It’s a common problem for most entrepreneurs.
They work hard to set up their business: develop amazing products or services, find the right suppliers, and open a channel of communication with their target audience. But, then they notice that their brand (if they can even call it that) is all over the place.
Before you go into Defcon mode, learn that there is a solution to this issue. And, no, it has nothing to do with tweaking your logo’s design or color.
The secret ingredients that make a successful branding strategy.
1. Tell Your Story
Quick question: how did Apple come to life? You probably know the story of how Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs worked on the first Apple computer prototype in a garage. Although Woz later admitted that the story is a myth, it’s closely connected to the way people perceive Apple: as an innovative company targeted at young, techy customers. This story is a crucial element of Apple’s brand.
You see, as human beings, we are naturally inclined to feel more attached and relate more to businesses that provide us with a narrative about their existence and mission. Build your brand story and tell it over and over again through as many mediums as you can.
2. Decide on Your Attitude
We live in a world that’s dominated by social entrepreneurship. Millennials, the new economic powerhouse, are conscious about the needs of those around them and are actively involved in helping them. Obviously, they expect the brands they shop from to do the same.
In other words, the impact your business has in the world and how it helps the community it exists in should become valuable components of your branding and marketing strategies.
You don’t need to define yourself as a brand that will end world hunger, but taking a stand for something you feel is an important issue will catch the attention of your audience.
3. Know Who Your Customer Is
The customer is King – you’ve heard it over and over again. As cliché as it might sound, not knowing your target audience is like navigating without a compass. Every decision you make, from the brand message you craft to your brand positioning, will be a hit and miss if you don’t understand your customers’ needs, motivations, and desires.
4. Research Your Competition
What were the first things you did before launching your business? If you are a conscious entrepreneur, you’ve probably researched the market to ensure there’s a real demand for your product and to understand the competition.
Well, a successful branding strategy can’t exist without proper research.
Create a list of the biggest competitors in your industry and study everything you can about their branding strategies. Check out their logos and read customers testimonials about them, analyze how they treat their customers and how they interact with them. Compare and contrast their branding strategies, such as guest blogging or social media campaigns and try to understand the motivation behind them and what factors affected their success. Try to determine which of these strategies worked and why. If you understand the mechanism behind them, you can then apply it to your startup.
5. Be Authentic
Some say that the most important thing you can do for your brand is to be authentic. In fact, studies have shown that 63% of customers prefer buying from an authentic brand over one that they perceive as deceptive.
But, what can you do to “be authentic?”
Begin by asking yourself who would your brand be if it were a person? Collect as much information as possible about your business and work your way from there. It’s important that your customers notice your values and beliefs, and that they match. That means every little thing you do, whether it’s an ad campaign, managing social media accounts or interacting with the public, needs to stay on message.
Starting from scratch is no easy job, but as long as you keep in mind these essential elements, you should be well on your way to success.