How To Create A Winning Branding Strategy

  Nik Oliva

branding

If you’re just starting out in your business, or are ready to get more professional, it’s time to look at how you brand your business. Branding is more than just a logo or trademark. Your brand is the entire sum of what your company does, what you excel at and the experience your customers have with you.

A company without a specific and distinct identity is very difficult to evolve and expand in a competitive society. It must continually work harder to find new customers and sometimes even go out of budget to acquire each customer. If you’re ready to create a brand identity for your business but you don’t know where to start, here are some branding strategies to successfully implement branding for your business.

Know your audience. To build your brand online, you must first have a clear understanding of your audience, especially before you begin creating content strategies and communication plans. Use an online survey tool to ask basic questions about your product, idea or service in order to identify who is the audience most likely to respond well to what you are offering. Remember that people are often reluctant to take surveys, so keep your survey brief, direct and interesting. Evaluating all the marketing choices from the vantage point of the consumer will help you to connect with the consumer and genuinely make a positive difference in his or her life. Based on your research, determine what your audience wants to hear and what message you want to put forward. It’s important to understand both the stated and unstated needs the insights into your target consumers’ lives. Keep in mind that each of your competitors has done similar branding research to develop their successful brand. If their research has produced a different result than your research, try to understand where those differences are coming from.

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Conduct a research. The most important work for successful branding takes place before a designer or agency is even hired: research, planning, and difficult decision making by the client. Study the most successful brands on the market. It is always a good idea to look at what is successful and to learn from successful models. Pay attention to the typefaces used by major brands, the style of the logo design and the message the brand is conveying with the complete package. Usually you will find that all of the elements are carefully crafted to deliver the same message, each in a slightly different way. The worst thing a company can do is go to a design agency without having collected key pieces of information and expect the designers to fill in the blanks. If you don’t have this understanding for your company, you won’t be able to engage with the agency enough to have their work be beneficial.

Brand message. Convey the brand message on the most appropriate media platform with specific campaign objectives. What is the single most important thing you want your target audience to think or feel when they see your brand? What about your company makes it the one that a potential client should choose? These are the questions that your brand message should answer. Your message should be less than six words. Ask yourself if your logo is decisive, easy to identify and related to your message. Make sure to be consistent in your messaging and presentation at every turn. It also makes sense to have a few different campaigns working with totally different looks. But once you measure all your feedback and determine which brand message and image works best, you can now invest your branding efforts on the right platform that communicates to the right channels. Mainstream media may be expensive but it has a broader reach, wider demographics and can produce instant impact. On the other hand, social media may seem cheap but it takes time, resources and may not give you the desire outcome. Keep in mind that consistency in your message is the key to differentiate.

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Competition. Even if you have the most innovative, highly desirable product, you can expect new competitors with a superior value proposition to enter your market down the road. The market is always big enough for new players to improve what you deliver better, faster, cheaper. Having a broader category-competitive understanding is important because that sets the context under which consumers will be viewing your brand. Call it innovation economics, competition could be good for you believe it or not. It also challenges your brand to elevate the strategy and deliver more value.

Credibility. A brand gives you instant credibility. And building your reputation online is similar to a networking breakfast, but it’s not as easy and it takes more time. be sure to leverage any existing offline partnerships you have in order to grow your reputation online. Doing so will not only help build links pointing back to your website, but it can also enhance your organic search presence. Building a network of successful clients who will spread the word about your business opportunity on their own can contribute to meeting goals of attraction marketing. Offer referral incentives may encourage your most successful entrepreneurs to bring their friends and new prospect clients onboard.

Make your brand appealing and recognizable. Select your brand colors carefully and use a great message that grabs your ideal client’s attention. It’s important to have many different ways to convey your message and style to your potential clients, so you need to have both verbal and visual brand representations for your company. Be aware of the message you’re putting out through the colors you use on your website and on your business cards. Consider the colors that are associated with your industry. For example, recycling or eco-friendly companies are often green, as that’s the color associated with healthy actions. Professional companies sometimes use a dark blue to signify seriousness. Classical colors such as burgundy, forest green, navy and medium brown when used with more refined logos are attractive and comfortable for an older audience. Natural colors such as greens, tans, browns, soft yellows and clay colors are appealing to people who are sensitive to environmental causes or natural living styles. Be thorough and be consistent. That means you need a logo and color scheme that complements your verbal message, and creates a cohesive presentation for your materials and website. High-paying clients hire coaches and consultants who they see as experts professionals who can help them achieve a this specific goal. So use your brand consistently in lots of different places, such as the design of your showroom, the tone of your social media, and the look of your website should all convey the same impression. Sell people something that satisfies not only their physical needs but their emotional needs and their need to identify themselves to your brand.

Innovate. A well managed brand is always making adjustments. Today, there’s no limit to how you can promote a product or service. Successful brands don’t cling to the old ways just because they worked in the past; instead, they try to re-invent themselves by being flexible which frees them to be more savvy and creative. Technology offers companies incredible opportunities to do things in a whole new way, such as using social media sites to target a very specific demographic. As time goes on, review the changes in your products, customer base, and industry. Branding is a process, not a race, not an event so expect to constantly tweak your message and refresh your image. But do make sure that you maintain your brand equity by respecting your loyal customers. The idea is to honor that initial promise you started with, while expanding the public’s perception.

In today’s highly competitive market place, Strategy defines the success of a brand. It is an effective way to allow your business to stand apart from competitors and discover how to best speak with your potential clients and win their trust. A strong strategy can increase brand awareness, increase sales, improve brand equity and build the brand. A successful brand invariably results in superior profit and marketing performance. A brand name is therefore a valuable asset which can set a product or service apart and add significant value as a capital asset. A successful brand is rarely about a design, it is the more rounded general impression that surrounds an organization and helps to shape expectations. So no matter what brand extension or innovation you are planning for your brand, ensure that it builds on and strengthens that distinctive positioning.