pitch is a lot like dressing your brand sharply. It ensures that potential customers get the right impression from the moment they first make contact.
Spread the Word about Your Brand
Brand recognition is a huge contributor to success, so it only makes sense that you’d need to prioritize spreading the word about your brand. While advertising can certainly contribute to brand awareness, word-of-mouth is one of the most effective ways to get the word out about your brand.
In fact, people are 90% more likely to trust a brand that is recommended by a friend and 28% identify word of mouth as the most influential factor in determining their affinity for a brand. In other words, getting the word out about your brand in an organic way is not just an effective technique, it is an absolutely vital one!
Integrate Your Brand into Every Aspect of Your Business
Your brand should encapsulate everything that your business is about. Think about it as the DNA of your company. If that DNA is missing from any aspect of your business, that aspect will suffer. Integrating your branding throughout ensures that each piece is functioning as part of the whole with focus and clarity!
Customer-relationship management (CRM) is another area where this practice can shine. Without customers, after all, there can be no business. Integrating your brand into these relationships and reinforcing what your company is all about can have a long-lasting impact on customer retention and brand loyalty. Plus, with intuitive automated software that can help you manage those relationships, integrating your brand is easier than ever.
Stay True to Your Brand Building
You’ve likely heard consistency is key a hundred times before, and it’s never more accurate than when talking about branding. Staying true to your brand building is integral in assuring that your customers feel confident in your business, your employees know exactly what the expectations are, and your company has that ever-important foundation on which to grow.
It is important to not confuse consistency with rigidity. Instead, think of consistency as establishing a well-defined set of principles and values. Your brand can remain loyal to these root characteristics as it expands and evolves to the changing world of business. You don’t have to compromise your branding in order to be flexible!