HOW TO BUILD A STRONG BRAND
Creating a business is a great opportunity to earn an income doing something you love and are really good at. But creating a business is just the start. I’m gonna turn it up a notch and tell you how to build a strong brand.
Building a business is basically coming up with what and how you will be trading value, and to some extent, who you will be trading value with. By trading a value I mean trading something of value that you possess, for something of value someone else possesses, with the intent to make a profit. You could be trading shoes for money, or cleaning services for fruit, it doesn’t really matter as long as two separate entities are trading something of value with each other. Business is the structure of the trade.
Building a brand takes a little more effort, and every business should strive to build a brand. While a business deals with things like payroll, taxes, employees, training etc… A Brand deals with the image, the identity, the promise, of that business. Branding is meant to tell a story that resonates with a targeted listener (the customer). Branding creates relationships that lead to loyalty.
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HOW TO BUILD A STRONG BRAND
It starts with the business and its potential customers. In order to build a strong brand, you must identify both. Start by defining your targeted consumer. Who are they, and why do they want your product or service? The “why” is key here. Ignore the obvious and try to determine the driving factor that leads a consumer to your product. The obvious answers would be things like, they were hungry, thirsty, needed a new device. Look beyond those. Why would they be thirsty? Are they active? Are they an athlete? Why do they choose your restaurant? Is it the menu? Is it the dining experience? Are they seeking an exciting atmosphere or maybe a peaceful one?
You will want to dig as deep as possible dissecting every factor to determine why a shopper does what they do. This insight will give you an edge in your branding, and put you ahead of your competition. It will also guide your brand in a way that attracts that very customer.
USE THE INSIGHT
Knowing why a consumer chooses you, is a very valuable peace of information. You can use that information to mold your brand image so that it is pleasing to the consumer you are targeting. If your insight tells you that your target consumer is an active athletic individual that seeks adventure and excitement, you can use that to create a brand identity that is exciting and adventurous. If your targeted consumer is a health conscious person that seeks peace and quiet dining, you would want your brand to reflect that.
YOU HAVE OPTIONS
Keep in mind, you have some say in who your targeted consumer is. You get to choose if you want to target the adventurous athlete or the health conscious peace seeker. It’s even possible to target both, just remember the larger your net, the bigger the holes and a greater chance to lose a consumer to the competition. This is another reason why it is good to define your brand. Defining your brand will allow you determine who your competition is and how you can stand apart from them.
DEFINING YOUR BRAND
Again, we focus on the “why”. Why does your business exist? What are the problems you are solving? Why are you the right choice to solve those problems? Why is the customer going to come to you instead of another business? A strong brand requires a strong definition. This starts with defining your position in the market. You have already defined your target, now you need to define your brands frame of reference. What is your market category, business type? What is the value that you are offering? This needs to be defined.
Next you need to determine what makes you stand out from the rest. How are you different from your competitors? Who are your competitors? What are the provable reasons a consumer can believe in your brand to deliver? All needs to be defined keeping your target consumer in mind.
A popular technique to define your brand is through a brand house. This is a model of your brand in the structure of a house. On the left is the market definitions, on the right the consumer, and in the middle the brand.
With all of the definitions collected. It is important to create a position statement. This is a short statement that is meant to define your brand in just a few sentences. The statement should start with identifying your target, then mention your market category, your point of difference (how you stand apart), and your provable reasons to believe.
I would suggest going even further and creating a brand manifesto. This is a short statement that is meant to connect with the consumer. It expresses the values that the brand shares with the consumer. In most cases it reads in the collective voice by using words like we, us, our. The idea is to connect with the consumer and let them know you are with them.
The manifesto is similar to a mission statement, that outlines what a brand believes in. This should be inline with what your consumer likely believes in.
A well defined brand is a great start, but if you want to build a strong brand, you must have a strong identity that connects with the consumer and reflects the brands image. If your target is exciting and adventurous your brand should be exciting and adventurous, think Mountain Dew, Monster, Red Bull. Or perhaps your target is elderly, prefers classical music and black and white tv. Your brand should reflect that as well. That’s where your brand identity comes in.
Your brand identity is your logo, business cards, websites, social media. Its the typeface, the colors, the sounds and symbols you use. It’s the tone of your voice, its the words you use. Your brand identity is all tangible things related to your business. Anything a consumer can sense about your business, is a reflection of your brand identity. This is where you have a little control and where you can use everything you have done above to truly bear fruit. Your brand identity is how you will express everything that we have defined and ultimately connect with your consumers on a level that resonates with them in a way that it creates a long lasting and loyal relationship.
Keep in mind that your logo is the primary representative of your brand and the most important part of your identity. Your logo should be simple so that it is easily recognizable, and unique to your brand alone.
KEEP IT CONSISTENT
Finally another important part of this how to build a strong brand article, you have to keep it consistent. Its good to have a style guide made so that all aspects of your identity and brand are defined. A strong brand is a promise. Consistency is keeping that promise. The result is loyal relationships and a strong brand.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
My name is Dennis Bosher. I have been in the design business for nearly 15 years, with a large portion of that focused on branding and identity development. Branding has been a passion of mine for a very long time.
If you would like to reach out, feel free to contact me and I will be happy to get back to you.