When talking about brand development, it is fundamental to consider that everything matters. Even the smallest details can affect the way that the audience (potential customers) perceives you.
Let’s start saying that a brand is what distinguishes you from other companies, products, competitors, etc. It is more than just a logo. It consists of a name, a tagline, graphics, colors, sounds, scents, tastes and a personality. It is strongly connected with the emotions of the consumers. When customers think of your brand, what is the first thing that you want to pop into their minds? What connection do you seek to make with your target market? How will you expect to differentiate your brand in a tough, highly competitive market? And for all those of you who think you have no competition, you better think again. Even if you are completely brand new to your niche marketplace, there’s always competition – the customer could choose to do nothing. Furthermore, in the business world, you may come to discover that doing nothing is indeed the biggest competitor. Customers usually feel safe in their comfort zones, they love the status quo. It’s important for your brand to make and emotional connection and move the needle of your target market to take the desired action.
If you are immersed on a startup process, it is most probable that you already have a clear idea of what your brand is, but that’s not enough. You need to guide the people to understand and follow your vision in order to develop it. In other words, you need to find a way to bring your brand to life in the mind’s eye of your target audience. Entrepreneurs and business owners alike usually rush the initial branding phase. Of course, as the owner of your brand it means a great deal to you simply because you are directly invested in the concept from the beginning. However, if you are the typical consumer that is bombarded with marketing messages from dawn to dusk, how is your brand going to break through the clutter. Why should they take time out of their busy daily schedules to check out your brand? What is so special about your brand compared to numerous others out there? Initial brand development is your opportunity to tell the story about your brand. Deliver the ‘why should they care’ reason.
The first impression is what counts the most
What is the initial experience that your clients will have from you? As they say, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Therefore, what are you going to
do in order to ensure a powerful first impression with your brand. That first impression experience goes a long way indeed! Who is the person that will be in touch with them?
There is a principle that you should always remember: Everything communicates.
So make sure that all your staff are trained to act as brand ambassadors that promote its best attributes. And that’s not all.
The first approach could not be directly with your employees, but through your website, social media accounts, e-mails, and many other communication channels that have to be aligned to your company’s marketing strategy.
All the various points of contact for your target audience needs to be nicely streamlined to communicate the same underlying vision for your brand. This should include not only all your online marketing points of contact, but also all your letterheads, brochures, flyers and other offline promotional items. A unified brand on all levels emits the right signals to your target market. In addition, striving to deliver a unified message to your target audience on all channels gets your entire organization on the same page. This is because at the forefront of your brand mission, you are constantly thinking about putting your best foot forward with the consumer. When brands focus on delivering value to their target consumers, they earn instant respect and develop authority status. Consumers are attracted to brands that own their space. Therefore, figure out how you can position your brand strategically against your competitors in the marketplace.
What people think about your brand is actually what makes it. There are some aspects that help consumers build an opinion about your product or service, which are:
- Your tone: It’s not only what you say, but how you say it. The perception that the audience has about you is always formed and modified in real-time, which means that they react to your communication with them. They might have a good impression about you, and change it for a bad one, or vice versa. It depends on how you speak to them (a phone call, a spot, a meeting in person, etc.). We are living in a brand new business world, obviously, a fast paced digital one too. The old fundamental rules of branding in the old radio and TV age may still somewhat factor in, however, the internet, social media and innovation in general has become a significant game-changer at all levels.
- Spread your vision of the brand through your whole company and partners: If your employees treat your customers according to the brand’s values and philosophy, they will become promoters of your products. Remember that word of mouth publicity is still the most powerful marketing weapon. Far too many organizations fail to leverage the power of word of mouth publicity. In your specific niche, strive to position your brand as the best one that cares about your target market the most. In your space, be the brand that delivers a value proposition so irresistible that folks are compelled to share with friends, family and associates.
- Your digital channels are an extension of your brand: Today’s world is completely digital, and statistics show that most of the buyers make their purchasing decisions based on what they see on Internet, whether it is a friend’s opinion on social media, a review, or just a search. So you should better ensure that your website and social networks profiles are up to date, and reflect the brand’s personality in all its aspects. A very important thing to consider is that now a days must of us use mobile devices to interact with the digital world. For this reason your pages must be 100% responsive and clear, even in the smallest of the gadgets. In the new digital and mobile age, customers want everything yesterday. Your brand needs to be updated and responsive at all times. Customers expect to engage with their favorite brands on social media in a very transparent manner.
As we said before, your brand’s perception is susceptible to be affected by anything in its environment. Be aware of all its aspects and what you are communicating to the world. The more consistent your communication is, the more successful your brand development will be. Deliver your brand as the solution to whatever your target market faces, then be consistent in follow-through of the customer experience from start to finish.