You have a great idea for an innovative product: now what? You need to establish a strong brand so you can market this product to an audience that needs it.
Branding your business is more than coming up with a pretty logo or a funny tagline. It requires an analytical look at what you are offering, who you want to reach, and what sets you apart.
Here are seven tips for branding your business for better awareness, profit, and growth.
1. Brand Audit
Before you invest money in packaging, web design, ads, marketing plans, and other preparations to deliver your product to the world, take some time to conduct a brand audit. You need to define your brand before you can develop an effective promotion campaign for it.
Is the new product part of a line you have previously marketed? If so, you must define the existing brand and how this new item fits into the overall strategy. If your brand is already well defined, you have to be careful about how you add to it. Without good research, it is possible to make costly branding mistakes.
If this product is your first foray, take a moment to articulate what your brand is, to whom you want to appeal, and what elements of design and messaging might best convey it.
A thorough audit may include surveying your existing customers and those you wish to attract, in addition to your own team and your competitors.
2. Identify Your Audience
When you identify your audience, you will be better equipped to make choices on how to reach them. If you are aiming for the teen demographic, your web design and social media campaign will be far different than if you want to reach consumers over 60 years old.
What do your potential customers read, watch, and enjoy? What are their needs? Where are they located and how can you reach them?
By considering these facts about your intended audience, you will be better able to target them online and in real life.
3. Create a Visual Identity
When you brand your business, you must choose a visual identity that will capture the attention of your chosen audience. Your visual brand must carry across all marketing, from your website to letterhead stationery to ads to signage.
Because so much marketing is online, your website will be the key delivery service for your visual brand. One of the top objectives of a website is “capturing eyeballs.”
No matter what, your site cannot be boring! Even if you are appealing to a conservative audience like attorneys or city planners, your visual style must convey professionalism and savvy. You want to make an immediate impression through clear, definitive design and effective function.
4. Differentiate Yourself from the Pack
Another important fact to effective branding is differentiation. You need to stand out from your competitors.
Online, your brand should have both attractive design elements and substantive content. You do not have much time to capture viewers, so your design must make an immediate impression. This can be done by giving your potential customers what they need in a way that grabs their attention.
You can set yourself apart through creative giveaways, surveys, an eye-catching color palette, targeted keywords, or any number of innovative branding campaign strategies.
5. Make Your Product Easy to Find and Purchase
No one can purchase your goods or services if they cannot find it. Effective branding raises your profile and clearly points towards how consumers can buy what it is you are selling.
Make it easy for people to find you. Research cost-effective methods like online ads, Google ad words, and search engine optimization. When someone searches for an answer to a problem that your product solves, your website should pop up right away!
Once a potential customer finds it, your website needs to be easy to navigate. The purchase process must be transparent and user-friendly.
The average time someone stays on a website is about fifteen seconds! If your site is too difficult to use, buyers will click away to another vendor who can give them what they want more easily.
6. Reinforce Your Brand Across Mediums
Once you have defined your brand visually and online, it is time to take it out to the masses. Do you have a brick and mortar venue? If so, the design of your store should mirror the branding established in your online presence. So should business cards, signage, packaging, and advertisements.
Employees are also a reflection of your brand. Maybe they need hats or polo shirts with your logo. And don’t forget their attitudes! Train your staff to act as brand ambassadors.
If your ideal customer is a friendly person from the midwest, your salespeople should reflect those values. If you are aiming for an international audience focused on luxury, your brand will have a very different approach. So should your client-facing employees.
7. Reassess Your Brand Over Time
Successful brands can imprint themselves on the public consciousness. Coca-cola’s colors and font are indelible symbols of this popular drink.
However, the most durable brands evolve over time. Take a look at how Volkswagen or Shell have subtly changed their logos over the past few decades. They reflect the evolving nature of consumer taste and also their changing products.
Companies should reassess their branding every few years to make sure that it is still effective in furthering their business objectives. Does it seem old and tired? Do people still associate the brand with the qualities you are marketing?
If there has been a product issue like a recall or accident, you may need to do some rebranding.
Even if your brand remains strong and your products reliable, consumers can be fickle. You need to stay top of mind so they do not forget you! There are always competitors out there, looking for ways to cut into your market.
Branding your Business: An Ongoing Exercise
Branding your business is a continuous process. You should always be looking for ways to do it better by reaching more people or making life better for your customers.
Whether you are starting a new business or striving for your existing one to stay profitable, make sure your brand is always working to connect with your audience. Keep it fresh and effective at serving their needs.
For more information on improving your online brand, talk to us!