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From coffee shops to software apps, consumers today have multiple options. They make their choices based on their perceptions of companies. Your goal is to create a business brand that is so compelling consumers view it as their preferred choice. Achieving this level of brand identity takes time, patience and discipline. But it’s well worth the effort.
When done right, your brand strategy supports your brand identity, and your brand identity creatively aligns with your brand strategy. They work together to strengthen the way consumers view you. As a result, they are the foundation for strong and robust digital marketing programs.
Establishing your brand requires a powerful and actionable brand strategy. Simply stated, brand strategy provides clarity around your vision, mission, audience, competitors, positioning, personality and messaging. It establishes who you are, what you do, and who you serve. This allows your organization to create a brand that accurately reflects your business and resonates with your target audience.
Your brand identity is the personality you create that defines your company, products and services. It includes your brand image, which is consumers’ perception of your company based on their interactions with you. Since customers can have a different opinion of your brand over time, it’s important to do what it takes to build and maintain a consistent brand identity.
A brand strategy connects the heartbeat of your business to the needs of your audience to help create a strong brand identity. Here are three ways to make it stronger.
What makes you different from the competition?
A USP is a specific benefit that establishes your business’s positioning among your competitors in the marketplace. It clarifies your leading benefit to your customers and illustrates how you solve their pain points. Forming a USP helps focus your marketing strategy and influence your messaging, content development and other marketing decisions.
At its core, a USP should quickly answer a potential customer’s most immediate question when they encounter your brand: “What makes you different from the competition?”
Follow these steps to create a meaningful and compelling USP:
What do you stand for?
Every memorable brand stands for something, whether it’s improving customers’ experiences or saving the environment or something else. Your values define your company at its core. They are the central, underlying philosophy that guides businesses, employees, partners, clients and shareholders. A company’s culture must align with its core values to create a shared, enduring and positive environment for all these parties.
Consider using these steps to clarify your company’s core values:
How can you encourage your employees to support your brand?
Without the support of your employees, your branding efforts can only reach a minimal level of success. It’s when the whole team comes together to promote the business and your employees have all become effective brand ambassadors that your brand can truly shine. However, you can’t force them into this role. They must want to support your company. But you can encourage their support.
Here are some ideas on how to encourage your team members to support your company brand:
Brand identity isn’t just a logo or an advertising campaign. It’s the way your brand presents itself to the marketplace and interacts with your audience. There’s no aspect of a company that’s not a part of its brand identity. It touches everything from your values to your product designs. Here are three ways to make it stronger.
What visual image best telegraphs your brand message?
Some companies spend millions of dollars designing and launching new logos. They make this investment because they understand the power of instant brand recognition — think Apple, Nike and Netflix, to name a few. You don’t have to make such a big investment to have a better logo. It just takes a little work to create the perfect image that your target audience will recognize, remember and respond to.
Here are some of the steps on the path to creating a great logo:
Is your brand messaging unique and compelling?
Messaging is the key to achieving impact in marketing. The right messages are unique, memorable, relatable and compelling. They represent the essence of what you wish to communicate to your target audiences. As a result, they need to reflect your organizational mission, business plans, goals and objectives, and brand strategy. Key messages need to be carefully planned and prepared, so they are robust and widely applicable for the organization’s many communication needs.
Think of your messaging as a house. It needs a top-most main message (a roof), a range of supporting messages to sustain the structure and strong foundational messages.
What is your look and feel?
Getting and keeping consumers that like and trust you requires consistency of thought, purpose, and action over time. Conversely, small discrepancies in brand identity can erode customer relationships. One way to support your brand is by creating actionable brand guidelines. A comprehensive brand book can provide insight that will guide every aspect of your brand identity, including web design, content creation, social media posts, logo design and size, voice and tone, and product packaging design.
Use these tips to begin creating a brand book that will guide your organization’s brand position:
These six steps can help you on your brand-building journey. They offer a great start to a stronger brand strategy and identity, which you can supplement with additional, advanced steps, such as social media marketing, user experience (UX) interfaces and campaign management.
Every coordinated step you take toward building and sustaining a powerful brand will amplify your company in the marketplace — where consumers will have the chance to get to know you and choose you as a preferred option.