When most people think of the word “brand”, a company’s logo and slogan often come to mind. It’s almost impossible not to think of Geico’s blue letters and their gecko when talking about car insurance or the backwards letters and cows asking you to “eat mor chikin” when someone brings up Chick-Fil-A.
While your logo and slogan (if you have one) are certainly important for your brand, there are many other things to consider when researching and designing your brand for your business.
Your brand is going to be much more than just first impressions people receive, it’s going to be your identity and what helps push you forwards.
Find Your Core Ideas
In business, it pays to be as specific as possible. You’ve probably already gone through this while looking at your budget and business plan, having to lay out every decimal point and number.
Just as you had to run through your budget, you need to think about what your company is truly about. What are your core values? What messages are you trying to send to others? How would you like to be perceived amongst consumers?
Are you a serious brand, that wants to make sure everything gets done efficiently? Are you a laid-back brand, more fun and friendly? Setting up a brand identity is also going to help you find the best employees for your business, ones that can come in and match up with the existing brand.
Once you develop what you believe you should be, it’s going to be much easier to target and connect with your audience.
Speaking of your audience...
Research Your Target Audience
While this and the first step could very well go hand-in-hand, they are worth mentioning separately because of how important they both are.
More than anything else, you want your brand to connect with your target audience. The last thing you want is for people to be giving each other looks and saying, “Oh, you shop there?”
How do you go about researching your target audience? It’s something that can’t be done in a day, or even a week really. When finding your target audience, you need to think about (at least) the following items:
Once you have a general profile, you can adjust your attitude and values slightly to what they need. This is going to help you in your marketing and content strategies, as customers are more likely to respond to content that has been tailor-made for them.
Examine the Competition
When you first entered the market, you wanted to find a place that was competitive but not saturated. No competition likely means there was never a market in the first place, and chances are pretty slim that you’re going to magically stumble onto the next big thing.
Write down all the words and phrases that pertain to your business. Don’t worry about not being right, just put down as many as you can. Then go ahead and begin checking out your competition to see what they are saying and how they’re connecting with their consumers.
Look for gaps and see how your content and branding could differ from what they’re saying. You don’t want people to see your message and begin thinking about another brand entirely.
Iron Out Your Online Strategy
Those words and phrases you’ve written down and edited are going to help you stand out in the online world. Yes, your offline branding should be important, like your signage and offline marketing techniques, but your digital presence can help separate you from the rest.
To start, you’re going to need a great domain name for your business. Make sure you’re researching domain names, finding one that isn’t already in use or one that wasn’t blacklisted by Google previously.
Take those keywords you found pertain to your website and put them throughout your website copy. One of the best tools to use is Google Keyword Planner, which will help you find out how many searches you name receives and how popular some terms already area.
When you’re managing your online and offline presence, you want to maintain a consistent brand. Consistency is key in just about everything, but it’s vitally important for your brand.
Think about someone you know, maybe a coworker or a friend. The most frustrating thing about them can be that you don’t know what they’re going to do next. One moment they’re fine and everything is great, but all of a sudden they can sulk away or pout about something.
While your brand may never give off a “pouting” vibe, it will be hard for you to gain any traction as a business if your messages are all over the place.
You want your content to stay consistent and connected to your core values. Otherwise, your audience is going to get confused and after awhile, simply forget about you.