The Best Brand Development Tips Your Business Needs

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Over 30 million small businesses are operating in the U.S. right now. Yours is among them, and an effective marketing plan is key to staying in that group. More than half of all new businesses fail in the first five years. So, let’s explore the ways you can make sure your business is still in business in 2024!

Business success starts with a powerful brand development strategy. Read on for the inside scoop on how to build your brand.

A Brand

Before you can build it, you need to understand what it is. One common misconception is that a brand is simply a visual element, like a logo. Your brand is so much more than that.

Your brand sets you apart from every other company. It’s the why behind the what. Your brand defines who you are, what you believe in and why your customers trust you.

Think of your brand as your company’s personality. It defines the colors you use in your logo, the way you advertise your products and services, and the tone you use when you communicate with customers.

Brand Development

So now that you know what a brand is, let’s talk about ways to develop yours. Start by answering some key questions to refine the concept of your business. The idea behind this exercise is to help you become very clear about your business and what need you will fill.

What is your company’s mission?

This is not the same thing as what you sell. Here’s an example. Let’s say you sell air purifiers. Your product is an air purifier. Your mission might be “to ensure that children have clean air to breathe”. See the difference?

Here’s another one. Maybe you sell running shoes. That’s your product. Your mission might be “to provide quality equipment for people who have never exercised before”.

What are the benefits of your products or services?

This is the part where you drill down to determine what sets your product apart from everyone else. Let’s use the running shoe example from above.

What is different about your shoes? Are they less expensive? Are they made with recycled material? Do they glow in the dark?

Maybe your product is like every other running shoe on the market, but your service sets you apart. That’s how Amazon and Zappos got started. They sold the same products, but they created the companies to redefine the customer experience.

What do your customers already think of your company?

If you’ve been in business for a while, it’s a good idea to figure out where you stand in the market. You’ll want a baseline to help you determine your next steps.

What is the public’s perception of your company and its products? What do your customers think about your service? Where can you improve?

What do you want to be known for?

This is a huge part of brand development. You get to decide what you want people to know about you and your company. You can control the conversation (mostly) that customers have about you.

Write down some qualities important to you. For example, maybe you want to be known for the lowest prices of any company in your product market. Or, maybe you’re a luxury brand and want to be known for the ultra-high quality of your product.

Define Your Target Market

Hopefully, the exercises above will have helped you define your company’s mission and uniqueness. The next step is to understand your audience. You may have heard the term “buyer persona”.

The buyer persona is essentially your imaginary customer. To market your company effectively, you need to know who is likely to buy your product or service. You need to know everything about your customer.  These are just a few things to identify:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Income
  • Education Level

You can’t (and shouldn’t) market your products and services to everyone. You’ll wind up spending a ton of money on people who have no interest in what you’re selling. By defining your audience, you can advertise with a laser focus on people who are the most likely to purchase from you.

Create the Visuals

Earlier in this article, we said your brand is about much more than your logo. However, your logo is part of your brand and needs attention. In fact, you need to spend some time on all the visuals as part of your brand development.

You’ll want to create a brand style guide that will include everything you, your employees and your designers need to know about the “look” of your company. Your style guide will include:

  • Your logo. Make sure you establish the size of the logo for each place it’s used. This will help standardize its use. It should always be the same size when it’s on business cards, digital materials, apparel, etc.
  • Color palette. It isn’t enough to say your company’s colors are green and yellow. You need to identify exactly what shades of green and yellow they are.
  • Font. Pick one that reflects your brand. Is it playful or serious? Sporty or relaxed? Use the same font on everything. Your company name shouldn’t appear in one font on your website and in another one on your business cards.

Before you complete your visuals, do a little research into the competition. You don’t want to invest a lot of money only to discover your logo or color palette are uncomfortably similar to a competitor’s.

Create or Update Your Website

Google processes over 40,000 searches every second. That’s 3.5 billion searches every day. You want to make sure your company shows up in the results every time a potential customer goes looking for your product or service.

You need a website. If you already have one, make sure it reflects everything we’ve talked about so far. Your logo should appear in the same font, the same colors and the same size.

Ideally, include your mission statement on your website, too. You might put it right on the home page, so it’s the first thing a visitor sees. Your website is the most important tool you have. It’s where potential customers learn who you are, what you do and why you do it.

This is a great place to capitalize on the green movement if it’s appropriate to your business. 29 percent of customers say they buy brands that promote sustainable practices. Millennials are consciously making purchases around sustainable and environmentally packaged brands and products.

You might also consider artificial intelligence. Chatbots are a helpful way to provide visitors to your website with the information they need. It can speed up the buying process for customers who don’t want to spend a ton of time searching your site.

Develop a Content Marketing Strategy

Content marketing refers to all the ways you can tell stories about your company that allow your customers to get to know you in a much more personal way. It takes your brand development to a whole new level of engagement.

More than half of consumers in the U.S. say brands that actively communicate their purpose are more attractive to them. Your customers want to hear from you, and they want to know what you stand for.

You can do this through stories you post on your website and your social media channels. You can share pictures of your employees working at a company service project or using your products at home.

You can post the latest medical research that supports your service if that’s appropriate to your business. You can host live Q&A sessions with your customers who want to learn more about your products.

You can shoot how-to videos that teach your customers different ways to use your products. You might post a video message from you, as the company’s owner. You can talk directly to your customers. Share a bit about yourself and why you started your company.

The goal here is to establish an emotional connection with your customers in ways you just can’t through a TV commercial or an ad in the newspaper.

Monitor and Adjust Your Message

Once you’ve researched and developed your brand strategy, you need to monitor it consistently. You can do this through your social media channels, customer service surveys, employee surveys and reviews left on your website.

The idea here is to make sure your brand is resonating with your customers in all the ways you want it to. It will give you a chance to adjust your strategy before any significant problems appear.

For example, let’s say you identified superior customer service as a part of your mission statement. If your monitoring turns up any evidence of poor customer experiences, you can address them immediately.

Wrapping It Up

As you work on your brand development and strategy, be authentic in all you do. Consumers are sophisticated, and they can easily spot a phony sales pitch. 60 percent of them are influenced to buy a product or service by the words, actions, values, and beliefs of a company’s brand.

We’re here to help with any of your brand development and marketing needs. Please contact us at any time.