In a world of online shopping and niche boutiques, consumers are able to go anywhere (even from the comfort of their home) to buy just about anything they want. The market is more competitive than ever, and for a business to survive, they must stand out above the rest. But, how?
A brand is an emotional term, rather than physical, it takes on the identity of a product or service. As Jeff Bezos said, “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” A powerful brand has a clear set of emotions and expressions that is consistently communicated to its audience through both verbal and visual cues. A strong Brand will stand out from the others by being able to connect to their audience on a deeper level. Consumers want to buy from people and to feel a certain way about their purchase, so above all marketing strategies and tactics, we must first understand what that feeling is.
- Identify Your Values
The backbone of your brand is about identifying your values and living by them in all aspects of your business. Why did you start your business in the first place? The answer to this question will reveal the passion and purpose of your business, and help re-identify your core values, mission, and vision statements that should be reflected visually as well as within the tone of voice used in all forms of communications.
This step is not only powerful when it comes to connecting with your current and prospecting customers but also when hiring new staff and team members. Your employees are a reflection of your brand, and often may be the first impression.
- Who is your Audience?
A brand cannot be everything to everyone. It is important to be specific when identifying your target audience and how they behave, what they like, what they are already buying, etc. You can start by creating at least three different profiles of who you are trying to reach to purchase your products or services. This will allow your business to stay focused when it comes time to craft messaging and communications that will relate to those people and where to reach them. Without this step, you might as well wear a blindfold and cross your fingers hoping for the best.
When you begin establishing these profiles of your target audience, list everything that comes to mind about that person, and get specific as you can. What is their favorite color? Where do they live? Do they live in a city or on a farm? Do they listen to rock music or do they like classical? Rattle off anything that you can think of, and remember, these audiences will likely evolve as your business does, and you can always go back and make changes.
- Where is your audience?
Without understanding where your audience currently is, a lot of time will be wasted by guessing, and a lot of dollars will be spent reaching an audience that could care less about you. When you can identify who you are trying to communicate with and where they are, it will save you a lot of headaches, hours, and dollars in the long run.
- Visual Identity
Branding is about exposing your business identity. Within seconds, a powerful brand is able to communicate who their business helps, how it is different, and how it is perceived by new customers. It starts with having a visual appearance that stands out from competitors. A color palette, specific fonts, logos, photography, and even video assets. It’s important to consider how you want your customers to feel when they see your brand for the very first time.
- Voice and Personality
The personality of a brand is reflected in more than just color palettes. The tone and voice that is used in various forms of communication such as blog posts, website copy, and even within the bio of your Instagram page, need to have a specific tone and language that is able to resonate with your ideal customer. The personality of your brand should be relatable to your target market, and if this is executed well, it will result in natural gravitation to your products and services.
Branding your business should be a priority before leaping into extensive marketing strategies or spending on paid advertising. A well-established brand will give you an advantage over your biggest competitors and help you stand out and get noticed by the right people. Stay focused on your purpose and values, and use imagery and communications that reflect those values to build lasting relationships with your ideal clients.
About the Author
Kayla Clemons, Marketing & Account Supervisor at Discover Mediaworks graduated from UW-Whitewater in 2012 with a Bachelor’s degree in Entrepreneurship and a minor in Marketing. Kayla’s first corporate role was in the Waterpark Resort industry where she established and grew the social media presence for various hotels and resorts throughout the midwest. During her time in that role is when she discovered her love of storytelling and helping businesses engage with their target audiences in a genuine and meaningful way. As she became active in the community and social events, she discovered an opportunity to grow her career with Discover Mediaworks, where she works with a a wide range of clients. When she is not busy talking about nerdy marketing stuff, you can find her running in the woods with her dog Nelly or riding her bike through the Wisconsin countryside.