When you hear Apple, what words come to mind? Sophistication, security, high-tech, durability, class? Well, it’s no surprise because those are the words Apple wants you to think about when their product comes to mind. In other words, that is Apple’s brand.
Because of Apple’s brand-reputation, it can charge higher for its products. And any product it introduces is readily accepted by millions across the globe. Your brand is the greatest asset your business has. It is what makes customers decide to do business with you instead of your competitors.
According to a study by Nielson, 59% of customers prefer to purchase products from a brand that they know, and 21% of them said they bought new products from a particular brand because they were familiar with the brand.
What is Branding?
Your brand is your promise to your clients. It’s everything from your logo, colors to the way you conduct customer service. Seth Godin, the marketing genius, defines a brand as “the set of expectations, memories, stories, and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.”
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos puts it even simpler “a brand is what people are saying about you when you are not in the room.” Your brand is how a customer truly feels about you and the services you render. Branding is simply the steps a business takes to create a brand that is unique and identifiable to the customer.
Here are five steps to creating a brand that makes you a favorite of customers.
Clearly Outline Your Vision
At its core, branding is storytelling – it is about telling the story of your business and how it can provide value to the ordinary person. Your vision should capture the following:
- Who you are
- The values that are important to you
- The kind of people you intend to serve
- How you plan to help your customers
Until your vision is clear, you can never brand properly. Let’s take a look at some of the most creative and exciting vision statements out there.
Interface’s vision reads:
“To be the first company that, by its deeds, shows the entire industrial world what sustainability is in all its dimensions: People, process, product, place, and profits — by 2020 — and in doing so we will become restorative through the power of influence.”
Nike’s vision reads:
“Bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world. (*If you have a body, you are an athlete.)”
TOMS has a heartfelt vision on its website:
“Improving lives. With every product you purchase, TOMS will help a person in need. One for One.”
In light of these wittingly created vision statements, it’s not surprising that these companies have generated such a buzz and affection across the world.
Your vision also determines the persona and voice you want to carry to your customers. Do you want to sound professional, funny, witty, caring, or conversational?
Create a Logo and an Arresting Tagline
Once you get the vision part down, you can focus on how to communicate that vision through visuals. The first thing to do is to choose the colors that represent your business. Guess what? 93% of customers make shopping decisions based on visual appearances.
Businesses choose different colors for various reasons. For instance, many banks like Chase, Barclays, and Bank of America have blue as their dominant color. And it’s for a good reason: blue signifies trust and integrity. Explore color theory and find a scheme that works for you.
Once you settle on a color scheme, you can proceed to work with your designers to develop a logo. If it’s too much for you, outsource it to a freelancer or a design company.
Also, create an arresting tagline that would easily make your brand identifiable. It should be short and memorable.
Integrate Your Strategy
Once you settle on your color scheme, logo, and tagline, it’s time to plaster it everywhere you can. Let your brand shine through. Everything your customers read, see and hear about you must promote your customer’s vision.
If your client walks into your office, what should they expect? How would receptionists handle them? What atmosphere will they find in your office? Your office space should project the persona you carry as a brand. Here are a few other ways to integrate your branding:
- From letterheads, business cards to packaging products, ensure that there is a stamp of your brand on everything.
- Your website should feature prominently in your brand promotion. Most of your customers will visit your site and may never step foot in your office.
- All your social media pages – from Twitter to Facebook – should carry your brand image and tone.
- If you have company cars and equipment, brand them with your color and company colors. It goes a long way to promote your advertising.
- Find a good T-shirt printing company and print T-shirts to promote your brand. T-shirts often create a familial and pleasant feel in your company. Vivid Customs is a company adept at creating great T-shirts and they have been doing it for a while. You can visit their site and find out more about their services
Maintain Your Branding
Creating a brand is easy. What’s more difficult is maintaining that brand. After working hard to create a brand, the last thing you would want is for anyone in your organization to disrupt it. Professional organizations have a brand guide to ensure consistency. A brand style guide usually covers things such as:
- Band mission
- Tone and Voice
- Logo Usage
- Brand colors
- Social media posts
Circulate your brand style guide across all your departments and teams. Organize training and retraining for all your teams and departments to ensure they ensure they are up-to-date on the right practices. Create a system where you can periodically review the performance of your units along the lines of maintaining your brand. However, in maintaining your brand, ensure that you make room for creativity and evolution in case your brand needs to take up a different persona in a given season.
The success of your business is inextricably linked to the brand you build. How customers perceive you will determine whether they will choose you over your competitors. This affects your growth and bottom-line in the long run. That’s why building your brand and protecting your brand’s reputation is critical.
In this article, I have listed five simple steps to building and maintaining your business’s brand. These tips are precise and actionable; therefore, you can implement it without much difficulty.