When trying to establish a presence with a new company, it seems that finding your footing among the competition is the first challenge to be faced and overcome.
Of course your products and services are superior, but how do you get loyal customers to change from their current provider of said products and services and utilize your company instead? There’s no single answer to this question, but building an attractive brand is somewhere near the top of the list.
The term “branding” is tossed around constantly, but not everyone fully understands what it means to turn a business into a brand. These five tips can help:
1. Start With Identifying Your Target Audience
Your first order of business when building a brand from the ground up is clearly laying out who you’re trying to reach. If you’re running a business where, for example, parents of young children are going to be your main customers, it’s going to require an entirely different strategy than if you’re trying to market to construction companies in your area.
Things like your logo, tagline, and messaging should all be developed with your ideal customer in mind. It never hurts to see what other companies in your space are doing if you’re in need of inspiration.
2. Develop a Personality
At first, it can feel like the best course of action is to cultivate a “brand personality” which everyone can appreciate. While it’s not a bad thing to have widespread appeal, sometimes your brand’s personality can get lost if you don’t try to carve out a specific voice.
To help with this process, it can be helpful to consider your positioning statement, which is one or two lines explaining your “claim” in your industry. This statement isn’t branding material itself (such as a slogan or tagline), but rather helps you come up with one.
One easy way to develop your internal positioning statement is to ask write the following: “We offer [product/service] for [your target market] to [value proposition]. Unlike [other competitors], we [key differentiator or advantage].”
Craft your own version of the above statement and start building based on what you write down.
3. Choose an Effective Brand Name
It’s an interesting thought exercise to consider how the world’s biggest brands would be different if they had started out using another name. Perhaps Nike and Apple would have still dominated their industries simply because of their superior products, but it’s hard to picture the same level of success under a different brand name.
So when it comes to your company, how do you come up with a name that inspires customers to check it out? There’s no one answer to this question, but here’s where you might start:
- Describe what it is that you do. (Southwest Airlines)
- Use an action-word that is favorably associated with your services. (Sprint)
- Take a word totally out of context to generate a second look from consumers. (Apple)
- Make up a word that has a memorable and catchy sound to it. (Google)
- Use an acronym that condenses a longer, more descriptive name. (HBO/Home Box Office)
Obviously, it’s much easier to look back after billions of dollars in revenue and say, “Yep, that was a great name choice.” But even these massive corporations were just ideas at one time.
4. Develop Your Slogan(s)
Most businesses will eventually settle on just one slogan or tagline to represent their brand, but hardly any use the first one that gets written down on the whiteboard.
Coming up with an effective tagline is undoubtedly both an art and a science, and it’s amazing how much work it can be to come up with a sentence that’s usually five words or less. If you do it correctly, your slogan will become synonymous with your brand and can be a major asset in branding materials such as business cards, digital advertising, and any other medium that rewards word-efficient marketing.
Still having trouble getting your list of slogan contenders off the ground? Try creating one using each of these concepts:
- Stake your claim: “The World’s Strongest Coffee” (Death Wish Coffee)
- Adopt your customer’s attitude: “Just Do It” (Nike)
- Incorporate humor/self-deprecation: “A party game for horrible people.” (Cards Against Humanity)
- Idealize the Product: “Breakfast of Champions” (Wheaties)
Don’t try to force a slogan or use a formulaic approach – creativity (unfortunately) doesn’t work that way. Instead, write down ideas as they come to you and have all the members of your team bring something to the table. Sometimes the best slogans or catchy taglines come about as a combination of two different ideas. In the end, when you find the right one, you’ll know it when you hear it.
5. The Visuals
This component of brand-building can induce anxiety in those who consider themselves to be more “business-minded” than creative. But if you want your brand to “pop” in front of the eyes of potential customers, choosing the right colors and imagery can make all the difference in the world.
Once again, there’s no formula that will lead you to the perfect color combination so it’s necessary to experiment. Draw inspiration from the brands that you love and see if there are any aspects you can incorporate into your own. With that being said, be careful not to use colors, fonts, or logos that closely mimic those of a competitor. Aside from the obvious legal side of things, you don’t want your potential customers to associate your brand with someone else’s.
Let your personality come through when designing the logo and determining the colors in your brand guide. Customers have a knack for recognizing authenticity.
At the end of the day, nobody knows your brand like you do. While it’s important to build it in a way that’s appealing to customers, don’t sacrifice the personality behind your company trying to please everyone – it’s just not going to work.
No great brand was built overnight. Take the time to nurture yours along the way and eventually your audience will start to take notice. Spread the word throughout the process and increase brand awareness in your community first.
If you’re in need of assistance in building your brand, you’ve come to the right place. Get in touch today and we’ll put together a holistic strategy that works for you.