What exactly is a brand?
Many people think that when you talk about a “brand,” you’re referring to logo design. While that is not entirely wrong as the terms are often used interchangeably, there is much more to it than that. In short, a brand can be defined as the way your customers perceive you. It is the relationship, expectations and memories associated with your business. It is the story you tell and the emotions you are able to elicit.
Your brand is everything your organization stands for.
Logos are just a single, visual representation of your brand and its values. They help people recognize the larger business as a whole through a visual cue. A logo has very little meaning to an individual without any context or story behind what it represents.
So what makes a brand successful? Consistency – a consistent message, tone of voice and visual standard that you deliver to your audience. The more you repeat your message and convey it to people, the faster they start believing it. Developing a sense of consistency will help you establish stronger and more immediate brand recognition, as well as inspiring admiration, loyalty and trust within your customers. Here are some starters on establishing an awesome and successful brand.
Be focused on selling your brand rather than a product
With such a rapid development of digital and informational technologies in today’s current market, a product-centered approach in marketing is not the most effective one. Today you have a split second to get the attention of a customer, impress them and then make them believe in you. While making your product or service shine does draw people in, it requires a time commitment that potential customers aren’t always willing to give upfront. Remember: if your brand does not excite an audience, it does not matter how good or innovative your product is. So sell your brand.
Research the current market and figure out your place in it
This should be a given but understanding the current market is crucial. Time is valuable so focus your initial research on defining who your potential customer is and who are the competitors going after them. Understanding how your target audience consumes information as well as their habits and general interests will allow you to tailor your brand message to them. Your brand is defined by how you are perceived in the marketplace and speaking the “same language” as your audience will you to develop a deeper connection and brand loyalty.
Develop your brand identity
Wait. Isn’t this the same thing as your brand? Brand identity is a collection of the all the visual elements that represent the larger vision of who you are. This includes things like your logo, packaging, color scheme, iconography and typography. They all support and work hand in hand with your brand as a whole, but they are not your brand. As an outward facing component of your business, your identity will appear everywhere: on your website, letterhead, promotional materials, social networks, business cards, etc. Spend the time to make these elements unique, recognizable and appealing for your target audience.
Build your community
Establishing your brand means much more than creating a quality product. It involves building a community of individuals who support your mission and values. Well-established businesses have devoted a lot of time and effort into improving their brand message both on and offline. Fortunately, there a number of different platforms and social networks you can leverage to help reach your customer base. Word to the wise: it’s not possible to be everywhere at once. While building a following across all available social networks sounds like a good idea, we recommend you choose no more than 2 to 3 platforms to start. Investing your time and efforts wisely into platforms that make sense will have a better return in the long run.
Do not forget about your personality
Your brand is a reflection of your own personality. Many entrepreneurs and businesses make the common mistake of editing themselves out of their own brand voice. Instead, create a list of your personal traits, strengths, interests and hobbies. Then show your customers how these traits intersect with your business, product and brand. Experience has shown that people have more confidence in brands with a tone of voice that is clearly backed by and representative of the people who work there.