Branding in the world of today’s conscious and involved consumers requires a clear strategy and thorough implementation to ensure your company is memorable and aligns with your core audience. But it’s not as simple as slapping a logo on a billboard. There are many steps along the way that help you reach that shiny, new brand.
Each component of brand strategy requires time and attention to help your company stand out from the rest. Here are some of the most overlooked pieces when business owners start to consider branding.
Why you exist
Inspired by Simon Sinek’s best-selling book, Start with Why, the first step in the branding process is to think about your why. Why did you start a business? What is your core purpose your company fulfills? Why should customers pick you? Find that motivational reason and harness it early in the branding process.
When you drill down on the heart of your purpose,you’ll start to understand why people should care about your brand. You’ll be able to articulate your business more clearly to your audience and inspire others with your why.
Anchor back to this foundational piece of the process as you consider other components of brand strategy.
Who you serve
Before you start marketing your brand, you need to understand who you’re trying to reach. Who is your target audience, and how can your product or service make their lives better? Ensure the work you do from here on out resonates with the people who matter.
To start, paint a picture of your audience. Where are they from? What are their interests? What problems do they have? You’ll likely have two or three different audience personas that can benefit from your offering. With each audience segment, you’ll be able to craft a different message that addresses their specific wants and needs.
Once you understand who your audience is and what they respond to, you can capture their attention and inspire them to take action.
How you operate
You have your why and who. But now, you need to understand what you stand for. This crucial component of brand strategy digs deep to identify your brand’s mission and values.
Establishing brand values might seem like an easy step to skip, but it’s a grounding principle that should stay central to all of your marketing (and not to mention your hiring and operations) to create that cohesive vision your audience will resonate with. What do you care about? How do you want to be perceived? What feelings do you want your brand to evoke? What values do you share with your audience?
Your brand’s mission is an action-oriented statement that communicates how you plan to deliver value to your audience and what your brand aims to accomplish. Business owners often have a difficult time narrowing their whole business into one sentence that is both memorable and inspirational. Hiring an outside expert helps you craft your mission statement objectively.
How to communicate
Once you’ve developed a clear and comprehensive strategy, implementing it into every area of your business is key to success. A large component of brand strategy is translating it to your marketing efforts and how you visually and verbally communicate with your audience.
If you’ve determined your brand is playful and vibrant, how do you relay that across your marketing channels? What kind of words, colors, and imagery do you use? The tone and appearance of your content should match your brand strategy to create a connected experience for your audience.
Analyze and adapt
As you grow as a brand, keep a pulse on trends and feedback from your audience and internal team. What worked for you five years ago may not be as effective now. A benefit of digital marketing is the ease of collecting data and allowing companies to hear what people are saying about them.
For example, you may notice that certain types of social media posts perform much better than others. Quote graphics might get a lot less likes than educational carousels. Take note of what your audience wants to see more of and deliver.
Each of these brand strategy components is important to create a full and complete picture of your business. And branding is an ongoing process — there are countless reasons why you may need to shift and adapt your brand as time goes on. These are living and adaptive pieces of your company, from your mission statement to your visual identity.
At Studio Lyn, we work closely with our clients to understand their business goals and set them on track to accomplishing them through branding. Reach out to learn more about how brand strategy can accelerate your growth.