Building a brand strategy is a long-term investment that is rewarding and fulfilling, but how do you go about including that in your marketing strategy?
If you are looking to create long-term value in your business, you need to focus on building a brand. It’s so much more than creating a visual identity. Focusing on your brand contributes to setting yourself apart from the competition and increasing your profit.
But building a brand takes time. It won’t happen overnight. However, when you brand your business correctly, you can gather a tribe of loyal customers that will keep coming back.
So, what do you need to do when building a brand?
This four-step, recurring process defines your brand:
- Know your competition. Who are the ones currently in the market and what are they doing?
- Find your target market. When you are trying to establish your target market, focus on creating a buyer persona. This is a fictional representation of your ideal customer.
- Clarify what your brand stands for. Take the time to visualize what your brand stands for and try to differentiate yourself from your competitors.
- Engage with your target audience. As you build a customer base, consistently ask for their feedback. Then make improvements based on their recommendations.
Know your competition
When entering a market, there are sure to be a few other companies serving the same customers that your brand will serve. Getting to know your competitors and learning what they are doing is critical when building a brand. This allows you to see what they are offering and what their customers like or don’t like. Then you can shape your solution around resolving the pain points their customers face when using your competition’s product or service.
Getting to know your competitors also helps determine how you can differentiate yourself from them. This is critical if you wish to develop a brand. If you focus on the same selling points as your competition, you must compete on price. However, if you shape a solution that is different and even superior to your competitor’s offering, you may not have to lower your prices.
Questions to ask when getting to know your competitors:
- What do they offer?
- Where do their customers come from?
- What do they provide?
Find your target market when building a brand
To create a buyer persona, you need to focus on a few things. First, you need to think of who your brand will serve. Envision how old your customers are, what their occupation is, and what their interests are. This will help you understand those you wish to attract, making it easier to create a brand that addresses their genuine needs and speaks their language.
While you are learning about your audience, visit the online environments they frequent. Use social media hashtags and subreddits to learn what gets them excited, how they communicate, and what their favourite products are. This helps you establish a guideline for your brand to follow that will speak directly to your market.
Questions to ask when defining your target market:
- How old are your customers?
- Where do your customers work?
- What are your customers interested in?
Clarify what your brand stands for
When building a brand, visualize what it will stand for. This helps you to more easily differentiate yourself from your competitors. What’s your brand personality? Think of it as having its own.
Describe your brand story and imagine how it will speak to your ideal customer? Shape your brand’s values around the people you wish to serve. Your brand voice is a very important part in addition to the brand logo and other visual elements.
Investing in brand values is far more rewarding than worrying about a business name generator or what to put on a business card. It is much more than poetic descriptions in a positioning statement or mission statement. Customers need to connect.
You won’t be able to serve everyone, so focus on aligning your values with those your customers embrace. Concentrate on your ideal customers. Uphold the values you swore to protect, and never waiver on your promise.
When you do this correctly, you will have lifelong customers that keep ordering your products and get excited about your marketing campaigns, lining up around the block when you create something new.
Questions to ask when clarifying what your brand stands for:
- What do you want your brand to stand for?
- Which values do your ideal customers find important?
- What promises can you keep?
Consistently engage with your target audience when building a brand
By focusing on engaging with your customers, you can collect valuable feedback. Implementing their feedback for product improvements makes them feel heard and develops products and services that fill their needs.
This interaction creates a sense of community. Building a brand is a community effort, and that requires vulnerability. However, the risk you take by engaging with customers pays off with strengthened customer bonds. It also provides real-time feedback, permitting you to pivot your product or service for consistent improvement and growing your customer base even more.
How do you engage with your customers?
- Build a feedback loop that allows your customers to contribute to improvement.
- Create a sense of community around your brand and what you stand for.
- Be customer-focused with everything your brand does.
It takes a holistic approach to be successful at building a brand
Throughout history, successful brands were the ones who nailed these four strategies and implemented them as a whole. From McDonald’s to Apple, each successful brand commits to each step of the process and continues it on repeat.
It begins with getting to know their competition and determining how to be different. They define and understand their customers, including their pain points and values. This enables powerful brands to engage with customers, creating a community and sense of belonging. Brand positioning is about securing a place in the minds and hearts of your customers, just like a friend.
As a result, customers are comfortable offering feedback implemented for improvement. The audience feels heard, pain points disappear, and the customer base solidifies and grows to reach more potential customers. Building a brand takes time, but when you do this correctly, you will have customers that will support you through thick and thin and bring their friends along for the ride.