For any company, big or small, building a positive and desirable image is crucial to engaging customers. In marketing speak, this is called branding or brand positioning. It involves all aspects of a business, from consumer experience and support to internal culture.
It’s not just about shaping the sentiment surrounding a brand, but also about defining a long-term growth plan to achieve specific goals along the way. For example, one minor milestone might be to boost social exposure through continual improvements, and another might be to garner several positive reviews for a product or service.
Everything that represents a brand or provides some type of experience to an audience connects back to the concept of branding. Whether the leaders and decision-makers planned it or not, it’s all part of a larger strategy. It is certainly possible to control this narrative through various means, particularly by configuring how a brand is positioned in the market.
In other words, you can shape the branding for a business, provided the right steps are taken. Here are seven strategies that any company can use to impress its target audience.
1. Stay Consistent
Consistency is necessary when building a brand. That means choosing a mission or message and aligning all business efforts with that particular goal in mind. Everything from marketing and advertising to launching new products should service that core mission or series of ideals.
Of course, this sounds a lot more complicated than it is. It’s simply about generating a single, seamless voice for the entire brand. If your business has been around for decades, that’s something that can be portrayed across all interactions. Doing so would be a simple form of consistency, which is exactly what every company needs.
2. Understand Your Customer Base
Instead of focusing on captivating and interacting with everyone, it makes more sense to hone in on the audience and customer base that is most loyal to your products or brand. You must understand who it is you’re trying to reach and what that particular demographic values most. Likes and dislikes are almost always going to differ depending on the age group you’re targeting, for example.
Invest time and resources in understanding and highlighting your most loyal customers. Also, collect feedback whenever possible and use that information to build future campaigns, strategies and even products.
3. Label Your Brand
Every company should have a logo, mission statement, name and general theme or color scheme. These things don’t exist just to help audiences differentiate between other businesses — they also help people recognize a brand and its products.
Take Amazon, for example. The minute you see an Amazon-branded shipping box, you recognize the name, service and much more. Those labels resonate with people and play a huge role in how they share personal experiences with others, see a brand or even form new impressions of their own. People have an emotional reaction to labels associated with a brand, including logos, products, colors and more.
Once the proper labels and logos have been chosen, use them anywhere and everywhere. Include them in marketing and advertising campaigns, display them on packaging and shipping materials, include them on stationery and much more.
4. Become a Problem-Solver
Nearly all products and services exist to solve a problem. That means most brands and their offerings fill a particular void in their customers’ lives. Maybe that includes offering a more convenient or efficient way to do something, or perhaps it’s simply providing a service that enriches their daily experiences.
Whatever the case, you’re already in the business of problem-solving — so use that to build a stronger brand. What is it that your products or services provide to your customers? How do you help them?
The best way to promote your unique and effective problem-solving skills, which will build trust and credibility with your audience, is to share your skills across the communication channels. Blogging, social media, easy accessibility via a chatbot, and many other methods you can read about here that will help to showcase your value.
Beyond that, what are some ways in which your brand can continue to expand upon that problem-solving nature? Are there other just as useful ways to leverage your products or services? Is there anything you can teach your customers? What kinds of advice can you impart?
A common strategy many businesses use is to launch a YouTube or video content channel and begin sharing educational or training videos. This plays into the idea of being a problem-solver and is extremely effective.
5. Pay Attention to the Competition
You must never directly imitate another brand or what they’re trying to do, but it’s incredibly important to know what else is happening in the market. How are competing businesses building and strengthening their brands? What kinds of things are they doing to serve their customers? Can you take inspiration from their successes or learn a lesson from their failures?
Most importantly, knowing what competing brands are doing also means you can better differentiate yourself. You know how and why your products or services are different and what makes them stand out. You also understand ways to interact with prospective customers that are wholly unique and don’t just seem like a rehashed experience from a competing business.
An effective strategy for rising above the competition is to highlight your brand’s strengths and its unique offerings, and to capitalize on an SEO campaign that will rise your brand to the top. There are many effective strategies that will help to increase your presence in front of your target audience, beating out the competition.
6. Find Your Brand’s Voice
Find a voice or tone that relates to the brand mission. Are you trying to seem completely professional, for instance, or would you like your customers to see you as fun and whimsical? Some other examples include being friendly, authoritative, experienced, conversational, informative or technical.
Essentially, it’s the sole trait you would like your brand to be associated with. Once you’ve found your voice, leverage it everywhere you can. Use it during public discussions or events, in internal meetings, when interacting with potential clients or while providing customer support. You should also be using it in your advertising and content marketing campaigns.
Build a cohesive and recognizable voice for your brand that services what you’re trying to achieve.
7. Promote Brand Advocates
Once the brand is developed and established, it’s time to sell it. This is not a solo effort meant only for your marketing team. It must include anyone and everyone involved with your brand, including business leaders and executives.
Encourage employees to strengthen the brand and be sure to participate alongside them. Choose employees or personnel that fit with the company’s goals. Engage with partners and vendors that help strengthen your brand. Highlight loyal customers and influencers that are open to sharing your brand’s success.
You could have the best brand in the world, but it’s not going to make a difference if you don’t have supporters, so garner and reward them.
Consistency Is Key
Launching off with a solid marketing plan as your foundation will help to jump start your branding efforts while giving clear direction, purpose and goals. There’s a reason why the first strategy is to remain consistent, because that’s exactly what helps to build and maintain a brand’s reputation. Start from the top if this list and work your way out to the other strategies, and not necessarily in the order presented here.
Remember, everything that represents a brand or provides some type of experience to an audience relates to branding. Whether it’s planned out or not, it’s all part of a larger strategy. Take the initiative and begin establishing that reputation and vision so it portrays exactly what you want.