Brand-building isn’t just a marketing function, it’s an art. Whether you’re starting a new business or just trying to re-brand an established one you know that solidifying your brand in customers’ minds is a difficult thing to do.
Here are some secrets to building a better brand you can’t ignore if you’re in it for the long haul…
Secret #1: Consistency is Key
The biggest mistake most businesses make is being inconsistent in their brand messaging. Particularly if you’re marketing in many different channels (i.e. print, social media, outdoor advertising) you need to make sure your tone and point-of-view matches up all the way around. If you’re the “cool, innovative” brand in your industry you need to appear that way on Facebook as well as in your B2B communications.
Secret #2: The Logo is Not the Brand
Some businesses make the mistake of picking a name, a tagline, or even a logo before they decide what they want the brand to be about. It’s never smart to peg your entire brand identity on an image or saying. Rather, you should strive to create meaningful symbols and words that represent your brand once you’ve outlined all the tenents.
Secret #3: Defining the Brand is the Hardest Part
Don’t make the mistake of letting your customers tell you what your brand is. It’s crucial to sit down and map out exactly how you want your brand to be perceived, it’s “qualities”, and the ways in which you’ll get the message across. If you’re not actively involved in the creation and dissemination of your brand, you’re simply responding to the market, and that’s no way to make an impact.
Secret #4: You Need Outside Influence
Don’t let your brand-building campaign become too insular. It’s tempting to let the people who know the company best do all the branding work, but with that comes the risk that you’re wearing rose-colored glasses. Whether you set up focus groups, bring in a consulting firm, or even hire an outside marketing agency to build your brand for you, be sure you’ve got a devil’s advocate in the room at all times when you’re “brandstoming.”
Secret #5: Know Who You’re Talking To
No one brand speaks to everyone in the same way. Decide upfront who you want your target market(s) to be and brand towards those people. If you want to market to women, brand yourself in a way they can relate to by studying the places women absorb branding information. Don’t expect to throw tons of content out there and have your brand stick – you’ve got to target.
Secret #6: Be Authentic
There’s nothing worse than a brand that doesn’t understand how it’s perceived. Often the most unpolished, grittiest things about your company are what endear consumers the most, so let them inside the brand, particularly if you’re marketing to millennials. You don’t want your brand to feel like it was created for an audience; you want it to feel like a natural extension of the ideals of your company.
Branding is hard work and it’s not something that happens overnight. Every time you make an impression you’re building your brand in one way or another. Be proactive so you’re in control of your brand, not the marketplace.