Your brand is your company’s most valuable asset. Building a successful brand is one of the most significant facets of your overall business strategy. It plays a crucial role in setting your company apart from its competition, creating loyal customers, and generating sales. However, building a successful brand is a continuous, consistent process, made even more challenging by tough, in-market competition. We need to generate constant impacts in the minds of target customers. So how can you get started?
Akin to reputation building, brand building is a linear, additive, and incremental process, without simple shortcuts or easy wins. Successful brands create far richer relationships with their customers. They generate more revenue, and often enjoy a substantial advantage when it comes to premium pricing.
Brand building can be seen as intimidating. It’s no wonder local companies partner with a branding agency instead of building it on their own. But the good news is that despite the challenges involved, the process of brand building is linear. You can follow through with a step-by-step guide. Whether you’re establishing a new brand or revitalizing an existing entity, you can adopt this three-step process:
1. Identify Your Target Audience
The first step in any successful brand building process is to identify and define your target audience. This process helps to identify problems faced by your target audience, alongside their needs, requirements, and tastes.
Who are your ideal customers? Hint: the answer is not ‘everybody’. In fact, research by Hinge Marketing has shown that high growth, high-profit firms typically target clearly defined audiences, while spending less overall on marketing and sales. The narrower their focus, the more concentrated their marketing efforts were, and as a result, the faster their growth. By comparison, the wider your target audience, the more diluted and the more expensive your marketing campaigns will be.
To identify your target audience, you’ll need to conduct qualitative and quantitative research on your current and potential customers’ perspective and priorities. Ideally, you want to uncover how they view your business’ strengths and weaknesses. How well it anticipates their needs? And how well your messaging resonates with them? This will later assist you in defining the key differentiation factors that set your brand apart from its competitors.
2. Define Your Value Proposition
The next step in the brand-building process is to define your brand’s value proposition. Shaping everything from the visual elements to the tonality of your brand, and communicating how your brand adds value to your customer’s lives. These are key building blocks in your overall brand strategy.
What is your firm’s value proposition? What makes you different from others, and why should potential customers choose to buy from you? These are important questions to answer, in order to effectively distill what your brand does better than others in a single sentence. Maybe you offer the best customer service around? Or your product design is completely unique? Even offering competitive pricing with good material quality can also be a value proposition. Whatever it is – you need to spend some time perfecting your promise to them.
While the essence of your brand positioning needs to be grounded in reality (so that you deliver what you promise), it must have an aspirational element, which offers something to strive for. Think of your brand’s value proposition as the one thing you’re competing on. What is the value you deliver to your customers post-purchase? You’ll need to find this, and make it a clear part of your brand’s messaging. Alternatively, if your company has a cause at its core, you can develop a mission statement that makes a clear promise to your customers and the wider world.
3. Build Your Style Guide
Once you have differentiated your brand from the competition on paper, you will need to put together your brand’s style and identity guide. At this stage, you’ll need to consult with a skilled graphic designer to develop your brand’s visual identity. This includes the logo, the look and feel, and the style guide (how to use and how not to use the brand’s imagery).
This stage is all about creating a sensory position, alongside a communication blueprint that defines the optimal messaging formats and materials. This is what will help you and your employees to build out your website, create your marketing collateral, post on social media, and so forth. Ideally, you’ll want to choose colours that differentiate you from direct competitors. Choose a logo design that stands out, with a legible and easy to read font.
Just remember – your brand imagery needs to be based on what will be effective in persuading your target audience to invest in your brand. It is not what you or your designer simply prefer on a creative basis. Failure to take your target audience into account at this point, especially after all of the research that you did in step one, will result in an average if not, forgettable brand.
Expect Your Brand to Evolve
Building a successful brand doesn’t stop once you have your logo and your style guide. Your brand needs to be deployed along every customer touch-point. From your website, your marketing collateral, to your packaging materials. Over time, you’ll find that you need to continually shape and evolve your brand as you learn more about your target audience.
You’ll need to bear in mind that you’ll never have complete control over your brand, in terms of how people perceive it. You can try to push customers in the right direction to make a positive, on-brand first impression. But you can’t control individual impressions. If you’re concerned about how best to position your brand towards your core audience, and how to shape their perception at every step of the buyer’s journey, a branding agency can help.
While it’s possible to find the knowledge, tools, and resources to build a brand online. To truly reach your customers, you should consider investing in the services of a local brand agency in Singapore. Branding can make or break a business. And in truth, to stand out from the competition and build a brand that drives growth and profitability, you need it done properly by seasoned experts.
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