Branding encapsulates anything you do that contributes to your customers opinions and feeling about your business. This is because, your brand is defined by your customers overall perception about your business.
Building a strong and successful brand takes time. But it’s worth the time. Overnight success; although tempting should always be avoided when build a brand, except you don’t want your brand to continuously be in business.
Why should you build a solid brand? Well, it leads to a steady increase in sales, more projects, word-of-mouth referrals, and advocacy for your products or services. In other way round, brand provides you the opportunity of reaching more people that are more likely to stay rather than a flash-in-the-pan fad that’s are here today and gone tomorrow.
What then is a brand? From the words of Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, brand is “what people say about you when you are not in the room.”
Let me quickly point out, that before now, it was a die-hard-thing to build a well known brand. But all that now are in the past. The internet has become a great equalizer giving small businesses the opportunity of having a big voice. But before you can have a big voice, you need to build your brand by first taking the following elements to heart.
#1. DETERMINE YOUR BRAND TARGET’S AUDIENCE:
When determining your target audience, focus on who exactly you are trying to reach. Because you will tailor your mission and message to meet their exact needs. The key here is to be specific, by figuring out detailed behaviors and lifestyle of your prospective clients. Just don’t fall into the trap of saying: “I will target anyone who will buy my products or services!” be specific if you must build a lasting brand.
Determine the following: their age, location, gender, what is their income level, occupation, marital status, their educational level, what are their hobbies or interests, and few others.
#2. DEFINE YOUR BRAND MISSION STATEMENT:
Before you can build a brand that your audience trusts, you need to know what value your business provides.
Start small with your branding, and remember to focus on your target niche audience first.
Clearly craft a concise expression of what your business is most passionate about. The mission statement should define a purpose for its existence.
Take for instance; ESY Media - “to convene and curate successful Entrepreneurs in diverse fields in Nigeria.”
#3. RESEARCH BRANDS WITHIN YOUR NICHE:
The main goal of branding your business is to create a differentiator. To have a distinctive identity capable of convincing a customer to buy from you over your competitors.
To help you achieve this, create a visual table to clearly outline the similarities and differences of your competitors, side-by-side.
Here are the basic question you should ask yourself.
#Is the competitor consistent with their message and visual identity across social media channels? Their logo, colour, etc.
#What is the quality of the competitor’s products or services?
#Does the competitor have customer reviews you can read, or social mentions about them?
If I’m to start an ecommerce store today, I know definitely well, that Jumia and the rest others are my major competitors. I will therefore need to do a review of what customers are saying about them.
#In what ways does the competitor market their business, both online and offline?
There are indeed, lot more research to conduct on your competitors. But with these few, you are sure to succeed.
#5. OUTLINE THE QUALITIES AND BENEFITS OF YOUR BRAND:
What are you offering, that no one else is offering? This is your unique value proposition.
Focus on the key qualities and benefits that make your business unique.
Don’t make the mistake of just compiling a long list of the features of your products. No! this isn’t the goal here. Think about how your product or service provides value that improves customers lives. That’s how your product or service help to alleviate their suffering or the challenges they are facing.
You can use your product or services set of features to then identify qualities and benefits derived from each feature.
For instance, ESY Media as an online documentary of successful Nigerian entrepreneur. We write about you and put you in front of thousands of Nigerian. By so doing, you gain media presence and the opportunity of marketing what you do, that’s your product or service to a locally targeted audience.
#6. CREATE A BRAND LOGO AND A TAGLINE:
When you think about building a brand, visual representative probably come to mind first. This part, you need to pay rapt attention.
A logo and a tagline is probably one of the part of your brand that may never change. Take Facebook for instance. Their logo has remain since it was launched.
Therefore, be willing to invest time and money by having something exceptional created to reinforce the visual identity of your brand.
Your logo will appear on everything that relates to your business, your letter-head, graphic designs, complimentary card, etc. It’s a mark of your identity and the visual recognition of your promise.
You will need to pay attention to your colour combination, what it symbolises, and what categories of persons your colour associate to. If your business target audience is children, what colour appeals to them the most? All these you must consider.
#7. FORMULATE YOUR BRAND VOICE:
Your voice is dependent on your company mission statement, its audience, and the industry.
It’s how you communicate with your customers, and how they respond to you. Take a content developer for instance, writing for the entertainment industry and an academic writer. You will see clearly the difference in style and tone of writing.
You should also consider whether you want your audience to perceive you as professional, academic or a comic star, technical, informative or authoritative.
Ultimately, you want to choose a brand voice that makes sense and resonates with your target audience.
If you are using the correct voice, you have the strongest chance of connecting with consumers.
#8. INTEGRATE YOUR BRAND EVERYWHERE:
Your brand should be visible and reflected in everything that your customer can see, read, and hear. Your brand should be seen in your office, your website, social media platforms and any of your resources. Ensure that your visuals and messaging are consistent everywhere. See major brands in Nigeria for more practical examples.
#9. STAY TRUE TO YOUR BRAND:
Consistency is key. Unless you decide to change your brand into something that is more effective based on the response from your clients like what happened to ONSALE, now Areamarket. It’s necessary that you document all the piece of information you have put together to ensure a repeat of them when necessary.
Being inconsistent with your brand will confuse your clients and ultimately push them away.
#9. YOU ARE YOUR BRAND BIGGEST ADVOCATE:
Once your brand is set, it’s up to you to spread the word. No one knows your brand better than you.
Ensure that the people you are bringing in to work with you align with the mission and the value of your brand and also encourage them to always post, share contents pertaining to your brand.
Branding is not just about the logo, a great tagline or your colour combination. Brand is an emotional thing. It’s the perception of the public about your business.
Brand building is one of the most significant things you can do for your new or existing business.
Once you have built a reputable brand, you will be surprise that people are even more likely to buy brand more than products. Consider the big brands in Nigeria.
With the information contained in this work, go ahead and build your brand to become strong and successful.
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