A brand is your company’s most valuable asset, it’s the asset that attracts attention and when done correctly, it’s what establishes loyalty and engagement. When you master your brand, your business will grow.
Branding would be easy if there was no competition, but of course unrealistic. Most brands and companies must work hard to get their markets attention, securing a growing customer base and loyal customers. So, what are the factors that will give your brand the outstanding edge? Logo colours? Images? Tone-of-voice? Or your choice of marketing channels?
What’s unique about your brand, why should the consumers choose your brand over your competitor? How do you make sure your brand stands out from the crowd?
There is no simple answer to this, it’s a bit more complex. Before you can build a stunning brand that stands out, you need to know how to communicate your brand, you need to know your audience and you need to know your competition. Let’s take it step by step.
1. Know your competition
One part of brand building is to separate your brand from your competitors. To do that you need to know who you are up against. Who are your competitors, what are their unique selling points and advantages? What marketing channels and to whom do they reach out?
There are a ton of questions to ask and answer, but your competitor analysis is an essential part when you’re going to find your brands identity and finding the gap where your brand can shine.
2. Identify your audience
Without customers you can’t succeed. So, you need to attract them. How? First of all, you need to understand their needs and their buyer journey. Who is your target audience and how do you communicate with them? What channels do they engage with and what are their buying triggers? Why is your brand relevant to them?
Just like a competitor analysis, a customer analysis is just as important. There’s simply no point in communicating your brand before you know what language to speak.
3. Define your positioning statement
Now that you know your competitors and your audience, identify what elements and features that differentiate your brand from the others and how you can take advantage of this to build an unique brand identity that fills the gap in the market.
The key here is to recognize the distinctiveness of your brand, but of course it needs to be appealing for your audience as well. Ask yourself what will make the audience choose our brand over your competitors? Spend some time on this one. It will set the grounds for your next steps in building a brand identity that stands out.
4. Pay attention to market trends
Before you start shaping your brand’s identity, investigate market trends that will impact your choices. For example, authenticity is a fairly new concept pushed forward by Millenials, is this also something you have to deliver upon? Trust is another important factor. In other words, you can’t get away with b…shit. Your brand needs to be authentic, reliable, and transparent if you’re going to have any chance of getting noticed.
Your brand image is not enough by itself. The employees also play a crucial role in making your brand stand out. For example, your customer service representatives have a significant role as they interact with customers and potential new ones on a regular basis. For 73% of consumers the customer experience is an important factor in their purchasing decision.
5. Build your brand identity
For many marketers this is the fun part. This is the creative part where your brand comes to life. But let’s not forget that your brand will be your company’s most valuable asset, so as fun as it may be, this is also a crucial step in creating a stunning brand. As you are shaping the life of your brand, you’re also shaping how you want your customers to perceive you. Now thinking back on your audience, it’s a good idea to ensure that the way you want to be perceived lines up with what your audience cares about. If you don’t, you will be shooting blanks.
When shaping your brand’s identity, test different variations of your brand. Dare to be different and evaluate reactions and perceptions. Use focus groups for an external audit, but don’t forget your company and colleagues. Sales and customer service also know your target audience, and you can get valuable insight that could impact how you should shape the identity of your brand.
Also read: 7 steps on how to manage your brand
Elements you need to include in your brand identity are:
- Logo: This is your brand’s ID – your fingerprint and passport. Your logo represents your company, your offerings, your employees and more.
- Tagline: The short and memorable description that communicates your brand message. This is the element that alongside your brand name, needs to tell your audience in a few words, what you are offering.
- Colour palette: The power and symbolism of colours is complex. You don’t have to be a colour expert, as luckily you can find information online for this. Nevertheless, do some research to define a colour palette that fits with how you want your brand to be perceived. Never forget that colour symbolism can be very different, and can carry different weight in different countries. And so if your brand intends to have a very wide international profile, you should take this into consideration.
- Typography: Just like colours, fonts also have a significant purpose when shaping your brand’s identity. Make sure you choose the font that along with your colour palette shapes your intended brand identity.
- Brand assets: Illustrations, icons and imagery are visuals that really count when it comes to your brand’s identity. This is where your designers have to create that edge that differentiates your visual brand from the competitors.
- Tone of voice: How do you want to communicate with your target audience? This can’t be random. You need to carefully choose your voice based on your target audience and how you want to be perceived.
When the above is defined and neatly put together, you have your brand’s identity.
Make your brand stand out
The expression “one does not exclude the other” complies with brand building. It’s a process and it takes time. Most importantly, you can’t ever take your eye off the ball. Your audience will change, the market trends will change, and you need to make sure your brand changes with them.
To make your brand stand out, you need to pay attention and preferably stay in front of your competitors 24/7. Yeap, managing a brand is hard work, luckily there are tools available that can help ease your brand management burdens significantly.
Create a home for your brand
What good does any of it do, if all of the above ends up in a drawer, never to be looked at again? If no one knows how to communicate your brand or apply your brand correctly, the harder it will be to manage your brand building with ease.
Remember that branding is not a job for marketing alone, you need everyone in your company to move in the same direction if you’re going to have any success with your brand building.
At this point you should look into a brand management platform and how that can help you establish a brand that stands out.
- Collect everything about your brand in one single place
- Make your brand usable and self-serviced
- Keep your brand relevant and updated
Also read: Where does your brand live?