Your brand should be one of the biggest assets in your business. Strong brands, if done properly are easily identified, memorable and iconic. Your brand should continually attract the right clients and nurture their experiences to become raving fans, helping your increase sales and profits.
An effective brand can help you
- attract your dream clients
- win mindshare in a crowded marketplace
- help differentiate you from the competition
- end the price war and build customer loyalty beyond reason
- easily communicate your brand message
- charge premium pricing for your products and services
- add value to your business by developing an intangible asset when its time to sell
- So how do you build an effective brand?
#1 Understand What Your Brand Stands For
Do you truly understand what your brand stands for? Can you quickly and easily describe what you do? Do you know what is your brand personality? In order to build and effective brand you need to dig deep into the philosophy behind your brand and business. As business owners, sometimes we are too close to our businesses ourselves so it’s important to work with a brand strategist to take a step back and look at your brand holistically. You probably know what you do and how you do it, but do you truly know why you do it? The WHY is the backbone of your brand – it’s the mission and driving force behind your brand existence.At Maja Creative, we work with neuro-based Brand Archetypes to give your brand an iconic personality that resonates with the people you want to serve and connects with them on a deep, emotional level. A comprehensive brand strategy will also help you determine the core values your brand should live and breathe, the tone of voice that should be used in all your communication. You must take the time to uncover what is your secret sauce, the X factor that makes your brand truly unique and differentiates you from your competitors.
By knowing all of these elements, you will have a deep understanding what your brand stands for, making it easy for you to live and breathe your brand and develop effective marketing tools that communicate your brand’s essence.
#2 Deeply Understand Your Customers Wants, Needs & Goals
Do you truly understand your customers? Most business owners think that they have a good understanding of who their customers are, but have you stopped to understand their deepest wants and desires? Don’t just lump them into basic demographic groups and segments, but take the time to build out a profile for each of the actual real people you serve. At Maja Creative, we ask our clients to give their dream customers real names when developing their Customer Avatars during the Brand Strategy Workshop. Step into their shoes, walk around, get into their hearts and minds, pretend they are right in front of you and describe their personality – get into the nitty gritty of their personalities! By truly understanding what drives your dream customers, you can determine what they want and need from your product or service, your category and from your brand and you can work out how to meet and exceed those needs. This in turn helps you to tweak your branding and communication to help attract your dream tribe. What you will discover is that although you may serve hundreds or thousands of different types of customers, their wants, needs and goals will likely be the same. When you understand their psychology, you can win them over by speaking their language – this means addressing their needs, wants and goals in all your communication and interactions.
#3 Create an effective brand identity and marketing tools
Is your brand identity on brand? Once you have uncovered the wants and needs of your dream customers, you need to invest in the development of a powerful and memorable brand identity and marketing tools that are based on the information that is derived from your brand strategy. A compelling brand strategy needs to guide the creative direction of your brand identity – your logo, fonts, colours, images and also your marketing – your tagline, your messaging, your tone of voice and the look, sound and feel of any branding touchpoint (see below). If you’re a new brand, you’ve got a clean slate to work with, but if you’re an existing brand, this may mean refreshing your marketing pieces or a complete overhaul and re-design of your brand to ensure that how your brand is presented truly reflects what your brand stands for and deeply connects with your dream clients.
#4 Communicate and connect at every brand touchpoint
Do you connect with your clients at every touchpoint? Perhaps you’re not really sure what a brand ‘touchpoint’ even is. Basically it is any interaction that your customer has with your brand – anything that they touch, anything they see, hear or read about your brand is a touchpoint.
Some obvious examples of brand touchpoints that you may already have include:
- your business cards & letterhead
- your website
- your social media profiles
- your product packaging
To build an effective brand, you need to carefully consider all the potential touchpoints your customers might come across when interacting with your brand. Makesure that you are communicating your brand identity, your brand story and brand essence at EVERY touchpoint.
Some other branding touch points to consider may include:
- Your Invoice – How do you exchange money? Is your invoice generic? Put some thought and energy into it and get a professionally designed template to include your branding and tagline.
- Your Proposals – how are you communicating your brand message through your proposals when pitching for work? Is it on brand?
- Your Christmas Cards – are you just sending out generic cards or are you creating customised cards that are on brand and truly stand out from the sea of same-same?
- Your Company Car – would your fleet benefit from vehicle branding to maximise brand exposure on the road?
- Your Signage – are your premises easily identified? Did your sign writer use the correct fonts and colours?
- Power Point Presentation – when you present in front of important audiences, are your visuals re-inforcing your brand story or letting you down?
- Social Media Content – are you using words and images that reflect your brand story? If shared, will others know that the origin came from your brand?
• Your Sales Process – is your sales team communicating the right brand message to close the deal?
Consistency builds trustworthy, memorable brands
Brands essentially create experiences – your brand is how your customers experience it but you have the power to influence and shape those experiences and make sure they are positive and truly reflect your brand. Each touchpoint builds the overall experience your customer has in their mind about your brand. By staying consistent and communicating what your brand stands for across all touch points you will build an effective brand by building trust and building memories. So how exactly does this work?
Repetition builds familiarity and familiarity builds trust. When your potential customers interact with your brand and they have a consistent experience across every single touch point they will feel safe. Consistent branding also avoids confusion. When you reinforce your brand throughout their journey – from seeing your FB page to viewing your website to touching your business card – they will instantly know that they are dealing with your brand, the same familiar brand. Famous brands execute this perfectly – there are no surprises, therefore customers can depend and trust the brand. You must appear as the least risky option in order for your customers to trust and buy from you.
Repetition not only builds trust, but it also builds memories. Memories are the basic building blocks of a brand. If you want to create a memorable brand having consistent branding across as many touchpoints as possible will help your brand stay memorable in your customers minds. Each time your customer interacts with your brand, if the experience is similar, familiar, recognisable, they subconsciously file it away in their memory in a ‘file’ with your brand name on it. The more often they are exposed to your brand, the easier it is for them to recall your brand if and when they need it. The right message reinforced over time will help spur them to action – to contact you, to share or to buy.
Effective branding is the process of connecting good strategy with good creativity and endless repetition. By following these 4 crucial steps you have the power to create a memorable, meaningful and iconic brand that will help your business soar.
Maja Wolnik is the Creative Director and Brand Strategist behind Maja Creative, a Melbourne-based graphic design studio that specialises in brand strategy development, brand identity design, rebranding and logo design. Maja and her team are passionate about helping entrepreneurs and SME’s connect with their dream clients by creating brilliant brands, unique logos, and memorable marketing tools that are powerful and effective.