When you think of a ‘brand’ and what it means to you, you might immediately think about logos, font, and brand colours — and all that stuff is important. But it’s not all a brand is; they’re just branding elements.
A brand is a distinctive skin you’re giving your business that extends past aesthetics. It’s what customers will identify you with — whether it’s your tone of voice, your style, your colours, your messaging — you’re building an identity that customers will come to know and love. And a brand people can relate to increases custom, according to a Nielson survey [PDF], 59% of consumers prefer to buy new products from brands familiar to them.
But branding isn’t just a one-off task, branding is a process that’s cyclical. It’s something that adapts and evolves with your business and its customers.
So, what should you consider when you’re developing a brand?
1. Identify who you’re trying to reach
Sounds basic. And it is, but it’s so obvious that it’s overlooked, or some brands think that the persona research they’ve already got on file will cut the mustard. And it might not.
The truth is, customer behaviour changes all the time — how they browse for your products and how they interact online changes. That’s why keeping your personas updated is key to a successful brand development project; what customers want today might not be the same as four or five months ago.
And building that connection with your audience is crucial. According to Sprout Social, 64% of consumers want brands to connect with them — but you can only do that if you know who your customers are, right?
2. Define where your brand sits in the marketplace
If you don’t know how you stack up to competitors, you’re not going to have the opportunity to create a different brand. There are plenty of tools out there to help you understand the market you’re competing in. You might already have a fair idea of what the competition looks like, but analysing the competition can help you reframe your own understanding of your product and where it sits in the marketplace.
Tools like SEMrush can help you determine the niche market players, the market leaders, and the biggest competitors you’ve got. You need to know what’s currently out there and how your service or product stacks up to theirs. Is there a gap in the market? If there is, SEMrush or tools like it will help you find it (or Kaleidoscope, ideally. But hey, some people are on tight budgets!).
3. Think about your messaging strategy
Your brand messaging is what ties all your branding elements neatly together. It’s what will resonate with your customers — it’s what you want them to remember about your brand. Without clear brand messaging, you’re not effectively communicating why people should care about you and showcasing the value you offer them.
So, where do you start when creating your brand messaging? It’s helpful to lay out some guidelines so the messaging is structured and well-rounded. Your brand messaging framework would usually include:
- your USP
- your values (think about your customers’ values, too, so they’re aligned)
- a mission statement
- a defined tone of voice
- your audience personas
Need a bit of guidance? Call us to see how we can help: 0151 707 2220.
Before you go, here’s a branding mistake we see again and again
Bringing too much personal emotion into the branding process is a mistake. You need to be objective, not subjective, when it comes to branding. We need to connect with your intended audience, and we can’t do that if your personal likes and dislikes creep on in there.
Stay focused. Your audience should take priority; they’re the ones you want to familiarise your new brand with. Let’s build that intimate emotional connection.