Every successful business has one thing in common: a consistent brand strategy. From Nike to Apple to Dollar Shave Club, and everything in between, branding is critical. Companies don’t typically make it to multi-million-dollar valuation without a solid sense of who they are.
Consistent branding identifies your company, your products, and your content to your customers and gives you an identity in the vast ecosystem of the web. Therefore, it is critical to make it consistent, high quality, and unique. Unfortunately, many companies struggle to do this, and their ventures fail as a result.
Today, we’re going to talk about business branding: what it is, why it matters, and how to get better at it.
Business Branding and the Customer Relationship
If you were going into a big meeting and you wanted to make a great first impression, what would you do? If you’re like most people, you’d get cleaned up, maybe buy some new clothes and practice a speech. You would ensure that your appearance and presentation were on-point. So why should your company function any differently?
Unless you’re working with solidly established, loyal customers, every interaction your company has on the web is a first impression. This may be through your homepage, or in a brick-and-mortar store. And if your branding isn’t consistent, high quality, and upscale, you’re going to fall short of the mark.
Branding matters because it influences how your customers perceive your company. And your business is ultimately defined by your clients’ perceptions of it. If customers see you as sloppy, cheap, or inexperienced, you’re going to lose business, even if your actual product is exactly the opposite. On the other hand, you’ll gain business and grow your online presence when customers see your branding and label you as capable, professional, and high-quality.
To make a long story short, getting your branding right is essential. You can’t afford to mess it up.
8 Ways to Improve Your Business Branding (Starting Today)
Whether you’re a new company just getting started, or an established brand looking to take your business to the next level, these eight steps will help you improve your branding strategy starting right now:
1. Develop a Target Audience
A well-defined target audience is central to your company’s success. Without a target audience, it’s impossible to create personalized content, appealing products, or offer services people want to buy. It’s also impossible to brand your company correctly.
With this in mind, now is a very good time to develop or improve your target audience. An essential marketing tool, target audiences (or target personas) are semi-fictionalized representations of your ideal customer. When you build a target persona, you provide yourself with details about them, such as what they do for a living, how much money they make, and what their biggest pain points are.
This helps build a solid foundation from which to develop your brand.
2. Develop a Mission Statement for Business Branding
To build a successful brand, you need to identify what sets your company apart from the rest. What is it that makes your offerings or service unique, and why should customers care? To guide your branding down the road, take some time now to develop a mission statement.
This mission statement should answer the following questions: What is your company’s primary mission? What are you most passionate about? Why does this matter? How will it help your customers?
3. Look at Your Competition
Looking at your direct competition or other companies in your industry is a fantastic way to get some branding ideas. What color schemes are other companies like yours using? What are their taglines? How do they incorporate their mission statement throughout their branding? These details can go a long way toward helping you brand your company accordingly, and set yourself apart from the crowd.
4. Lay Out Your Company’s Key Benefits
Unless you’re doing something astoundingly unique, it’s highly likely that you’re not the only company providing the services you do. With this in mind, you’ll need to outline your business’s main advantages. What makes you different than similar companies offering the same services? Why should your readers pick you?
Remember that this isn’t a sales pitch so much as it is a guiding exercise. Answering these questions now will allow you to keep your branding consistent down the road.
5. Develop Your Logo and Tagline
Using the information you’ve gathered in the last four steps, it’s time to create your brand’s tagline and logo. These are the first impressions most people will get of your company, so it’s essential to ensure they are quality and timeless. If you’re not a designer, hire your logo out to a marketing agency that knows what it’s doing. Not only will you get a better finished product, but you’ll also save yourself time and hassle in the process.
6. Develop Your Voice
Once you’ve got the visual face of your business set up, it’s time to think about how you’ll brand your content and digital materials using brand voice. Depending on your industry and specialty, your brand voice might be innovative (think Apple), playful (think Dollar Shave Club), service-oriented (think of a local furnace repair company), or informative (think HubSpot).
7. Hone Your Elevator Pitch
If someone asks what your company does, you should be able to answer them in 1-2 sentences (the time it would take to ride a few floors with someone in an elevator). If you can’t, your aim is still too broad. Be sure to use your chosen brand voice when developing your elevator pitch.
8. Be Yourself
Customers appreciate brands who aren’t afraid to be themselves. While you should always keep things professional, don’t be afraid to get silly or sarcastic if it makes sense with your brand persona.
Business Branding Made Simple
While business branding can feel like an intimidating process, these eight actionable tips will give you the blueprint you need to develop a cohesive, intelligent business branding strategy.
If you need an expert to guide you through business branding, call Thrive Internet Marketing. Your trusted source for all things digital commerce and marketing, we’re here to help your company shine!