You often hear many terms accompanying the definition of a “brand” such as brand awareness, brand identity, brand development, brand management, brand monitoring, etc. Many also associate logos and marketing materials with a company’s brand when branding actually encompasses so much more. It is the emotional and psychological associations that a person makes with your business, product or service. How a customer feels about your brand is not just a casual question or consideration, it is the crucial question and consideration. Branding begins with the answers to these questions:
1. Who are you?
2. Who is your audience?
3. What problem do you solve?
4. What makes you different?
Determining your brand is a process of defining and refining every step of the way. Four key areas that you must determine to establish your brand include your target audience, your content, the marketing channels you will use and how you will measure your outcome.
Knowing your buyer personas is such a crucial step in the brand development process that if you skip it you are running the risk of complete failure. To develop the profile of your buyer persona you need to consider:
2. Their value in money, reach and return business to you
3. Their preferred method of contact whether it is phone, email, website, social or something else
4. Their problems that you can solve
Today, content marketing is how you build your brand online and through physical marketing channels. Content consists of:
1. Web and mobile content
2. Video and audio
3. White papers and eBooks
4. Webinars and podcasts
5. Infographics and presentations
6. Print materials
7. And more!
The list can go on and on. Keeping your target audience in mind, map out a content strategy relating to their specific needs. This strategy helps to establish a level of confidence your brand needs to achieve your specific goals. Always remember that you are not creating content for content’s sake. Content builds awareness, builds trust, creates fans and brand advocates, and it is the fuel that drives your marketing efforts.
Now that you’ve made a great content strategy you need to figure out how your target audience is going to consume it. It needs to be distributed, promoted and shared which is done through your marketing channels. Marketing channels used to consist of radio and TV. Today, we have more channels than we know what to do with!
Again, you must consider where your target audience spends their time. Is it on social? Mobile? Websites? Print? In person? No matter what channels you decide to use, remember that you are there to solve a problem, not just simply promote your company. If you are not solving problems, you are just creating noise and a noisy, disruptive brand is no longer effective in today’s world.
How do you know if your branding efforts are working? What does success look like? Is it through more leads? More fans and followers or subscribers? Success is all of these things and more. You need to map out your desired outcome or else you will have no way of knowing if your strategies are working.
Tangibles such as increased site traffic and leads may be easy to measure, but what about the intangibles like authority and trust? To measure these, you must listen. As you build your presence throughout marketing channels things will start to happen to confirm your authority and trust. You will become the go-to expert in your industry.
Building a brand is about establishing an identity that helps facilitate your growth and sustainability as a business. Whether you’re just starting a business and forming the brand or you’re looking to rebrand your current business, the Design Thinking Agency team can help you to develop a brand that is the perfect fit for you and your company.