How To Build a Strong Brand For Your Startup!
Here is a quick guide to foolproof branding, how to get started, and what might happen if you fall short.
'Did you know the average citizen can see anywhere between 4,000-10,000 brand ads every single day'
Step 1: Get to Know Your Customers
Who are you targeting? It’s not enough to know their age and gender, if there is one, you need to get more intimate than that. What are their hobbies, likes and dislikes, activities, dependents, interests, hangouts, media habits – their entire lifestyles.
You need to know as much as possible about your customers in order to anticipate their problems and offer solutions they can resist. Once you know what these are, you need to know where to find your customers and how to talk to them. Are they on Instagram or consuming traditional news media? How does that affect the language you use to approach them? How do your competitors get their attention?
Become best friends with your ideal customer. This is the crucial first step!
Step 2: Get to Know Your Business
However well you think you know your brand or business at this point, you need to delve deeper. Just as you have formed a detailed picture of your consumers, you now need to do the same for your business.
A strong brand needs to know its own strengths and weaknesses as a business, its greater message and purpose and how these things all work together.
Stringent self-awareness comes first and this is where working with an agency comes invaluable. Outsiders looking in with marketing expertise will help you drill down to who you want your brand to be, what you want it to mean and why. It will also help you pinpoint any weaknesses that you may not have thought of, wanted to face or understood as weakness, in order to improve on them.
It is paramount that all choices made regarding brand message, identity and strategy are bought in from all execs. It will govern every action you take whether its in marketing, legal policy, sales or otherwise, so without full backing from your people, this cannot be maintained long term.
Step 3: Positioning Your Brand
Once you have the data on your customer and your business, you can begin to design how these two factors will engage.
Brand positioning refers to the mental and emotional space you want your brand to take in the hearts and minds of your customers. Once you know who they are and where they spend time, you need to be asking:
How will you attract them?
How do you want them to feel when they see your branding?
What kind of traits do you want them to associate with it?
How can you effectively communicate with this particular audience in a way that stays true to your brand?
What would the ideal consumer journey look like? How would they engage with us and how do we respond when they do?
This step ensures that you achieve the right emotions in your customers because branding, at the end of the day, is all about the feels.
Kathleen Lucente in her article for Forbes sums it up nicely, “a brand’s position… drives customer perception, incites action or engagement, adds weight to sales conversions, highlights differentiation and influences purchasing behavior.”
Step 4: Designing & Producing Brand Assets
The fun part should come last. It is governed by all the information and strategy we have up to this point.
Simple, recognizable branding is always best so that customers spot it, feel safe with it and remember it. This is the driver for return custom.
You need to ensure that all brand assets are consistent across platforms from print to digital – website, social, merchandise etc. Ensure that the following is maintained across the board:
Style and format
In order to feel secure and trustworthy, your brand should be, at least aesthetically, predictable. An old friend that consumers turn to with the confidence that you will deliver what they expect, every single time.
It is certainly worth doing the research into how certain brand colours and aesthetics perform in your industry. An agency will have this kind of knowledge and experience already, able to offer you insights into the psychology behind our decision making, why we gravitate towards certain looks and not others. This extra leg work will set you up for branding success.
Why Do Brands Fail?
These are the top five areas that brands fall short:
Lack of in-depth customer analysis
Lack of relevant, well-timed market fit for their service or product
No long-term vision or strategy
No consistency in creative or messaging
No solid brand identity
The key to nailing branding, is to nail experience. As mentioned above, branding is all about the feels, so you need to understand how to hook your customer, what their next steps look like, how you respond and then get them back in the future. Without a holistic strategy, any of these touchpoints will fall out from under you and the experience is incomplete.
Branding solidifies who you are, what you care about and how you solve the problems of your customers. It keeps you accountable, identifiable and gives you room to be creative whilst still holding true to your business values. All this with a consistent, compelling narrative will work magic for your business – ask us how to get started!