How to Create a Real Brand and THEN Market It

April 25, 2014

Having a powerful, identifiable brand enables businesses to grow and maintain an audience and promote themselves (and their products and services) online and off in incredibly effective ways. But before your business can really start marketing your brand, you need to truly have one.
Effective branding is crucial, and it’s something that many businesses overlook the importance of. Without a solid brand, your marketing will never be as successful as it could. But building a successful brand that reflects your business can mean asking yourself some serious, personal, and difficult questions that get right to the core of who you are and what you’re trying to do–but once you create a brand you’re proud of, there are no limits to the benefits you’ll see in your marketing and even beyond it.

So, if you’re looking to create a real brand that reflects your business, here are some tips to take to heart:

Understand What Your Customers Need and What Role You Play in Giving it to Them.

What are you really doing? What are you really giving your customers? How are you really helping them? When customers come to you, you’re not there to sell, you’re there to solve (or help them solve) whatever it is they need or want solved. Whether they’re looking for shoes or legal advice or roofing or a new marketing software–there’s a greater purpose behind each purchase.

Find out what your clients really after and why you’re the one to give it to them. As a shoe store, it’s not about selling a stiletto, it’s about helping a customer get what they need to look the way they truly want. As a marketing agency, it’s not about selling a service, it’s about giving businesses the solutions they need to grow their businesses. As a roofer, it’s not about installing shingles, it’s about helping clients build a home they love. While businesses are built on buying and selling, there are always greater goals at work, and you should know what those are if you want to create a brand with purpose and with the ability to succeed.

Find out what your customers want. What their big picture goals are. And then, just as importantly, how your business factors in. What are you doing to get them closer to what they want? A strong brand is built on a concrete understanding of not just your own services, but your market and your customers.

Find Your Voice and Know Who You Are.

If you want to promote your brand, you first have to have a brand to promote. We’re not just talking about a logo or a tagline here. We’re talking about the real essence of a brand–the voice, the vibe, the intent and the identity of your business. Asking yourself who you really are as a company is key to creating a brand that’s strong. What kind of characteristics do you want associated with you? Are you formal or free spirited? Corporate or casual? What’s the tone with which you want to project that purpose you defined in the step we just discussed above. What sets you apart? What makes you, well, you?

It doesn’t matter whether it’s the way you position your business, the tone of your content, the training you give your employees, the inspiration behind  your web design, the messaging in your ads, the mission statement you stand by or anything else between–a powerful brand has to have a well thought out and well-expressed sense of self.

Whatever that identity is, make sure it’s one that you know you can stay true to. A solid brand is an incredibly powerful tool, but for a brand to be successful, it needs to be genuine, realistically maintainable, and consistent. After all, how can you expect people to stay true to a brand that can’t stay true to itself?

Verbalize Core Values and Create a Company Culture.

Your brand is essentially the metaphorical spirit, voice and face of your business. But don’t forget the literal faces and voices that make up your business. To have a brand that’s more than surface deep, create a company culture and live by it. Being personable as a brand, starts with being personable first and foremost in the day-to-day operations within business. What are your brand’s core values? What is your company culture? What’s brought you all together?

Encourage employees, engage each other, and don’t forget to reiterate what it is you’re all working hard to accomplish. When your employees feel like they’re working towards a shared goal–and for a company with concrete values–they’ll work as a cohesive whole with a shared drive. This means a business that not only functions smoothly, but a brand that emits an identifiable sense of personality, passion, and purpose.

Market Your Brand

Once you’ve built your brand, share it. Heck, show it off.

Marketing your brand is the crucial final step in effective branding. Now is the time to share your brand with your audience. But how do you go about sharing your business’ identity to your audience (and potential audience)? Here are a few things to consider when you’re marketing your brand:

  • Define your mission statement, and make it public.
  • Have a purpose beyond just your unique selling proposition. Let your audience know what you can really do for them.
  • Make your brand personable–whether it’s keeping in touch through effective, monthly email marketing, by working in transparency, highlighting your company culture and events or even just having a detailed About Us page.
  • Put your brand out there. Choose which platforms you want to focus your marketing on–are you going to get social? Try content marketing? Get found organically? Redesign your site? Invest in Adwords? Optimize your local listings? There are millions of ways you can promote your brand, choose the platforms and the mediums that are right for you and then market your business accordingly for each.
  • Give your marketing momentum with clear, creative calls to action that reflect your brand as well as what you know will spur your specific audience into action.
  • Stay consistent. When you’re writing a blog post, sharing an infographic, composing a tweet, posting an online ad, announcing a new service, or optimizing your content for rankings–keep your brand in mind and stay true to it’s defining characteristics as well as it’s tone, it’s look and it’s feel.
  • Let your brand radiate from everything you do. Your brand is the essence of your business, it should be a part of everything you do from your day-to-day operations to your marketing efforts to your greater goals as a company.

 

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