People are four to six times more likely to purchase from, champion, and protect companies with a strong purpose.
As a business owner, a purposeful brand is one of your most valuable assets. If you own a small business, you’re likely competing against well-known and respected brands with devoted customers.
That’s why you have to focus on building a brand—not just a business—to stand out. But branding is more than well-placed ads and an artistic logo. You need to put in the effort to build a raving customer base.
Keep reading to learn more about what makes a compelling brand and how to start building your own today.
What Is a Brand, Anyway?
Your brand is your target audience’s perception of your business. Or as Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, says, “Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.”
At its core, branding encompasses human emotions and personal connections. How does your brand make your customers feel?
Above all else, your brand is your reputation. Today’s market is competitive, so your brand must be consistent in experience and communication across all applications, including:
- Website and online marketing
- Environment (office or storefront)
- Content publishing
- Print collateral (packaging and signage)
- Sales and customer service
Branding isn’t a simple process, and it doesn’t happen overnight. Sometimes it can take several months to build your business’s perfect brand.
However, the effort is worth it and can lead to a steady increase in word-of-mouth referrals, leads, sales, and consumer advocacy for your business.
Wondering where to start? First, you need to define your brand’s purpose.
1. Define Your Brand’s Purpose
62% of consumers worldwide make purchasing decisions based on a company’s stance on social, environmental, social, and political issues close to their hearts.
A powerful purpose is the backbone of every successful brand—as well as every person. Your purpose is what you want to do for other people through your product or service.
When discovering your brand’s purpose, ask yourself the following questions:
- Why does your business exist?
- What problem does your brand solve?
- What differentiates your brand?
- Why should people care?
The answers to the above questions will help you form the foundation of your branding efforts through value propositions, voice, taglines, messaging, slogans, stories, and more.
It’s crucial to dig deep to find which purposes and values distinguish your brand from your competition.
2. Perform Competitive Research
You shouldn’t copy everything successful businesses do in your industry. However, you must be aware of what they’re good at and where they fail.
The goal of building a brand is to differentiate from the competition and convince your target audience to purchase from you first.
It’s vital to determine how to make your business stand out among what’s already there, so you can’t skip this step in the process.
First, research your benchmark brands or main competitors—for example, research how they’ve built a brand name. For a name to be effective, it must be memorable and resonate with consumers.
3. Determine Your Target Audience and Narrow Your Focus
There is no one-size-fits-all to branding, and you can be everything to everyone. So, it’s essential to determine your niche. Your target audience will become your brand’s foundation.
To perform target audience research, decide who you are trying to reach with your product or service. You’ll craft your message and mission to meet their specific needs.
It’s essential to get specific during this phase. Know the lifestyle and behaviours of your customers. For example, instead of saying you sell to “all mothers,” you could narrow your niche to “mothers who run side businesses while working from home.”
Narrowing your brand focus will go a long way in establishing a competitive advantage. You want your message to resonate with the intended audience.
4. Create Mission and Vision Statements
What are you most passionate about? Craft clear mission and vision statements from your answer.
This is “why” you started your business. It is what gets you out of bed every day.
You can’t build a brand that your niche audience trusts without knowing the value that your company provides. To craft a vision, think about where your business aspires to go, what it wants to be, and what impact it will have on your environment in ten years.
Your mission statement is a simple statement of commitment to your audience. It will inform others how you plan to execute your brand strategy.
And once you’ve written vision and mission statements, every aspect of your brand should reflect these, from your tagline to your logo, personality, and message.
5. Outline the Key Qualities and Benefits of Your Brand
No matter the industry you’re in, there will always be companies with more substantial budgets and resources that command the industry. Your focus should be on the products, services, and resources solely available to you.
To start a memorable brand, you must dig deep to discover what you offer that no one else does. Extract the benefits and qualities that make your brand unique.
Once you know exactly what your niche is, give your audience a reason to choose your business over another.
Don’t just outline a list of your product features of services and offer them to your customer. Contemplate how you provide value that improves the lives of your consumers through results that are experienced.
- Saving time on daily, manual tasks
- A better way to support productivity
- Transparent and authentic customer service
- Reducing costs with more affordable products or services
Give your ideal customer a clear idea of how your business will benefit them if they purchase.
6. Establish the Voice Behind Your Brand
How does your brand sound? This is called your voice, and it’s dependent on your industry, mission, and audience. Your voice is how you communicate with your audience and how they engage with you.
Your brand’s voice might be:
…or a combination of the above!
There are endless possibilities here. Ultimately, select a voice that your target audience will respond to the best.
7. Introduce Genuine Personality
You are what makes your company unique, so don’t be afraid to let your personality shine.
Now more than ever, consumers are avoiding cookie-cutter companies that offer the same products and services as everyone else. Your audience is looking for an experience tailored to their unique needs and backed by genuine personal interaction.
If you’re struggling with this step, make your personality stand out in every phase of the brand-building process. Then stay consistent with character along the customer journey.
Showing personality can be as simple as:
- Describing your products or services in a quirky manner
- Sharing exclusive or behind-the-scenes content
- Telling authentic stories about personal experiences
- Using conversational voice (such as “I” and “you”)
8. Craft a Brand Story and Messaging
To build from the previous step, it’s time to tell your audience exactly who you are. Use your newly crafted voice to tell your brand’s story.
Your messaging should be conveyed consistently and intricately associated with your brand in every way.
During this phase, you’ll go beyond your tagline and logo to define aspects such as:
- Who you are
- What your brand offers
- Why people should care
Your story is an opportunity to communicate with your audience as a human to make a direct emotional connection to your prospective customers. It’s crucial to make it simple and straightforward.
9. Create a Business Logo and Tagline
Many people want to create their logo and tagline first, but it’s essential to save this step for the very end. Your logo will appear on anything related to your business—the visual recognition of your mission and vision statements.
Use the information you’ve gathered during this process to craft a logo that encompasses your brand’s story and values. If you’re not a designer, consider hiring someone to design your logo. It’s vital to making your brand stand out.
10. Never Stop Building Your Brand
Finally, the brand-building process never ends. Your brand should be communicated by everything your audience can hear, read, and see.
Make sure your social media networks are branded visually and that you use your brand’s voice to engage with your audience. As you join new platforms or switch to others, don’t forget to carry your brand over each time.
Start Building a Brand Today
The tips above aren’t just for those who are building a brand for the first time. It’s never too late to tweak or revamp one that you already have.
At ZipZipe, we’ve seen it all. We’ll thoroughly evaluate your current digital marketing strategy during your first consultation with us and perform a comprehensive competitive analysis. You’ll receive a custom marketing blueprint tailored to your business to help your brand grow.
Request a strategy talk to get started!