A strong brand is invaluable as the battle for customers intensifies day by day. It's important to spend time researching, defining, and building your brand. After all, your brand is the source of a promise to your consumer. It's the centrepiece of your marketing communications and identity you do not want to be without. A strong brand paints a picture of your core values, your personality, points of difference and clearly communicates to the consumer why they should choose you over competitors. Here are 5 branding assets you absolutely should not launch without.
1. Establish your brand essence: made up of your unique attributes, values, benefits and inherent personality. Your brand essence is your slogan, your tagline, what you bring to the table in a few words…
- Does my brand relate to my target audience? Will they instantly "get it" without too much thought?
- Does my brand share the uniqueness of what I am offering and why it's important?
- Does it reflect the brand promise made to my target audience and hold value for my internal audience?
- Does my brand reflect the values that I want to represent to my customers?
Let these questions serve as a guideline in the development of your brand. If you're not sure about the answers you may want to revamp your branding effort. A brand should be an instant "ah-ha" moment—it should require very little thought.
2. A Strong Logo: Logos need to be instantly recognizable, memorable, and cue the product/service you are offering. Colour is increasingly important in logo design. In fact, colour has been found to increase brand awareness by as much as 80%. Because of the nature of the human brain, we recognize colour long before we can decipher words, and we often associate certain colours with particular brands. Opt for highly recognizable shapes, unique and customized typefaces, and an ownable colour palette, as they all help to increase brand recall.
3. An elevator pitch: Once you have a clearly established brand identity, it’s a good idea to prepare yourself for all the informal
occasions when you’ll have a chance to talk up your business.
- Who you are: Consider what you would most want the listener to remember about you. Keep it short and to the point.
- What you do: Provide a concise description of your product or service.
- Why you are unique: Detail a marketplace problem that impacts your audience and explain why your business is uniquely suited to address it. It may help to think of this as a tagline that allows the listener to understand how utilising you or your company would benefit them.
- Your immediate goal: Include what you are specifically asking your audience to do and include a timeframe for doing this.
4. Promotional tools:
- Branded marketing materials: A well-rounded promotional strategy will prove more fruitful in the long term, as you are engaging consumers through various mediums, and through a multidimensional approach. Before you get caught up in promotional buzzwords, identify who your consumers are and where they are.
- Social Media: Social media is becoming a sort of “gold rush” with businesses attempting to lay claim to as much mind share as possible.
- Newsletters: Effective newsletters are informational, not sales-driven. Newsletters give online businesses an opportunity to demonstrate authority and expertise on the subject of their products. Rule of thumb 90/10: 90% information, 10% sales material.
- Professional, optimised website: A professional-looking website is a must-have for any business. Anybody can create a website — the Internet is full of sites where you can do it for free. It is somewhat harder though, to create a website optimized for good user experience. Your website should be a showcase for your brand personality, with rich and valuable content that will make consumers want to stay on your site and share it with their friends. It’s a mistake to create a website just for the sake of having one. It can be a truly invaluable tool for telling your brand story, proving your credibility and engaging with consumers in real time. It is also the best place to gauge perceptions of your brands and products. Good sites balance design and functionality. Also, having a website with search-engine-optimized (SEO) content – key phrases that match what your customers are typing into search engines – is critical to ensuring your business’s online visibility.
5: Build Relationships: The best customers are loyal customers—those who see intrinsic value in your brand, and who choose to stick around to continue enjoying its benefits. Make sure to cover all of the tips and relationship building strategies below when creating your brand:
- Trust: People trust you when they know what to expect…and when the things they’re expecting are good. You can build trust in a number of ways; however, one of the best things I can prescribe is consistency.
- Authenticity: This starts from the very beginning, when you list your corporate values, name your business, design your logo and more. You’ve got to be you.
- Emotions: Your customer wants to have an experience with your brand. There are emotions they’re yearning to feel, and they will reward the business that figures out how to create those emotions.
- Patience: No relationship ‘starts’ at the time of initial contact. It takes time for a person to gather all the information they need to know about your brand before they decide to trust it. Understand this, and know that customer loyalty is worth the effort…and the wait.
- Little Things: You know, from your own personal relationships, that it’s not only the big moments that forge connections. Often, it’s the kind words and the simple gestures that cause us to become more and more attached to someone.