Branding relates to the way the outside world sees your company. The concept of branding can be like a black hole, where you constantly try different things but aren’t sure what sticks. There is a better way to develop a positive image for your business, though.
To grab people’s attention and create loyal users, businesses must be real. About 90% of millennials say authenticity matters when they decide which company gets their dollars. What does it mean for a brand to be authentic? For one, don’t try to trick your users into buying from you or pretend you care about a cause because it’s trendy. Be who you are and know what you stand for.
Once you have a strong core statement, branding becomes a matter of putting your name in the right places at the right time. Here are some things to keep in mind as you build your company’s reputation.
1. Find Your Tone
Figuring out how you want others to see you is the first step in branding. Decide on a tone for your company. Are you young and hip? Perhaps you’re steadfast and reliable. The personality depends on who your core audience is and what industry you’re in. People may not want a financial institution giving off a fun vibe. However, a clothing brand benefits from a contemporary appeal.
2. Present Your Logo Consistently
Your logo is one of the most frequently seen elements of your brand. It should appear on websites, vinyl vehicle wrap advertising, social media pages and even your letterhead. A logo wrap on your vehicle could be seen by hundreds or thousands of people each day, for instance.
Think about your logo and what it says about your business. Create a style guide showing how it appears. For example, if your logo is on a white background, how does it vary from when it’s on a black one? People should know with a glance at your logo what your business offers. If not, it might be time to update your logo.
3. Figure Out Your UVP
What is the unique value proposition (UVP) you offer your customers? Think about the ways in which your business stands out from the competition. Consumers have a choice in who they buy from. You must show them the benefits of buying from you over anyone else.
Make sure your UVP is different than your competitors’. If they advertise speedy service, you have to have speedy service plus a free perk. Always go another step beyond others in your industry.
4. Keep the Customers You Have
Customer retention has a big impact on your brand image. When your customers love you and are loyal, they will tell others. Word-of-mouth buzz enhances your brand image faster than anything else you can do. You’re much more likely to sell to a current customer than a new prospect.
In fact, an existing client has a 70% chance of buying from you again. Meanwhile, a new prospect has a 20% probability of buying. Customer retention is important to your company’s growth and reputation.
5. Watch Your Reviews
Pay attention to what people say on social media and review sites about your brand. When there is a complaint, address it immediately and resolve the issue. One unhappy customer reaches many others. People often check online reviews when deciding whether they want to buy from you, so your online reputation makes a difference in your bottom line.
However, you can turn complaints into positives by responding with respect and a fix-it attitude. Others will see and appreciate your willingness to make things right.
6. Research Your Audience
If your products aren’t relevant to the customers you serve, it doesn’t matter how slick your branding campaign is or how beautiful your logo might be. Companies that have been in business for a while struggle with staying on top of industry changes.
Rapid changes occur most frequently in the tech industry. Sites like MySpace, which were once attractive to nearly everyone, are barely heard of today. Their inability to stay ahead of changing trends in the way people interacted online sounded a death knell for them, and their brand became something from the past.
Survey your customers and ask them what products they’d like to see. Is there anything you aren’t offering that you should? Spend time looking at the customers of your competitors. What needs do the other companies serve that you aren’t offering? Look for ways to tweak what you do and stay current. You want to be known as a brand on the cutting edge of your industry.
7. Create a Brand Persona
One of the best ways to establish a rigorous brand identity is by turning your image into a person. Think about the personality of your company. If it were a person, what would it be like? Factor in the attitudes of the owners, the company culture and your mission as an organization.
What does your persona look like? Create an avatar of what your brand looks like and give it a name. When you are talking about image, think about how it reflects on the named person. When you create a campaign, look at it through the eyes of your persona and how the marketing reflects on them.
8. Tracking Your Brand’s Success
Use every opportunity to see how well your brand resonates with the outside world. Poll customers on things they think you could do to improve your image. Talk to employees about how to get the word out about your mission. Meet with mentors and other business owners and look at how they market themselves and ask for suggestions on improving your branding.
If you keep your eye on the long-term success of how people see your company, branding becomes a natural part of who you are and what you do.