When it comes to business perception is reality. Opinions will happen regardless, so you might as well attempt to shape them. As the digital world transforms the way brands and customers connect, companies of all sizes are being forced to rethink how they approach their marketplace. Impactful branding is all about dynamism, flair, and creativity.
A unique brand offers you a competitive advantage over your rivals by offering a point of differentiation, helps you to build relationships with your customers and more. The ultimate key to success in today’s saturated marketplace is remembering to share the human side to your business, demonstrating a transparency and credibility that customers can truly connect with.
Here are some strategies to help take your business to the next level:
Define Your Brand Identity
Branding is more than just a logo. Your branding is who you are as a company; it’s your values and your mission, the way you treat your customers, the look and feel of your visual assets. So, before you start budgeting for a designer you need to take the time to get really clear on who you are as a company, in other words, your brand identity. The more clarity you get on who you are and what you’re about, the more you can infuse that identity into your branding – and the more your brand will stand out and grab customers’ attention as a result.
Identify Your Customer
So many businesses focus on what they’re selling that they forget to pay attention to who they’re trying to sell to. When you know who your target market is, you can use it to guide your branding strategy—and the end result will be a brand that truly connects with the customers you want to work with most. The more you attempt to appeal to everyone, the more disengaged your customers become. Companies that choose a specific niche audience, then double down on talking that customer’s language ultimately gets the best results. When you know exactly who you’re connecting with, you can refine your vision, and crystallise your brand promise to deliver a more authentic experience.
In a world full of disruptive companies, don’t be the business that’s afraid to take a risk. The best brands aren’t afraid to experiment with web design or logo creation, and they’re willing to take a stance on controversial issues. You can’t be all things to all people so choose your target audience and have courage to brand yourself in a way that suits that market.
Developing a connection with your customer will pay off for generations to come. The key to being successful in today’s over-crowded world is making sure that no matter how big you get, you never lose your human touch. When you’re designing your corporate branding strategies, think about how you can implement more emotion into the things you do. For instance, could you add an “About Us” page to your website that tells your brand story? Use social media to share information on your staff and the pool of talent you have working for you. People engage people so educate your customers about the staff behind your product / service.
Become an expert
As a small business, you might not have a huge advertising budget. But luckily, you don’t need to spend millions in ad dollars in order to get yourself in front of the right people. There’s a better, easier, and more affordable way to get your name out there—and that’s content marketing. Show off your industry expertise; by establishing yourself as a go-to resource and subject matter expert in your field, your audience will come to trust you and, when it comes time to them to choose a company to do business with, you’ll be the first place they go. If you can add value and answer their questions through your content, you’ll build trust with those customers and that trust will translate into business. Jennifer Rock, aka The Skin Nerd worked hard to establish herself as an expert on all things skincare, but all her efforts paid off when she launched her own brand.
Identify your special sauce
No matter what your business does, chances are, there are already other companies doing the same thing. So, if you want your business to stand out, you need to figure out what makes it stand out. What’s your USP? Identifying what makes you special will help you to understand what makes a customer choose your company to do business with over your competitors—and it should be infused into every part of your branding strategy.
Your logo is like the face of your company; it’s the first thing most of your customers will see when they encounter your brand and it’s the visual asset that will be most closely tied with your business. Your logo should be the first thing you design, as it will act as the jumping off point for all of your other visuals like your website. Consider your website your company’s digital real estate—and when people visit your website, the look and feel should be consistent with the rest of your branding.
People prefer to do business with brands they trust. But if you’re a new brand, establishing trust can be time consuming. To speed up the process look for partnership opportunities with other brands your customers already work with. Think of it as trust building by proxy; if your customers are introduced to your brand by a brand they already know and trust, they’re much more likely to extend that trust to you—and give you their business as a result. For example Pippa O'Connor working with Lucy Nagle on her knitwear collection.
For more information on branding and to hear directly from leading expert Gillian Horan, sign up to our next IMAGE Young Businesswomen's Forum here.