Great branding is the secret to the success of most business ventures, artists of all kinds and even non-profit organizations. It’s an ongoing process that becomes an integral part of the everyday tasks and goals.
General tips to guide you through the tasks of effective branding. Let us introduce all the important aspects of building a strong brand that attracts clients and generates long-term relationships.
who are you talking to? What is the profile of your target audience? What’s the demographic? What kind of sub-cultures are they into? Which media platforms do they prefer? Understand the audience and you’re already on the right track.
Branding involves a good amount of experimentation risk-taking. Playing it safe will not get you very far, so be prepared to take calculated risks and to challenge yourself to try new directions in design, marketing or messaging.
Strong branding easily fits a large number of platforms: print, Facebook brand page, email marketing, full website, landing pages, online ads, conference talk, networking pitch, etc. Create a brand identity that is adaptable and can be translated to all sorts of media.
Don’t expect to create a powerful brand if you only pursue one or two branding techniques. Your brand cannot subsist on one communication channel. You want to reach your audience wherever they are.
If you want to create long-lasting bonds with your target audience, get them involved in the conversation! Establish eye-level contact between brands and customers by engaging them through social media, or offline encounters.
How much are you willing to spend and how do you plan to divide your branding budget? These are important questions that must be a part of your strategy. Fortunately, there is a lot of branding work that you can do with no or minimal costs (like creating your own website), so be sure you do your research before you start paying.
Even though branding is a planned strategy and not a spontaneous action, it should nevertheless remain authentic and genuine. People know that “too good to be true” is usually just that. You want to present a brand that is spectacular, not unreal.
The ultimate persuader. Every successful brand has (at least) one. Your hook is the essence of your branding, that aspect of your product or service that you know is a sure shot. While you definitely want the hook to have a prominent part in your branding and messaging, it’s important to practice moderation. You don’t want your hook to lose its edge.
Influencers: Want to see exponential growth in brand-awareness? Nothing will get you there faster than catching the attention of trend-setters and culture influencers. Luckily, influencers are no longer strictly defined as mega-celebs. Bloggers, Instagram users, charismatic public speakers and local community leaders can be very powerful in spreading the word nowadays.
Don’t do anything all by yourself. Even if you are exceptionally gifted in design, writing, administrating and all other branding related tasks, give yourself room to rely on the experience and advice of others. Your brand can only benefit from this.
Knowledge: The branding and marketing industries are incredibly dynamic. There’s always something new happening that you can learn from. Stay tuned, read a lot and explore what other brands out there are doing.
Your brand needs a distinctive look in order to stand out and make a strong impression. Everything from the color palette to the fonts scheme should be carefully considered. Find your brand’s visual identity and be consistent with it.
It’s very flattering to get great feedback on Facebook, an impressive number of website visitors or high click-rates on emails, but you should always remember that these are the means and not the end. You want to make sure that your branding efforts are translating into revenues.
Never stay static. Always think about the next steps, the things you haven’t tried yet, the weak spots you want to work on. To use the famous words of Steve Jobs, stay hungry.
A major portion of branding efforts is being directed to online media, which makes perfect sense because it is a highly effective way to communicate with large numbers of people. Nevertheless, you don’t want to neglect offline branding altogether. Even if you don’t see yourself launching a huge billboard campaign, try to find the right avenues to connect with your audience face-to-face.
Branding is not something that you can do haphazardly, it needs to be reinforced on a regular basis. If you want to see results you need to stay active and dynamic, and to keep a frequent rhythm of updates and campaigns.
Don’t compromise the quality of your branding. Your brand’s reputation and stature can make or break your business. Creating a lasting positive impression with a small audience will get you much further than reaching large audiences with a mediocre one.
Always test your performance and outcomes to see what can be tweaked and improved. Collect data so that you can refine your branding activities into more precise and effective ones.
People react strongly to a brand that doesn’t simply offer this or that product, but can weave the product or service into a story. Storytelling in branding invites potential customers to imagine themselves as part of the story of the brand. A great example of storytelling in branding is Dove’s Real Beauty campaign that invites women to share their own words on empowerment and confidence.
Trying to run a successful branding strategy? You need extra powerful time management skills. Branding work can be very creative and sometimes very detailed, and it can easily suck you in entirely if you let it.
Even a winning brand needs to consider a facelift now and then. It’s helpful to stop every now and then and ask yourself whether it’s time for a new logo, whether your website could use a fresh look, or whether your Facebook cover photo should retire asap.
What distinguishes brands from each other is their unique “voice” – the tone and mood that directs how they act and interact. Developing a distinct brand voice is key in building brand awareness.
So far we have mentioned the topic of design a few times, and it certainly is a crucial aspect of branding. But great design is not enough to build a strong brand. You need excellent writing that communicates your brand messages creatively and precisely.
Like a well-trained treasure hunter, you have to work with a roadmap to get to your destination. Plan your path in advance, be prepared to adapt your course as you go along, but always push for that end goal.
When your goal is to successfully promote your brand to people, “yes” should be the right answer to almost any question that you will be asked or that you will ask yourself. Does this product answer your customers’ needs? Yes. Are you a reliable service provider? Yes. Be positive and confident in your brand’s value!
It’s easy to get lost in the small details and lose track of the big picture. While you should definitely pay close attention to the individual tasks, remember to integrate this kind of focused viewpoint into the overall evaluation and broad planning.
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