Branding Your Business
What is branding, anyway? We hear this word thrown around, but its definition can be elusive at times. Traditionally, you might think of logos, slogan, signage, color schemes, and tone. You’d be correct, but none of these are where branding begins.
The most important approach to effective branding starts with asking four main questions:
- Who are you as a brand?
- Who is your target market?
- How are you delivering your brand to your target market?
- How are you measuring your brand’s progress?
What problems do you solve?
Who Are You?
You don’t need to get philosophical or existential to discover your brand’s identity. Simply begin with a list:
- Why am I in business?
- What products/services do I offer?
- What region am I in, and does its culture help define my brand?
- What problems do I solve?
- What makes my brand different than my competitors?
- What are my beliefs about customer interactions?
That will be enough to give you a start at defining your brand. Notice that I didn’t ask what colors you like, whether you like sharp corners or rounded edges, or whether your logo should incorporate an image within the text or beside it. Those things will come later, once we’ve established who you and your customers are.
Who is Your Target Market?
There isn’t usually a single answer to this question. Not one of my clients caters only to 43-year-old men living in Tallahassee who regularly spend at least $200 per month at Italian restaurants. When we ask who your target market is, we’re asking what kinds of customers you’re targeting.
In order to figure out your target market, we’ll create Buyer Personas with you. These profiles include:
- Shopping behavior
- What value money has to them (especially in terms of how much your product/service costs)
- Their preferred means of communication (phone, email, texting, Facebook Messenger, etc.)
- Problems they need solved
We always put together at least a few buyer personas to gain insight on the best ways to engage with your customers.
Buyer Personas help determine methods of engagement
Successful brands deliver their brand to customers.
How Will You Deliver Your Brand?
Successful brands figure out the best ways to bring their brand to their customers. The two main avenues to deliver your brand are through content and marketing, and the channels you use for both are going to differ based on your customers’ typical behavior.
When building a brand, you want content to establish your business as a credible authority. We call this Brand Confidence, and it includes brand awareness, credibility, and attraction.
The content you use to build Brand Confidence will take the forms that engage your customers most. Here are a few we use to make your branding efforts effective:
- Web Content (Blogs, Social Media Posts, etc.)
- Video and Audio
- Webinars and Podcasts
- Infographics and Presentations
- Print Materials
Using the buyer personas we create, we’ll map out strategies with you to engage your customers with the right kinds of content, all with the goal of creating measurable and scalable growth for your business.
All the content in the world won’t help grow your business unless you distribute and promote it. Unfortunately, “if you build it, they will come” doesn’t work in business. Without marketing channels, you’re a concert with no audience, a painting covered in cloth.
Fortunately, there’s no shortage of channels to broadcast your brand. Here are some of the most popular channels we use with our clients:
- Blog Posts
- Social Media (posts, videos, lives, ads, etc.)
- Email campaigns
- Google (Business Listings and Ads)
- Review Websites (Yelp, Angie’s List, HomeAdvisor, etc.)
- Radio Ads
- Networking (conferences, conventions, groups, local events)
- Promotional Products and Signage
Your marketing efforts will communicate who you are as a brand, and you want it to communicate that you’re serious about serving your customers and will go to them (even if it’s virtually) to meet their needs.
There’s no shortage of channels to broadcast your brand.
Create established, written goals to track your brand’s progress.
How Will You Measure Progress?
Branding and rebranding will grow your business and help create a foundation you can build upon. It isn’t easy, and results don’t happen overnight, so we know it’s imperative to set up a system to track progress for you, to test what methods are working and create projections of future growth.
Fortunately, most of the marketing channels we use have built-in analytics features to help you see whether your branding efforts are paying off.
You’re looking for:
- Leads or Purchases
- Increased traffic and behavior on your website (i.e., a low bounce rate)
- Requests for partnerships or guest posts on other websites
You also want established, written goals. You want to reach 40% more sales by the end of the year, 1000 more followers on Facebook by the end of the quarter, 100 booked appointments by the end of the month.
These are tangibles that you can track, and asking customers how they heard about you helps determine which of your marketing efforts are making the most progress.
All this might seem overwhelming, but don’t worry! That’s why we’re here. Branding is a worthy and necessary task, and our job is to maintain that ongoing effort to ensure your brand grows and you get to the point where you don’t know why you didn’t start building your brand sooner.