Ok, you know something’s not quite right—you’re just not connecting with your audience. Maybe your brand is out of date. Maybe it’s aimed at the wrong type of client. You want to build a new brand for your business. But first, what the heck is a brand in the first place?
A brand is more than just a logo or a website it’s how you make your people feel. It’s the collection of experiences that your clients have with your business, it’s how you show up. It’s what people think and say about your business. It’s your reputation. It’s your advocates, It's your fans, it's your tribe and, it can be one of your best sales tools too.
A strong brand tells your audience what your business does, how it does it, why it does it and most importantly, why they should care. Basically, your brand is a big part of your business story and needs to be built deliberately and honestly for your company to succeed and gain traction.
So now that’s cleared up, how do you build a brand and how do you build a brand successfully?
First, what are you starting with?
To know where you want to go, you need to know where you’re starting. It’s time to conduct a brand review.
Before you even think about rebuilding your brand or creating a new one you want to do a brand audit and evaluate your current position in your niche or industry. A brand review will show you the strengths and weaknesses of your current brand and help you figure out what you need to improve.
A brand review usually covers:
Internal branding: your values, goals and the culture behind your business and mission.
Client experience: your client’s experience of dealing with your company, your support and your services.
First, what are you starting with?
Next, what makes you unique?
If you want a successful brand, you’ll need to establish your unique selling proposition (USP).
Your USP is what sets your business aside from the rest of the companies in your niche. It’s what you provide to your clients that nobody else in your industry can. It’s what YOU DO BEST!
Unrivalled attention to detail. Client care that goes above and beyond. A new tech innovation nobody else has. Whatever it is, it needs to show your clients that you’re the only choice to solve their problems.
How to identify your USP
Understand your audience. Developing a USP always has to start with your audience: your ideal clients. Your clients are the most important parts of making your brand work. When getting to know your target audience think about what you know about them. Why do they come to you? What do you need to do to meet your needs? You want to be the company that they trust and give them a one-of-a-kind experience. You can ask current clients, colleagues and even friends to help you make a list of the reasons why somebody would want to partner with you. Creating user personas can really help get into the mindset of your ideal client.
What advantage do you have over your competitors? Knowing what you do and why you do it better than your competitors is key to developing a USP. For this exercise, you want to look at both direct and indirect competitors. But don’t copy them. If you do, your brand will not ring true.
How can you figure out why clients choose you over your competitors? Ask! If you’ve got a really good relationship with a client, you can even ask them to send over any sales material they get sent by other firms.
Sometimes asking why people chose you can lead to some pretty surprising answers that you’ve never considered before! Take everything on board - is there anything that’s coming up from multiple sources that you didn’t realize had such influence in the buying process?
If you’re shiny and new and don’t have any clients to ask, figure out where your ideal clients hang out online. Are there forums or social platforms you can join and read what they’re saying about your industry?
Find your focus. Ok, so now you know what your clients are looking for, what do you actually care about? What drives you to help your clients? Can you incorporate that into your USP? Is that your USP?
Once you’ve looked at your competitors, uncovered what your clients want and considered why you do what you do - it’s time to blend all that together and come up with your unique selling proposition.
Understanding your clients
Ok, you should have already done some of this work during the first stage of your USP work, but now it’s time to develop your client personas further.
The needs, goals, and wants of your potential clients will change the way you promote your business. By understanding who your clients are, where they come from and what their dreams are you can determine what kind of strategy you can implement into your brand.
Knowing what motivates your clients and what sort of media they consume will help you develop a compelling, effective brand that will help you to reach the right people to work with.
Developing an identity and a voice
Once you’ve got your client personas ready and you’ve identified your USP, your brand can start to take shape (finally, the fun stuff!)
A brand identity is like your brand’s very own personality. It’s your company’s style, its voice, and the way it shows up online and in-person.
Your company’s personality/brand identity is the type of language you use and what sort of tone you and your employees put into your brand messaging.
Is your company’s voice personal or professional?
Is the tone formal or informal?
Is your business fun and flirty or super serious?
Is your business an authoritative expert or an approachable friend?
The way you talk to your clients, whether it’s through your website, content or social media, will shape their vision of your business. It will also help you attract more of your ideal clients to your business.
After you’ve got that all figured out, you can start developing your brand’s visual identity: your logo, colour palette, marketing materials, website and everything else you’ll need to make an impression on potential clients.
Now we’ve got our client personas, we’ve got our USP, we’ve found our brand voice and we’ve developed a visual identity.
You’ve put a ton of time, effort, blood, sweat and tears into creating your awesome new brand, you don’t want to throw all that away by not following through.
Everything you create for your business going forward needs to be as amazing as your original branding efforts. And remember those aforementioned advocates, fans and tribe? They’ll reward you with trust, commentary and connections that strengthen your brand.
You need to make sure that your brand’s consistent online and offline. For example, if your business has a very serious tone of voice throughout your website, it’d be jarring and confusing for clients to receive a very lighthearted email full of emojis.
Why is brand consistency so important? It leads to familiarity and familiarity leads to trust which is what you want for your clients. You want them to put their trust in you.
It may take some time to develop the perfect brand for your company but it’ll be worth it in the end when you can show your clients who you are and what you can do for them.
Do you think there are any points we missed in this blog? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!