There’s a lot of buzz about branding
Here’s what you need to know in order for you to take a more strategic look at your company’s brand:
Understanding Your Audience
Who is your ideal customer? What needs to they have and what is their budget to address those needs? Who do they aspire to be? As business owners, this is often where we’re strongest – understanding our customers and their needs. Since we work directly in our business, we can talk to our customers every day to get to know who they are and to understand their greatest pain points. We know who they are from a demographic standpoint and, through our daily conversations with them, we may even know whom they aspire to be and who they’re trying to emulate. All of this information helps us to create a complete picture of our customer so that we can better align our business to meet their needs.
If you haven’t created a “blueprint” for your customers, take the time now to create one. This will help you better understand to whom you’re marketing so that you can tweak your campaigns directly to the people you’re trying to reach. You won’t know where you’re going until you know where you need to be.
Understanding Your Competition
Who are your major competitors in your business area? What makes them unique? How are they capturing new clients? What opportunities are they leaving open? If you had to narrow it down, who is your strongest competitor? What makes them so strong? How can you get a better sense of their marketing plan? One mistake we sometimes make as business owners is to believe that we have no competition. We believe that our business is either so unique or so valuable that we’re not competing with anyone for customers. That’s simply not the case. Take some time to study your competitors to help you understand where you fit in the market and the opportunities that are available to you. Understanding who you’re competing against and their strengths and weaknesses puts you in a better position to compete.
Understanding Your Own Business
What makes your company different in the marketplace? Why would a customer select you over one of your competitors? What words would you want a customer to use to describe your business? What do customers get from doing business with you, beyond just the fulfillment of their direct needs? A question many business owners don’t take the time to ask themselves – what do you want your brand to be in the market? What are you associated with today and what would you like to be associated in the next few years?
Because we’re very busy with our day-to-day tasks, it can be difficult to take a step back and really evaluate where we want our brand to go. Take the time to do it! Determine what makes you different and use it to build a stronger brand and connection with customers. It’s not enough to simply sell a great product or service; you also need to provide a great experience. Develop loyalty among your customers so they keep coming back AND refer others to you! Your customers need to associate you with something more important than just the flooring they bought from you.
A brand is much more than a logo
Your chances of becoming a big hit are greatly increased by investing in your brand – in the form of sharp creative strategy and great design. Branding, done right, is a rigorous process. Shortcuts almost always end up costing more in the end. Investing in great branding and design from the start establishes a foundation for your business, and pays back tenfold.
You only get one chance to make that first impression stay with consumers. The most guaranteed way to build loyalty is through a strong brand that connects with people. A brand is much bigger than its elements. Building a brand means that you need to take the time to determine what drives your target audience. Ask yourself what they truly care about, at the most fundamental level. Then, find a way to connect with those feelings and needs, through collateral language and design. Establishing this point of connection requires that you really ask yourself what your audience wants. Then, you need to concentrate on developing a creative brand experience around these insights. Put your consumer first – above your product features, above your personal beliefs.