You know a strong brand when you see one, right? From Nike’s famous slogan to McDonald’s ‘golden arches’, a stand-out brand sells. In fact, according to research by McKinsey, strong brands outperform the competition by 73%.
Getting this right can therefore really make or break a business – especially in the competitive world we live in. Stamping a logo on products and coming up with a unique slogan doesn’t quite cut the mustard anymore. Brands need to be different, edgy and set themselves apart from the competition.
Strong branding doesn’t have to just be about your logo and colour scheme, it can also be about creating powerful imagery for social media.
Taking this a step further, nowadays it’s not just about company branding.
As social media has grown, individuals have developed their own online voice and persona. There are now real people associated with brands who help to humanise businesses and provide an authentic face to the name.
Look at Steve Jobs and Richard Branson. They built their businesses based on their beliefs and their desire to make a difference; something that consumers really relate to.
So how do you go about building a strong brand, both for you and your business? Here’s a few handy pointers to help you on your way…
Creating a business brand
Define your company
When setting out to come up with a great brand, have a real think about what exactly your company does and how this differs from the competition. It’s no good saying that you sell DIY products when thousands of others do. Why do you sell those products? What’s so different about the service you provide?
The internet has opened up a world (literally) of competition and people shop around, so think about why your business is special. Define your company in a way that stands out and gives people a real reason to choose your products.
Consider your audience
When establishing a brand, thinking about your audience is key. Put yourself in their shoes and think about how they would react to what you’re selling. There’s no point in deciding on brand colours because you think that the Teal and Aqua work well together. Think about what’s going to catch the eye of your consumer, be it teenage girls shopping for makeup or 40-something men in a golf shop. What’s going to resonate with them and why would they pick up your product over the others.
Netflix got this down to a T when they cracked the millennial market. Known as the generation that are ‘always connected’, Netflix understood that traditional forms of advertising wouldn’t wash with them. Instead, the company jumped aboard the social media train and advertised extensively on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to help infiltrate that key market.
Tell your story
People love a good story and if you have one, make sure you tell it. Was there a quirky reason for starting your business or is it a family owned company? This will help your audience relate to your brand and buy into the products or services that you sell.
Take Burt’s Bees for example, which was set up in 1984 when its founders (a bee-keeper and an artist) met on a hitch-hike, hit it off and started making candles together. Today the company sells a wide range of bodycare products and stays true to its original value that “what you put on your body should be from the best nature has to offer.” They have, to this day, a consistent brand message which filters through everything they do.
Create the right image
This can be everything from your logo, to colour schemes to your company font – ensuring that your brand image stays consistent is key. If this isn’t your forte then seeking professional advice will help to ensure that this is taken care of and that your image stands out in your market.
Getting your website right can also be a real game-changer (we offer a brand-focused web design service to help you build that image). Think about it, when you click onto a home page which looks dull and unappealing, do you go on to use that company’s services? Chances are, you hit that back button and look elsewhere.
When you’re creating a website that reflects your brand, you want it to excite people and draw them in. Think about how you get your message across in a short and sweet way – remember, people don’t have the attention span, nor the desire to read through an essay on why they should choose you so keep it short.
Creating a personal brand
You could say that back in the 1990’s a personal brand came in the form of your name on a simple business card (if you need a business card printing, we recommend CRS Graphics by the way!). However, with the development of social media and an increase in online presence, a personal brand has become way more far reaching. Thanks to social media, the world is now a much smaller place, changing the way we interact. CEOs are now taking to twitter to discuss anything from politics to the weather and people love it!
It’s accessible and helps to humanise their brand. A Nielsen consumer survey found that 90% of people trust messages from an individual they know compared to just 33% who trust messages from a brand. Having a personal brand can therefore can really set you apart from the competition and here’s a few tips on how to do just that…
Become a thought leader
No matter what you specialise in, be it art, music or electricals, there’s always room for a thought leader. If you have a genuine, authentic message to share, people will listen. Take Gary Vaynerchuk for example. A digital marketing and social media pioneer who regularly shares tips, tricks and anecdotes to his engaged followers. Not only does this arm people with useful knowledge in the sector but it gives them belief and confidence in the service he provides.
I think if you’re going to look at anybody to model yourself on when building your personal brand, Gary Vaynerchuk is probably the cream of the crop. His relentless stream of helpful content along with his charisma mean that you remember him, and this has helped his agency land some of the biggest brands in the world as clients.
Have a think about your sector and how you can help educate your audience be it through a weekly podcast or blog on your website.
Click onto Google (preferably in an incognito tab) and search your name. If those dubious pictures you were tagged in from that party come up, then think about reviewing your social media profiles. Remember, if you are building a personal brand, your online presence is predominantly how people will see and perceive you. Make sure that your profiles are portraying you in the best possible light whilst remaining true and authentic.
Start a blog
This will help you tell your story and give your audience an insight into you and your business. It’s a place for you to be yourself and share your thoughts with your customers. Whether you bake custom cakes and want to invite people into your kitchen or sell vintage vinyls and want to talk music – just remember to be you.
We always see blogging as a key component within any of our digital marketing plans as it allows you to communicate with potential customers and increase your reach.
Depending on the following that your blog generates, this can also help generate publicity for both yourself and your business. There are plenty of heavyweight bloggers out there but that doesn’t mean that you can’t become one too.
Blogging links very nicely with your search engine marketing efforts and can help expand your footprint within the search engines.
To wrap up
When you come to create your brand, for your company or yourself, there’s one thing you must keep in mind at all times and that’s authenticity. From the company slogan to your personal LinkedIn profile, you must stay true to your values if you are going to build a loyal customer base. Keep this in mind and the rest will follow; your values, company story and message will be true to the reason your company was established in the first place. This creates a strong brand that people will want to associate with and ultimately stay loyal to.
A strong brand identity is often the difference between a company that’s just making up the numbers within their market and a key player that’s respected by the competition and, at Imaginaire Digital, the driving force behind what we do is helping companies to build a strong identity.