As you’re growing your small business, you need to invest in marketing. The top companies in the world also spend the most on advertising because they know the value of brand recognition and awareness. Basically, the more people who know about your business, the more likely they’ll buy your products or services.
But, branding can also help you increase your market share as a new company. With so much competition out there, a compelling brand can help you get noticed. But, what makes a brand stand out? We’ve compiled the top seven elements you should focus on when building a brand marketing strategy.
Understand (and Decide) Your Brand Purpose
As a business, you obviously need to make money. However, customers today are much more interested in brands that go above and beyond the typical transactional business model. So, you need to figure out what your company stands for and its purpose in the broader scheme of things.
For example, are you committed to sustainability? Or, perhaps you give back to the community by donating to local charitable organizations. Whatever the case may be, you should highlight your purpose in your branding. Once customers see that you’re more than just a “business,” they’re more likely to invest their time and money in your brand.
Another aspect of your brand purpose is determining your identity. Do you want to be seen as an authority within your industry or as fun and family-friendly? Basically, if your company was a person, what kind of personality does it have? Establishing these elements first makes building the rest of your branding components easier.
Research Your Market and Competition
Since branding can help you stand out from the crowd, you have to see what other companies are doing. Otherwise, you might inadvertently rip off someone else’s branding elements. Market research is valuable for a lot of reasons, but when it comes to branding, pay attention to these elements:
- Logo Design – What kind of logos do your competitors have? Which ones stand out the most to you and why?
- Brand Identity – Pay attention to how other businesses promote themselves. Are most other companies authoritative, innovative, or funny? By choosing a different identity or combining aspects, you can distinguish yourself from others.
- Brand Channels – Realistically, other competitors will have websites and social media profiles. However, are they active on these channels? Or do they prefer other marketing methods? Knowing this information can help you build a marketing campaign on the right platform.
Create a Memorable Logo
As you research your competitor’s logos, take notes about the elements you like and don’t like. Does the logo use a specific graphic or font that stands out? What about the color scheme? In many cases, drawing from logos you appreciate can help you design your own.
Overall, a logo is the first brand asset you should create since it will serve as the foundation for the rest of your marketing materials. Everything from your website to your business cards will use this image, so you must create an effective logo.
Fortunately, technology makes it much easier to craft a logo than ever before. Instead of hiring an expensive graphic designer, you can use an online logo maker and get a polished and finished piece within minutes. Some core logo elements to figure out include:
- Font Selection – Knowing your brand identity and purpose can help you choose a corresponding font. For example, do you want something light and delicate or thick and rugged?
- Graphic Elements – AI logo makers use generic graphics and icons, but sometimes, it’s better to create something unique. In this case, you can use the program to make a template and then hire a designer to flesh it out further (or do it yourself).
- Readability – No matter what, your logo has to be easy to read and remember. If the words are too close or messy, how can anyone recall your business later?
Choose the Right Brand Colors
While color might seem like a relatively trivial element, it can make a huge difference in how customers perceive your brand. Let’s just say that there’s a reason why McDonald’s uses red and yellow, Apple uses white and gray, and Amazon uses black and blue. Again, it all stems from your brand identity and purpose. Let’s break down these examples a bit further.
- Red connotes passion, but it also triggers hunger. So, many food brands (like McDonald’s) use red to stimulate the customer’s appetite and get their mouth watering.
- White and gray are minimalist colors associated with high technology and innovation. So, companies like Apple want to capitalize on those connotations in their branding.
- Finally, blue can be seen as trustworthy or dependable. So, Amazon using blue helps reinforce the idea that the company always gets packages delivered on time and in good condition.
Overall, the colors you choose can make or break your brand. So, don’t just slap some colors on your logo and website and call it a day. If necessary, use A/B testing to see which color scheme gets the best response from your customers.
Evoke the Right Emotions
A brand identity helps people understand what your company stands for and values. However, your branding needs to go a step further and trigger an emotional connection with your customers. There’s a reason why commercials show people using products in meaningful ways rather than giving a rundown of the item’s features and benefits.
So, you need to determine which emotions fit with your brand identity. Do you want customers to feel nostalgic about their childhood? What about bonding with their family? Depending on your products, figuring out the right emotions may be easy or challenging. If you’re struggling, start by focusing on how people will use your product and work your way from there. For example, if you’re selling dog toys, you can highlight the bonds they create between pets and their owners.
Work on Your Brand Voice
A brand identity is how people perceive your business, while a brand voice is how you promote yourself. So, your brand’s voice and identity must align to create a synchronous and harmonious balance.
When developing a brand voice, keep in mind that it has to stay the same across platforms. So whether it’s a social media post, a blog article, or a web page, your branding has to be consistent at all times. Otherwise, there may be a disconnect between what customers expect and what you deliver. When that happens, you’ll start to get bad reviews and negative press.
Establish Brand Consistency
We touched on this in the previous section, but brand consistency is more than just using the same voice across platforms. Some other elements of consistency include:
- Regular Posting Schedule – Social media marketing is an excellent and affordable way to build brand awareness. However, you can’t just post a few times a month and expect results. Instead, you need to set a regular schedule and stick to it.
- Product Quality – When customers buy something from your business, they should know what to expect. If there are differences between one product and the next, it’ll be hard to get new business because people will be wary of your products.
- Cohesion Between Sales and Marketing – In many cases, your marketing and sales teams are not in sync. Marketers use data to promote your brand, while salespeople use instinct and personal experience. If you want to deliver brand consistency, you have to get these two departments in line to avoid confusion on the customer’s side.
Overall, branding is all about building a marketing foundation for your company. Once you get all these items dialed in, creating awareness and building momentum for future success is much easier.