We’ve all heard the term branding, but do you know what it really means?
It’s more than just a logo that creates a brand, but also how customers perceive and feel towards your business.
Businesses are constantly developing their branding, some by accident, and some by intention. Hopefully you’re the latter! Branding is based on every interaction a customer has with you, your company, and your products. Everyone involved with a business from front line staff to the executive team are responsible for shaping the perception of a brand and leaving either a positive or negative public impression.
Many organisations make the mistake of diving into business without a clear brand strategy. Taking the time to develop a proper brand identity and voice, and applying it with consistency can make all the difference when it comes to connecting with your customers.
Not sure how to get your branding under way? We’re here to fill in the blanks for you. Here are our six phases to help you start building your brand.
Phase one: Define your brand
Take a step back and ask yourself how you want to be perceived by your audience. What would you like them to say and remember about you?
Come up with a statement that works as your brand promise. Dig a little deeper by coming up with your brand drivers. These are the benefits that consumers receive by using your product/service.
To wrap up this phase, establish a brand persona. If your brand was a person, what traits would they have? Are you funny? Are you serious? Are you relatable? Assigning human traits to your brand persona makes everything about your business more personalised, and authentic.
Check out our 'Define your brand' worksheet to help you get started!
Phase two: Position your brand
Now it’s time to start positioning your brand. Here you’ll need to figure out who you’re trying to target and how you can best reach them. You’ll also need to think about marketing your brand in a certain way to create and establish an image or identity within the minds of consumers.
Do you want to position yourself within luxury, low price, or innovative brands? Are you targeting millennial’s or boomers? Geographically, where are your customers most likely to be residing? What is their online behaviour and what platforms and channels have their attention?
It’s important to understand your audience’s being behaviour so that you can focus your effort where they are most likely to engage with your brand.
Phase three: Express your brand
This is where things can finally start to roll out! Your brand can begin to take shape in the form of a look and feel by designing how your audience will see and interact with you. During this phase, it’s common to establish a name, logo, typography, colour palette, imagery, and tone of voice.
Capitalise on your research and create collateral that leaves a lasting impression and brand messages that really connect with your target audience.
Phase four: Create a brand guideline
All your branding efforts will go to waste if nobody knows or understands your new brand. Your branding and positioning statements, and visual guidelines for your brand should be combined into one place - a Style Guide. This will ensure consistency, both internally and externally. Consistency in all your materials is what’s going to take your branding to the next level.
Phase five: Measure your brand
Building a brand is no easy feat. It takes time, research and resources. Once your brand is established, you can’t just let it be and forget all about it. It needs to be monitored and measured on a regular basis.
Measure your content to ensure it’s consistent with your branding, and is effective in engaging your audience. It’s important to see what’s working and what isn’t to see where your branding can improve.
To get a feel of whether your branding is effective, speak to both your staff and customers. Ask your team if they understand the company’s target audience, and brand drivers. Ask your customers if they recognise your logo, how they feel towards your brand, and if they hold a sense of loyalty towards you.
To sum it up
Emotions are the driving force behind any customer decision, and a solid brand strategy will help you strike the right emotional chord with your customers to begin the groundwork of a great business-customer relationship. It should work as fuel for all your future marketing efforts, and when followed consistently, will help you boost customer loyalty, and ultimately provide you with significant return on investment.
Check out our interview with Mark, the marketing manager for B:HIVE and Smales Farm, to learn more about how he built the brand for the business
Dive into branding your own business by using our 'define your brand' worksheet to get you underway!