Branding 101: 7 Tips on Building a Powerful Brand
As the title suggests: it’s time for branding!
As with any publication worth its salt will tell you, getting to the core of the issue is paramount to a healthy understanding of your field.
So without further ado, let’s get into the essence of branding. More importantly, how can one build a powerful brand and the brand awareness that comes with it?
The simple matter of the fact is, branding is much more than just a cool logo or a well-placed advertisement.
Succinctly put, your brand is defined by a customer’s overall perception of your business. As Amazon founder Jeff Bezos puts it: “Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.”.
Your brand is your reputation.
So how do you build a powerful brand?
Here are seven tips to get you started!
- Discover the purpose behind your brand.
Every successful brand has a powerful purpose behind it. It’s what you wake up every day loving to do for other people (and the world) through your product or service.
There are four questions you should ask yourself when defining a brand purpose:
- Why do you exist?
- What differentiates you?
- What problem do you solve?
- Why should people care?
You’ll use these ideas to inform the foundation of your branding, through a tagline, slogans, voice, messaging, stories, visuals and more.
- You can never please everyone. Don’t even try it.
Can you imagine trying to meet the needs of each of the 7 billion people in the universe today? Is that possible even if you had all the necessary resources at your disposal?
Start small by targeting an audience that’s passionate about what you offer or produce. Strive to make a name within a small crowd instead of trying to be loved by everyone in the market. Sometimes it pays more to be a big fish in a pond than being a small fish in an ocean.
For the best results, take your time to identify your ideal market segment – this includes understanding its unique needs and preferences, buying power, location, gender, social status, etc. With this information, create super-targeted products and implement marketing strategies that are sure to appeal to this group of people.
- Identify what makes you different.
Brand awareness is awareness of something. What’s your something?
The first step of building a brand identity is identifying a trait (or traits) that sets you apart from your competition — your USP. So study your competition. How do they define their brands? And just as importantly, how don’t they define their brands? Look for characteristics that you can call your own.
- Research competitor brands within your industry.
You should never imitate exactly what the big brands are doing in your industry. But, you should be aware of what they do well (or where they fail). The goal is to differentiate from the competition. Convince a customer to purchase from you over them.
We’re always thinking about how to make a brand stand out from what’s out there already. Don’t skip this step in the brand building process. Research your main competitors or benchmark brands. For instance, study how well they have gone about building a brand name. For a brand name to be effective, it needs to be easy for consumers to recognise and remember.
Competitor research is a key element of your own brand development. Start by creating a brand competitor spreadsheet for comparison. You can use Google Sheets, Excel, or even just a notebook.
- Consistency is the key in branding.
As we mentioned earlier, branding entails the deliberate actions you take to remain memorable in the minds of your audience. It is what users see, read, or hear about your business and instantly think or visualise it. For this reason, it’s crucial that your branding is consistent to avoid causing any kind of confusion among your customers.
By consistent, we mean using the same tone in your content, promoting the same message throughout, and sticking to the same values and quality. What’s more, strive to deliver consistently on all your promises to customers to foster that all-important belief in your business.
- Showcase positivity in your brand strategy.
Brand awareness means different things to different brands. For some, it hinges on being environmentally friendly. For others, brand awareness is daytime cocktails and majestic scenes by the water. One thing you won’t see with successful brand strategies? Negativity.
This doesn’t mean that your brand strategy needs to contain poems, inspirational quotes, and a bunch of heart-eye emojis. What it does mean, though, is that your brand strategy shouldn’t bring people down. People want to feel good.
Study the branding of your favourite brands, and you’ll see that the messaging is positive, or at the very least, it’s not negative.
- Outline the key qualities & benefits your brand offers.
There will always be brands with bigger budgets and more resources to command their industry. Your products, services, and benefits belong solely to you. Starting a brand that is memorable means you dig deep to figure out what you offer, and no one else is offering.
Focus on the qualities and benefits that make your company branding unique. Assuming you know exactly who your target audience is, give them a reason to choose your brand over another. It’s important to note that this is not just a laundry list of the features your product or services offer to the customer or client. Think about how you provide value that improves consumers’ lives (outcomes or results that are experienced).