Have you ever wondered why you feel the way you do about large brands like Nike, Coca-Cola or Nestle? These are all iconic brands because they are easily recognisable and evoke an emotional response (positive or negative) that is related to how they present themselves and your (your peers) personal experience with their brand.
They have spent time discovering their target audience and listening to feedback to determine the ideal way to represent not just their products but their ideals as well.
Creating a strong brand identity is as important for small business owners as large corporations. Trying to stand out from your competitors takes a lot more than attracting customers based on product and price.
When you create a brand identity you show your customers your values and your point of difference from other businesses. You are communicating who you are and why consumers want to do business with you.
Let’s look at this in more detail.
What does branding mean?
Most people think that a brand is a logo or distinctive mark, often combined with a tagline or sentence, that stands for an organisation. This is partly right. Yes, we recognise brands via their logo or tagline and this is an important part of branding, but an even more significant thing to establish with your customers is positive thoughts and experiences that they associate with your brand.
Think of some of the larger brands that you are personally loyal to. Why are you loyal to them? Generally, consumers develop loyalty to a brand because it makes them feel good, answers a need that they have or even shares the core principles that they value.
Why is brand important?
Why are you in business? There is no simple answer to this question. Do you want to be wealthy, pay the rent, or make a difference in this world? Whatever the reason, you will be much more successful if you create a brand that appeals to your customers.
You need to develop your brand to:
1. Stand out from the crowd: How will your customers find you if your business has nothing distinctive compared to your competitors. Why would someone buy from you instead of your competition? It’s called a point of difference and every business needs one. It could be a cause, a purpose or an extraordinary service – whatever it is it must set you apart in your market.
2. Generate a positive perception: Peer to peer endorsements are a seen as the most trustworthy form of advertising, and in fact, customers are 92% more likely to trust a recommendation from a peer than random advertising when it comes to purchasing. What people think of your business does matter. Create a brand that people can fall in love with.
3. Build a relationship with your customers: Solve your customer’s problems and offer a listening ear to their feedback and they will become loyal customers and advocates for your brand. Business nowadays is about a relationship, not just a sale.
4. Understand your customers: When you interact with your customers you learn about their needs. This allows you to collect essential data that will help you improve your products, services and communications to expand your reach.
Steps to establish a brand
1. Define your audience: Find out who they are, what they want and need and what they like and dislike. Get to know them well.
2. Understand your purpose: What do you do and why do you do it? Why would a customer choose your business?
3. Define your vision/mission statement: Your vision is the big picture, whilst your mission is what you do every day.
4. Know your competitors: Who are they? List them and research how they market and where they are successful. What are their points of difference?
5. Look at what makes you stand out: What are your values and points of difference over your competitors.
6. Decide how you want people to feel about you: Are you high energy, do you make people laugh or maybe you make people feel safe.
7. Develop a style guide: Document your brand and how it talks to people. Decide on colours, design, logo and a tag line. Keep in mind the full customer journey.
8. Create an elevator pitch: This is 1-2 sentences that describes the benefits for a customer choosing you over a similar business.
9. Incorporate your brand: Your brand must be consistent across everything that you do i.e. colours, typography, tone, layout and design.
10. Stay on brand: Now that you have established your brand make sure that you stick to it across all elements of your business.
At LYF Solutions we can help you with the process of developing your brand. Chat to us about what you need and we can lead you through the process of establishing a brand that reflects you.